Melissa Marr may be better known for her fairy-filled urban fantasies, but her most recent YA novel delves into the darker side of the human realm. With just a touch of the supernatural, Made For You is a suspenseful thriller that examines the minds of an obsessed stalker and his target. Eva Tilling is the unintentional It Girl of a privileged Southern high school. Despite her occasional frustration with the social status inherited from her parents, Eva seems to have it all: a great boyfriend, plenty of friends, invitations to all the best parties, and the envy of the rest of the school. Until one night she gets hit by a car…and realizes it wasn’t an accident. She wakes up to discover that she has gained a strange new ability—when others touch her, she can foresee their deaths.
Judge, as he styles himself, is a messenger of God—or so he believes. His faith tells him that Eva was made for him, and if she doesn’t see it yet, he’ll just have to make her see it. As Eva struggles with her new curse/gift, Judge begins killing more girls in order to send her a message. Eva soon realizes that she must use her visions to stop the killer…before any more of her friends get hurt. Enlisting the help of her best friend and an old flame, Eva sets out to find the man who almost killed her out of love.
Made For You is marketed as a “Southern Gothic” on the back cover of the Advanced Reader’s Copy I have, but I would really consider it more of a simple mystery/thriller. It doesn’t seem to have that unnerving sense of the uncanny tied up in some aspect of Southern culture that, to me, defines Southern Gothic. The book isn’t particularly scary—at least not a jump-out-at-you or sneak-up-on-you-in-the-dark kind of scary. What is scary is the disturbing look inside the mind of a stalker in the chapters from Judge’s perspective. You’ll feel shivers running down your spine when you hear him talking in one breath about how much he loves Eva in the next about how he plans to kill her friends. As much as I love vampires, werewolves, demons, and the rest, sometimes we need to admit that humans can be the most monstrous of all.
But this book isn’t entirely a commentary on the negative aspects of the human race. Made For You shows us just how strong a person can be, too. Despite getting hit by a car at the very beginning of the book, Eva is on her feet the first chance she gets (with the help of some crutches), and starts hunting down a killer. Once she realizes her friends are in danger, she overcomes her own fears and doesn’t hesitate to get her Nancy Drew on (if, you know, Nancy Drew got her clues from creepy death visions). Her determination to save her friends, however, pushes Eva toward moral boundaries she never thought she’d have to cross.
While I didn’t feel that Made for You quite measured up to Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series in terms of character development and plot, I always enjoy seeing writers branch out from their usual genres. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to dabble in suspense and thriller who doesn’t mind having a little romance on the side.