Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer Review

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by MICHELLE HODKIN

Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
She's wrong.

There are many things being said about Michelle Hodkin's debut novel, some praise, some disappointment and some general confusion. I think my reaction was praise sprinkled with a bit of confusion. 
Mara Dyer and her family pack up and leave Rhode Island for sunny Florida after three of her friends are crushed to death in an asylum. Yep, crushed to death. Mara was there with them when she building collapsed and somehow is the only survival which brings about a lot of raised eyebrows. But even hot boys, mean girls, and new friends can't distract her from the consequences of surviving that fateful accident.
This novel is mostly a mystery with hints of the paranormal which, hopefully, will be explained in depth in the sequel. Mara sees things, she also sees dead people which was a bit creepy even reading about so this book definitely has the "do not read right before bed time" feel. I found myself getting frustrated along Mara Dyer as she tried to differentiate between reality and hallucination, and honestly, some of them are tricky because the story is told from Mara's point of view so there is always a good amount of doubt with the narrative. The story was a quick read which kept me entertained at almost all sections of the novel. I say almost because I felt that the story began to drag towards the end, I was almost tempted to flip to the last page just to see what not it would end on. Although the ending is definitely an eyebrow raising cliffhanger, I was expecting more given the novel's strong start and middle. 
The characters were all interesting. Mara, I found, was very interesting. I did not relate to her, but I understand her confusion and anger at times. Noah was something else. That boy is perfect and usually I hate perfect characters (especially the romantic interest) but I couldn't help but love him. He was loyal, sarcastic and for a fictional character, he was hot. I think I found Noah so attractive because Mara's voice makes Noah sound so appealing. 
Michelle Hodkin writing style is the closest I've seen to that of a teenage girls. It's angry, mopey at times, confused, and has a general desire to punch things and people in the face every 5 seconds or so. I also enjoyed the amount of doubt that Mara puts into the readers head, there were some realities that Mara almost had me believe was a hallucination because of the doubt that she tackled with. I thought Mara was a great narrative, she gave us all of the information that he had, and the writing style was very fun, quirky at times. 
Mara Dyer is a roller coaster ride of mystery as she comes to terms that she may just be responsible for her best friend's death. The characters are appealing and the writing style is enough to keep the audience engaged long enough to add the sequel to the To Be Read list. 
I recommend Mara Dyer for those who love a paranormal mystery with a high school love story. 


  1. I really liked this book, and I agree with a lot of what you said in your review. Especially the part where it can be hard to discern between reality and hallucinations. I was really questioning the part with the swampy area!

  2. Yeess that's the scene I was thinking about! After she woke up I was sure she dreamt all of it!

  3. Wonderful review! I'm eager to read this book. Thanks so much for the part about not reading before bedtime. I'm one of those people who does not like the super scary, but I can do creepy and slightly scary as long as it's sunny outside LOL! I think it's great that the author was really able to channel a teenager's thoughts and feelings that accurately. I really can't wait to read it and find out if I feel the same. Thank you!

    The Musings of ALMYBNENR

  4. The time skips totally made me doubt things. Were they real or just a dream. Haha. I too hope the sequel explains the paranormal because in this first book I kept doubting it until the end! Great review! :D

  5. It definitely is a roller coaster! I gave it 5/5, mainly for the absolutely brilliant narrative voice and smooth storytelling :) I love all the creepy/paranormal things, but most of all I loved NOAH ;D Ah, Noah :P Don't even get me started!

    Great, honest and thorough review! Thanks! :D <3

  6. I'm not sure about this book. I feel like I'll be confused the whole time. I really hate not knowing what is going on. I love sarcasm in characters when it is done well though.

  7. Good review. I liked this book even though it left me with a lot of unanswered questions.


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