Book Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

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Book: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Author: Michelle Hodkin

Type: YA paranormal/suspense

Release Date: September 27th 2011

Publisher: Simon  & Schuster

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is the story of a teenage girl named Mara who wakes up  in the hospital after a three day coma to find out that her best friend, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s sister are all dead. She was there with them, but miraculously survived; however she doesn’t remember a single thing about that night.

Mara suffers from PTSD after her coma, and believes it’s related to being in her hometown without some of the most important people in her life. Her parents and two brothers (Joseph and Daniel) all move to Florida in hopes of settling down, starting fresh, and helping Mara get better.

Unfortunately for Mara, life does not get better at her new school right away. Still suffering from hallucinations on a regular basis, Mara has to cope being a target as the new girl on top of everything. That is, until the most popular boy in school, Noah Shaw, takes an interest in her.

With Noah’s help, Mara discovers that there is more to her accident and her hallucinations than she could have imagined.

Okay, first of all, how beautiful is the cover of this book? It was the first thing that caught my attention when I saw this book. BEAUTIFUL. That aside, I had heard a lot of hype over this novel before finally reading it. I was lucky to win a copy of it from Jen, and within a week I was reading.

Here’s what I liked about the book.

First, I loved how it started. I thought it was equally awesome amounts of suspense, creepy, and intrigue. Mara’s character immediately interested me and I was curious to see how she would develop in the book. I ended up liking her for the most part as a heroine although I thought at some parts of the book she acted differently than I would have actually imagined for her. She was overly stubborn or naive. Overall though, she was a really well written main character with a lot of wit and quirkiness.

I actually thought Mara’s entire family was well written. I really loved her older brother, Daniel. I thought he was a really smart and fun addition, and her younger brother Joseph sounds SO cute, I thought that Mara acted way too emo/angsty teenager at some points towards her older brother (“I hate you, I can’t believe you did this to me”) but overall I thought they had an interesting family dynamic.

Second, I thought the introduction of Noah Shaw was done really well. I thought he was written a little bit cliche at times- you know, he was the *perfect* guy with an eight-pack of abs and no matter what he looked like, he was super hot- but I liked that he was mysterious and funny. I also appreciated the way Hodkin continued to add on to his personality throughout the novel. It gave him a lot more depth than I had originally imagined.

Third, Mara has a really neat superpower. Or whatever it is. We still don’t really *know* what it is, which kind of irritates me (I don’t like having questions in the middle of a book, or at the end for that matter) but I think it has a LOT of potential for the future books.

Fourth, the ending. That’s DEFINITELY what made me decide that I would read the next one.

Here’s what I didn’t like about the book.

There were definitely some parts of the story that confused me. I mean, one minute Mara is getting a glass of milk or something, and the next apparently 3 hours have passed and she’s just standing there. Why? What’s the point of having that in the plot? It really confused me. I also don’t understand why she would start cackling maniacally after using her superpower. Is that some kind of reaction to it? I did not understand.

Although I really enjoyed the love story between Noah and Mara, I didn’t like it very much at the end. I thought it progressed REALLY well throughout the entire book (not too slow, not too fast, just enough detail) but then they have this huge talk and all of a sudden they’re saying “I love you” and “you’re stuck with me forever” and am I the only one who felt a little bit of a Twilight flashback here? I could have done without the “forever at 17” thing. It really threw me off because again, it wasn’t something I imagined from either of their characters, and I didn’t think the author needed to add that in to her story whatsoever. If their relationship continued to progress at a steady pace, it could have completely skipped over the cheesy Twilight feeling. I THINK it has potential for redemption in the next book because it was so good for such a huge part of book one, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Overall, this was JUST the book I needed to get back into a reading groove. I hadn’t finished a book in quite some time and I found myself sitting in my room for two straight days to finish this one. I’ll definitely read the second one when it comes out, although somewhat skeptically. I think Michelle Hodkin has SUCH an awesome and unique way of writing (when  you make Harry Potter jokes constantly, you have my heart) but I hope the love story doesn’t overshadow that in book two. I WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE SUPERPOWERS, MICHELLE HODKIN. Thank you. 🙂

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

What good books have you been reading lately? Have you read this one, if so, what did you think?

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5 responses »

  1. Great review, Melissa! I may have to steal this format when I get into doing mine.

    Sounds like a really interesting story with an interesting plot! I also don’t like when authors make the male lead so PERFECT. Nobody can be perfect and it’s this “troubled girl needs perfect boy to find happiness” idea that is really damaging, especially for teenagers reading this. Sigh.

    I finished Anna and the French Kiss a few weeks ago which was a fantastic read. I know the title sounds really cheesy, ha, but it was SO well-written. It was mainly a love story but also a lot about Anna’s journey into growing up. I know you’re not into romance novels (sigh, we ARE different in some ways!) but I really, really enjoyed this one.

  2. I really haven’t given YA paranormal books a fair shot yet. I think Twilight soured my view on the genre. I think this one is in my TBR pile, but so are like 250 other books. haha

    I might give this one a try soon.

  3. Oh my goodness, am I reading that above comment correctly?

    MELISSA. YOU MUST READ ANNA. (and Lola. *cough*)

    I agree with most of your review. I loved the majority of the book, but the ending stopped it from being a 5 star read for me… still, can’t wait for book 2! And so glad that you enjoyed it!

  4. Love your review format. I’m getting into book reviews too & I haven’t nailed down a format yet. I’ll have to play with it a bit I guess.
    But as for this one, I added this book to my “to-read” list. I have to break away from YA lit for a moment. Those “perfect” boys are getting on my nerves a bit. lol But please keep these reviews coming! I love reading them. 🙂

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