When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.
For the first time, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr has applied her extraordinary talent to contemporary realism. Chilling twists, unrequited obsession, and high-stakes romance drive this Gothic, racy thriller—a story of small-town oppression and salvation. Melissa’s fans, and every YA reader, will find its wild ride enthralling. ~ Goodreads
Source: Finished copy provided for my honest review
Review: I read Marr’s Wicked Lovely years ago. While I loved the writing, I stopped right there because that series was about the fae and love triangles – not my thing. I’ve always wanted to give her books another shot though and Made for You was a good fit for me.
Made for You is told in three alternating POV’s. Eva, the main protagonist and target of a serial killer, Grace, Eva’s best friend, and Judge (his true identity is a mystery), the killer.
Eva is from a wealthy, influential, southern family. She has the perfect boyfriend and reigns supreme as queen bee at school. What’s nice is that she’s a benevolent leader. She follows the southern code of politeness and tries not to make waves for her family's reputation but she’s not a mean girl. I really liked her loyalty and maturity. People just follow her because of who who is, not because she’s trying to control anyone. Her friendship with Grace was also nice to read about from both sides. Grace adds an interesting counterpoint to Eva, providing a better picture for what’s really going on.
Some people have called Eva shallow following her accident because she focuses on her looks. But I can’t think of too many young girls (or women for that matter) who wouldn’t be concerned when their face is scarred from injury, especially in a school where perfection is so valued. And it’s not like her world comes crashing to a halt because she doesn’t think she’s pretty. She’s just nervous about being seen at first. She’s still a strong, kind girl.
Her relationship with her parents was something that really irritated me at first and came off a little cliché but took a really interesting and welcome turn.
The romance was oh so nice. Eva and Nate have a past as (estranged) best friends so it gives them a good foundation for you to believe in them as a couple. I do wish Nate and Eva had more time to have the discussions needed to really develop this romance a little more. It is sweet, complex and hopeful though.
I am not a fan of villain pov’s. They rarely add anything to the story and are pretty much just a catalyst to facilitate the romance. Not only that, even though any murderer is scary, they tend to be of the mustache twirling, lay out the whole plan and you know he’s going down variety. There is no real tension. I typically skim these parts just so I have an idea of what’s going on but focus on the main characters instead. In this book Judge is a truly creepy individual. His motivations, actions and close proximity to Eva and her friends is chilling. Of course his theories and reasons are insanity but this is how stalkers/killers justify their actions.
I’m not sure how I feel about Eva’s ability to predict future deaths. It was written very well and facilitates the plot, so like the serial killer pov, it’s not just for filler but it fizzles out in the end. Eva is so smart, practical and cautious trying to learn what this power is and how it can help find the killer and then all of a sudden goes off half baked, putting herself and Nate in danger. (mild spoiler ahead)
She doesn’t want anyone other than Nate and Grace knowing about her visions so she acts alone – yet she ends up needing help anyway. Doesn’t anyone question how she got herself into that position in the first place? Not a huge deal but it felt like a plot hole to me.
It’s difficult to write a mystery/thriller/romance while still developing the relationships with friends/parents and adding in a paranormal twist. It wasn’t perfect but I think Marr did an excellent job balancing it all while keeping me at the edge of my seat. I actually had nightmares from this book for two nights in a row. I don’t scare easily but serial killers freak me out.