The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 452 pages
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Release date: September 27, 2011
Series: Mara Dyer #1
Source: Personal shelf
Reviewed by: Lili
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.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER is the first book in a series that is getting a whole lot of hype. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m actually wary of these types of books. The more hype a book receives, the harder its fall from grace is if it’s not what someone expected. However, Michelle Hodkin found a way to deliver! This “dark” young adult novel will make you encounter things that you won’t find often in the young adult writing industry. Because of this, I have so many positive thoughts swirling around in my head that I cannot even begin to fathom how I can write an articulate review.
What made this book for me is the main character: Mara Dyer. To put it simply, Mara Dyer is completely insane and that’s why I love her. She survived a horrible accident that took the life of her best friend, Rachel, but went a little crazy because of this. She forgets her memories, hallucinates, and has a mother that’s hell-bent on committing her to an asylum. She’s slowly trying to make sense of the world and what happened on that horrible night that forever changed her life. Her memories are slowly restored with the help of flashbacks that will definitely keep you turning pages. She doesn’t have an easy life, but she fights through it all with the help of her brothers and the infamous Noah Shaw.
Noah was easily able to make me weak in the knees, but I couldn’t help but notice that he’s “too perfect” and full of clichés. A childhood disaster made him seem outwardly cold, so he used his bad guy image to his advantage to get what he wanted from any girl he was interested in. But the second Mara, the new girl, shows up at their expensive private school, he does a complete 360 and falls for her immediately despite his many years of being a womanizer. Luckily, as the book progresses you learn more about Noah and his special *ahem* capabilities and his characterization will become more complex than it is cliché.
An accident that nobody can remember, a girl that’s slowly going insane because she can do things that nobody understands, and a mystery that has unexpected plot twists in high supply are all weaved together in a greatly descriptive writing style that makes the entire story play out vividly in your mind. The combination of the mystery, the thriller, the paranormal, and the romance that rivals the best out there will leave you breathless and begging for more. And when I say that I mean that.
The ending of this book is one of those endings that stops time around you while the cameraman does a full shot of your face just as your mouth drops in complete and utter shock. It’s perhaps the biggest bombshell thrown at you in the entire story and once you get to it you just want to find Michelle Hodkin and beg for the release date of the second book in the series to be moved up. While the first book is absolutely amazing, you pretty much have to read the second book to truly understand Mara Dyer, her powers, and how they originated. This book focuses on her discovery of her powers and her finally beginning to understand them, so you’re left with a lot of questions by the end of the book, just as Mara is. The second book will explain exactly why Mara is the way she is because this book didn’t and couldn't fully explain everything, which made some parts of it seem nonsensical.
I highly recommend this book to anybody who is willing to buckle up and enjoy the roller-coaster ride that is Mara Dyer’s life. It’s full of twists, turns, and loops that’ll leave your head spinning. This mystery is a must-read for any mystery reader and its romance is beyond powerful. The sequel, THE EVOLUTION OF MARA DYER, is set to release on October 23rdand let me tell you, that date seems like it's an eternity away!