Saturday, October 1, 2011

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

From the Back Cover:

Mara Dyer doesn't believe 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 strangely unharmed. There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love. She's wrong.

My Thoughts:

Mara Dyer has no recollection of the accident that claimed her friends' lives, but it seems that someone or something wants to make sure she remembers. After waking up the sole survivor, she starts to see her dead friends in mirrors, she hears their voices, she has hallucinations of the accident scene, and she loses big chunks of time and often wakes up to discover she's hurt herself. Mara thinks she's going crazy, and she might be. Thinking she needs to distance herself from the accident, she and her family move from New England to Miami. But her troubles follow her, only now she has the added pressures of being the new girl at a snooty private school, of resisting the relentless advances of the resident playboy, and of dodging the media attention when her father takes on a high-profile murder case. Just when she thinks things can't get any worse, people she gets really angry with start showing up dead. Is she really going crazy? Is she a murderer? Or is something entirely different at play here? In a world full of strangers, who can she turn to for help? Well, there's one boy who wants to be there for her; one boy who is determined to prove she's not crazy. But Noah has the worst reputation and Mara's psyche can't take anymore emotional trauma. Can she trust him with her heart and her sanity, and can he really help her?

I was loving this book until the last fifty pages. It's so deliciously cryptic and creepy, and I had no idea what was going on or what was going to happen. Well, now I've finished it and I still have no idea what was going on. And I've re-read the ending three times and I still can't figure out what happened. Just when I thought it was all coming together and racing toward a resolution, the book ended right in the middle of it and I was dismayed to discover this is only the first book in a series. Just seemed to me like this was the kind of story that could have and should have been wrapped up in one book. I know another book is forthcoming, but give me something to hold on to, give me something to chew over while I wait. I was so confused by the last turn of events that I'm left feeling a bit disoriented, with more questions than answers. So frustrating to get all the way through such a good book only to have the ending leave me feeling so dissatisfied.

So the ending bumps it down a notch for me. Otherwise, this was headed for solid 5-Star territory. The writing is fantastic, the story is unputdownable, and the characters are deep, unpredictable, and riveting. If you like a good, angst-y, meaningful teen romance, this is for you. There is angst in abundance as Mara fights her attraction to Noah, and it continues as they come together and try to survive whatever is plaguing Mara's mind. I loved the way their relationship developed and Noah is made of seriously swoon-worthy material, though you'd never guess it when you first meet him. I like heroes like that. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer does not fall neatly into any particular genre, and should appeal to anyone who likes a spooky, psychological mystery, and the backdrop of private school drama combined with a killer romance will give YA lovers the angst and emotion they crave. Just be prepared to have to wait till the next book to (hopefully) get some satisfactory answers!

My Rating:  4 Stars out of 5

*Please Note: This review references a review copy received through the Amazon Vine program. Though I received this book from the publisher, these are my honest and unbiased thoughts, and I was not compensated in any other way for reviewing this book.


  1. I've heard great thing about this book, I'm glad you like it too ! It's always great to have a story not predictable. Thanks for the review

  2. I snatched this one from Book Expo but have not gotten to it yet. I keep picking it up and putting it down. I think it will be a good read for this month. Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. Ugh! It sounds like you need to find someone to discuss this one with.

  4. @bermudaonion: I know! I do need to dish about it with someone! I've seen several reviews that echo my complaint, only they all raked it over the coals. I was really into it until that point.

  5. I received this one this week. I've heard so many good things about it. I'm curious about the ending. Great review!


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