Published: September 16, 2014Publisher: HarperCollinsPages: 368Received: for honest review via publisher and TLC Book ToursBestselling author of the Wicked Lovely books Melissa Marr’s first contemporary YA novel is a twisted southern gothic tale of obsession, romance, and murder. A killer is obsessed with Eva Tilling. Can she stop him, or will he claim her?
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.
I was so excited to be asked to be on the tour for Made For You. I adore Melissa Marr's writing and have met her a few times when she was in Canada for the Smart Chicks Kick It Tours (2010 and 2011). It was exciting to me to get to do an interview with her, so check it out!
1) I've read a few books in your Wicked Lovely series and jumped at the chance to read your newest book, but what helped you switch from writing about faeries and paranormals to a contemporary that is so dark?
It’s funny to me that I am told that my books are dark. I don’t set out trying to write dark things. When Wicked Lovely came out, it was by and large called “dark,” and Carnival of Secrets was too. With Made For You, I distinctly recall telling my editor that I felt like this was really about the relationships—between Eva and Grace, Eva and her parents, Eva and Nate, Eva and her friends, and, of course, Eva and Judge. My editor, Kristen, got quiet. I think the story I was telling isn’t the same one I wrote. Both are there, but I think the darkness (the murders, the messages carved in flesh, and kidnapping) was less important to me.
I suspect the same is true of my earlier books. The Wicked Lovely series includes war, death, stabbing, curses, and torture, but to me, it was always a story about wanting to control your own fate. . . which is a lot of what Carnival of Secrets was about too. There were fights to the death, but there was a search for freedom and love. I suppose it’s a matter of which part of the story stands out to the reader. To me, as I read, the darkness is important because it teaches the protagonists to fight for the things that truly matter: family, friends, love, and freedom.
2) Are any of your characters based on people you know or experiences you've had?
Not usually—at least not wholesale. There are slivers of people, and of course, I suspect characters inevitably share traits with real-world people unintentionally. Sometimes I see it when I’m done or in revisions. Tavish in my Wicked Lovely series has a tattoo that one of my exes had. I didn’t even realize it until afterwards (I only dated men with tattoos with only one exception).
On the other hand, sometimes real world events spark the story. I had a stalker, so I’m sure Judge’s actions in Made For You were influenced by him to a degree. My stalker, however, was a huge man, one who visibly spent a lot of hours lifting weights, and didn’t know me at all. The feeling of being stalked is more intentionally utilized though. That part I do very much on purpose. I like to harvest emotions from life to create more realism, but people? Not so much.
3) I read on your website/blog that you've written different books for each of your children, who did you write this one for? And, why?
I guess I wrote this one for myself :) I love serial killer stories, and I love Southern Lit (my grad degree is in Southern Literature). I also tend to enjoy contemporary fiction, and . . .well, it all just fit together for me in this book. The Wicked Lovely series was for my daughter; The Blackwell Pages for my eldest son. I have a picture book (out in May) for my baby. Sometimes though stories are just because I am interested in pondering them. This was one of those.
A big thank you for Melissa for answering my questions and to TLC Book Tours for inviting me to be on this tour.
Made For You has the creepiest stalker/serial killer character, Judge, who believes that Eva was truly made just for him and he will do everything to make her see the signs and make her his once and for all.
The biggest thing in this book is the fact that there is a serial killer taking out teenagers who seem to be connected to Eva. You don't know who the killer is, but you will keep guessing as the story goes along. I loved that I thought I had it all figured out, but it was a complete surprise who Judge ended up being.
Eva's character is pretty interesting - she is from an old Southern family and should be one of the upper class girls. She does hang around the aristocratic teenagers, but she doesn't act like the others at all. She does what she likes, but keeps in mind the family history. She is strong and takes action when needed even though she is injured from her near death experience. After her accident she is able to see visions of peoples deaths so this was a nice little paranormal twist to the plot.
The romance that blossoms between Nate and Eva is sweet. They have an estranged relationship and start to come together again during this emotionally charged time. Nate is protective of Eva and pretty much reminds her why they were best friends before. They are cute together and I like that their rekindled friendship brings them back together.
This was a contemporary YA thriller that will have you flipping through the pages until you solve the mystery of Judge.
About the Author:
Melissa Marr is the author of the internationally bestselling Wicked Lovely series (currently available in 26 languages). In adult fiction, she is the author of the award-winning novel, Graveminder, and the newly released, The Arrivals. With Kelley Armstrong, Melissa is the co-editor of two anthologies and co-author of the Blackwell Pages trilogy (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), a children’s series about the Norse myth of Ragnarök. Her upcoming HarperCollins 2014 release, Made For You, utilizes both her graduate degree in Southern Literature and her personal experience with stalkers in a story about a killer who terrorizes a small North Carolina town. Melissa lives in Virginia with her family.