Book Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Title/Author:  The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
(Mara Dyer #1)

Genre:  Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Published:  September 27th, 2011 by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

Hardcover, 455 pages

How I Got This Book:  Checked it out from my library

Why I Picked It Up?:  First, I loved this cover from the moment I saw it. Second, this is one of those books that bloggers love, so I wanted to read it, too!  Third, Michelle Hodkin at YALLFest gave me an excuse to read this sooner!

Book Jacket Blurb:  “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.”

My Review of this Work:

Mara Dyer captured me from the get-go with that entrancing cover.  There is just something about the underwater effect that makes this cover so mesmerizing!  I don’t know what I really expected about the story itself, but I know I really didn’t expect to finish it over the course of 24 hours!

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is such an captivating story.  From page one I was drawn in, and I stayed completely wrapped in this story until the very last page!  So that says something about the pacing and development of the story.  And oh goodness, the mysterious quality to this novel was the main driving point to the story!  There is this eerie, spooky, mysterious element that completely shapes the plot from beginning and end, and this consistent goodness really solidified my overall enjoyment of this novel.  I had to find out what was going on with Mara…I just had to keep reading…and reading…and reading!  And that is always a good thing!

I am kind of on the fence about Mara as a character.  While I did enjoy her as a narrator, I am just not completely sold on her character depth.  I feel like there is just something missing with her (though I have a feeling like maybe this is intentional).  Mara loses her best friends, and though she doesn’t remember the event itself, she doesn’t respond to the emotional tragedy very realistically.  I realize that she has a lot going on (like weird paranormal death stuff), but still….losing your best friends should still affect you somewhat weeks after you lose them.  It just seems to me that Mara moves to Miami and never looks back, except when she is trying to figure out what is going on with her.  But, I feel like with the 5 stages of grief, she may still be in the denial stage and may deal more with the emotional effects of this tragedy in book two…? Maybe?  I hope so.  I would really like to like Mara.  I do love her voice, I am just not so convinced on her character development yet.  So I hope that book two surprises me.

And then there is Noah.  Oh Noah.  Noah is a bad boy who is too good for everyone at the school, but as soon as Mara shows up, he is immediately chasing after her.  This mysterious bad-boy is a very intriguing character, especially in the beginning.  He’s nothing super spectacular in terms of heart throbs, but he has potential to turn into a really likeable love interest.  So we shall see.

There were definitely some negatives with this novel that heavily deterred its rating, though.  Like Mara’s new friend in Miami, Jamie, who is a black, Jewish bisexual.  Okay one, let’s just make him a hodge podge of “social outliers”–it wasn’t like him being black or Jewish had any affect on his character, so why throw that in?  It is only included for dramatic effect, and I don’t like that.  And, why does he just disappear?!  Oops, Jamie is too close to Mara, so the popular kids plot to have him suspended?!  And what’s up with the popular kids hatred of Mara.  I know she “stole” Noah from Miss Popular, but still….This plot had ZERO to do with the actual story, and it led to the deletion of one of the more likeable characters from the story.  So not okay.

And then there was the instalove.  The instalove in this novel was ridiculous.  Though I do give props to Mara for resisting him for an entire two days.  But as this book takes place over the course of a month, and by the end of that month she is MADLY in love with Noah…well, it’s not realistic in the least.  And to top it all off, Noah has a paranormal secret that is thrown in towards the end, and it was COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS!  What I am truly hoping is that this twist is justified in the second book.  That’s all I ask.

Overall, I did enjoy this novel.  And I have Book Two sitting on my shelf just waiting for me from the library.  So I am excited to start that later this week!  Hopefully things that irked me in this novel will be justified/explained more in book two.  I hear from other bloggers that book two is much better.  I will see soon!

My Bookshelf Rating:

A Middle Shelf Book.

I just couldn’t put this book down!  I was so intrigued by the mysterious elements of this story.  The paranormal quality of Mara is so unique and completely mysterious and powerful, it made this rather long book fly by. I got so wrapped up in the mystery of it all, and the next thing I knew the book was over.  That being said, there were a couple of things I didn’t like (like insta-love…blah!) or weren’t fully explained that kept my rating down in the 3 range.  But I am really excited to see where this story goes next in the sequel.

Love and Half-Price Candy the Day after Halloween Sales,


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