Harper Collin’s Childrens 2015
When Eva is victim of a hit and run in her sedate North Carolina town, she is confused. Who on earth would hit someone with a car and not stop? Who would want to hit her? Eva is, after all, Little Miss Popular with a locally noble lineage and all the right sort of friends. However, the matter of who hit her takes a back seat to the fact that she has woken from her accident with a strange ability. She can now, through touch, foresee how those around her are going to die. While her new gift seems at first a curse, she quickly realises that she was only the first victim of a killer who will stop at nothing to get to her and that her death sight might be the only chance she has of saving not only herself but also her friends. At her side stands Nate, an old not-quite-the-right-sort-of-friend, who has drifted back into her life after a long absence. Together they find themselves locked in a struggle with an unknown assailant – one that could easily end in both of their deaths.
Eva is a perfectly nice character. Born into a life of privilege, she’s very aware of her status and influence but hasn’t let it go to her head. However, she does have an air of superiority about her – particularly in terms of her peers. You get the impression that she finds them all a bit vacuous. To be fair, they seem a bit vacuous. From the jealous ex-boyfriend, to the cadre of giggling girls, they are all vaguely irritating and at times you wonder why she hangs out with them at all. Yet she seems to genuinely care for them and they for her, in their own way, and when she starts envisioning their imminent deaths her panic is palpable.
Luckily, Eva has Nate who is by far the most multi-faceted character in the whole shebang. There is something terribly attractive about any character who is told the unbelievable and solidly, loyally believes and Nate is one of those. Luckily, Marr has made him smart, caring and slightly mysterious rather than painting him as a love-sick puppy. He is not, in fact, unlike Wicked Lovely’s Seth – another Marr creation of definitive swoon. While Made for You’s narrative largely stems from Eva, it is interspersed with a first person narrative from the mystery killer whose rambling reasoning is all unsurprisingly disjointed and creepy. However, these sections are one of the novels failings as they somewhat quickly clue readers in to who the killer is. Perhaps this was intentional but removing this core mystery just leads to a lack of general suspense – something that Made for You was already sadly lacking.
Melissa Marr has proved her writing chops with the fantastically detailed and compelling Wicked Lovely series. However, Made for You falls pretty flat in comparison. It’s surprisingly short and at times oddly over-sentimental. The core premise is a strong one but not entirely unique and what it really required was a strong, dark undercurrent or at least more of an edge than it has. Yes, the killer is creepy and yes Eva’s ability has interesting repercussions but it’s hard to care about a cast of characters that, for the large part, are pretty badly underwritten. There are some great ideas that don’t really get the page time that might make them compelling (the idea of the language of flowers is a great one, but seems to get lost in the mix) and the grand denouement seems predictable by the time you reach it. The killer, while creepy in his obsession, comes across almost pantomime-like in his villainy and Eva, while readable enough, lacks any real depth of personality.
Ultimately, Made for You is a rather disappointing read from a writer who is truly excellent when on top of her game. For those looking for a genuinely compelling story of a similar ilk, I highly recommend Kimberly Derting’s Body Finder series while Barry Lyga writes a truly terrifying killer in his acclaimed I Hunt Killers. For those wanting to try out Melissa Marr as a writer, her Wicked Lovely series really is great as is her adult offering, Graveminder – start with these and perhaps leave Made for You for another day.
This review was brought to you by Splendibird really wishes that she'd liked the book more. Thank you to the publisher for sending us this title to review.