Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Release Date:
September 27, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Source: Library

Summary

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.(courtesy of Goodreads)

Review

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is one of those books that sweeps you away. It is not a perfect book, but while you're reading it, you are enveloped in the story and the characters. The book is confusing in the way that you just have to keep reading to figure out what's going on. I suppose "compelling" would be the more complimentary term.

Mara is suffering from amnesia after a horrible accident that killed her best friend and several other people. Her family moved to Miami in hopes of starting a new life. The reader is just as confused as Mara is about the "accident." We learn bits and pieces of that night over the course of the book until it all makes terrifying sense.

Our heroine Mara is immediately relatable. Looking back, however, her character is as disturbing as it is likable. She disarms us with her snarky, dark humor and her fierce love for her brothers and eventually Noah. Yet she also has quite an anger problem and can be ruled by jealousy. Sometimes, her humor, while good for lightening the tension, almost felt inappropriate given the serious plot elements. Nevertheless, her voice quickly sucked me in and I rooted for her throughout the entire book. I love her inner strength and desperately want her to be able to rise above the many challenges that will be thrown at her in this series.

And then there's Noah... Sexy, arrogant, rich, strong, smart, witty, protective, devoted, romantic. Is he realistic? Not in the least. But I only loved him more for it. Their relationship isn't insta-love, but it somehow felt that way to me, because there was something that drew them to each other. I did have to roll my eyes at the overplayed trope of supposed player who has never really let his guard down until he meets this incredible girl. But the eye-rolling had to wait until I finished wiping the Noah drool from my mouth.

I love the twistiness of the plot. Paranormal romance is probably the genre that best fits this novel, but it is just as much a psychological thriller. We know from the moment the book begins that there are a lot of freaky things going on, but it just gets more and more disturbing. Every character is playing a dangerous role. I love how Michelle was able to make inconsequential plot elements seem like part of something much larger. The book tossed me in around in fierce winds. Unlike many books, I don't have any idea where this series is going to go. However, there's a fine line between disturbing crazy and silly crazy. In a few instances, the book started to veer into soap opera dramatics. But for the most part, the book felt believable no matter how freaky the story line.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer does not entirely hold up to close scrutiny when looking back at the book. However, it is a story meant to sheer haunted house thriller pleasure. While you're reading it, you'll be glued to your pages by twists and turns and equally by the hot romance. I definitely recommend this book.

Rating: 4 / 5 (maybe 3.5 / 5, I can't entirely decide).

23 comments:

  1. I loved The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and can't can't wait for the next one! What i loved about it was the paranormal twist. It kept me wanting more and kept my nose burried in the pages.

    Sangita @ Whisper of Reads.

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  2. I have a copy of Mara Dyer lying around somewhere- I guess I should start reading it soon!

    - Ellie @ The Selkie Reads Stories

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  3. LOVED this book so, so much. If only the sequel would hurry up and get here already! Great review!

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  4. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews for this one. I think one of these days I will give it a try.

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  5. I loved this book. The plot was twisted and addictive. You're probably going to hate me, but I'm not a Noah fan. To me, he felt completely out of place in this book and I think it would have been a much stronger story without him.

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  6. I really liked this one, but like yu said - I had some problems with it too. Noah's love felt too intense too soon - and sometimes the dramatics were a bit too much. I think I would read the next book in the series just to see where it goes.

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  7. I've been looking forward to this one for a while. Can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

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  8. This is one of my faves! I know it's not perfect, but I just loved every twisted minute of it. I was hooked from the get go, and yes, I fell hook, line and sinker for Noah! Can't wait to read the next book!

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  9. I've been curious about this one for quite sometime. I like how you pointed out in your review of both your present (while reading book) and after reactions. This book sounds like it would be read best during a vacation or a break. I think I might have to grab it from the library soon.

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  10. This book has been on my TBR since last year! I really think I'd like it if I just picked it up.

    Great review! You've got me wanting to go check it out today!

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  11. I've been considering to read this book but, I'm just not in a romantic mood...! Perfect guys and all that. Tell me something, is the guy over 6 feet tall? It looks to me that in all these YA books guys are always above 6 feet tall which is not realistic at all. Maybe I'm living in a State run by midgets by I have a very hard time meeting guys that tall in NY!

    Okay, my comment almost has nothing to do with the book - sigh.

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  12. I'm glad you enjoyed this one for the most part Alison, it was one of my favorite reads last year! I think with any book if you look at it really closely you can find all sorts of flaws, but I just loved how weird and twisted and fascinating the whole story was:) Looking forward to seeing what you think of Evolution!

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  13. I have been trying to fit this book into my seasonal reading list for the last two seasons. I would love to get to it, I have heard its a wonderful book. thanks for the awesome review!

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  14. I LOVED this book, and just can't wait to read the next one. I agree with you, you want to keep reading to figure out what the heck is going on and just can't put it down.

    When I read it there wasn't yet an announcement about a 2nd book, but lucky for me I met Michelle Hodkin a couple of days later at a book signing and asked her. I was relieved when she told me that there was going to be a 2nd book for sure--and excited when she announced this year that it's going to be a trilogy. I know I shouldn't, because I'm reading so many series and trilogies, but the way we are told Mara's story I figure the merrier the better, because there's so much I want to understand on this story that I figured just 2 books wouldn't be enough.

    Maeva @ Murphy's Library

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  15. I really wasn't a fan of this book. I started of really into it, but the more I read, the more annoying I thought Mara was. I also didn't really like that the readers didn't get many answers at the end.

    I did like Noah, but not enough for me to want to read the next in the series. It's too frustrating for me.

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  16. I've had this book sitting on my shelf for a white. I think I'm scared to read because of all the hype. I don't like being confused when reading a novel but I like that we don't know all the information right away!

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  17. Oh yes, I also loved the twistiness and the confusion in the plot. I was completely swept away! Compelling is a good word, I think. I also really have no idea where the sequel is going to go... especially after that massive cliffhanger!

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  18. While it does have it's flaws, this book was really awesome! A lot of people have different opinions, but I really like this one. I can't wait for the Evolution of Mara Dyer!

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  19. I loved this book! But since then I have seen more mediocre reviews which kind of makes me want to reread. Actually I want to reread it anyway to get ready for the next. Glad you enjoyed it even though it had some flaws.

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  20. Oh, maybe I should read this book, after all. I like the haunted house type of moments and the snarky protag. Lack of instalove is great, too. Thanks for the review. I'm going to be more inclined to read this one now. ;)

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  21. I really liked the twistiness, too but I understand your waffling between the two ratings. There were some great things about it...and then there were some meh ones. Still, I can't wait to read the next book!

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  22. WOOHOO! So excited to get into this book. Glad to see that you liked the book. Awesome review.

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  23. I don't enjoy being confused as a reader! Even while reading Pushing the Limits, I was mentally begging & imploring Echo to find out what happened to her already.
    But, this book is in my TBR list! Enjoyed the review (specially how the eye rolling had to wait till the drooling stopped)
    Addie
    READioactive

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