Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkin- Review

Without a doubt I need to go to the BEA again in 2012, if only because 98% of the BEST books I've read all year came from my trip this year.  Seriously and astoundingly terrific reads.  Fracture, The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, A Monster Calls, The Night Circus, plus many other really enjoyable reads I would not likely have run into if it wasn't for the BEA.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was  technically a BBC (Book Blogger Convention) score, but since the BEA was a perk of the BBC and vice versa we'll label it a BEA find and call it even.

How sad am I that I didn't get around to reading it until 7 months later? Devastated, absolutely.  However, the upside is that the killer cliff hanger will only kill me for less than a year till book two instead of a year and a half (unless my lucky streak holds and I BEA it up again this coming year and the sequel is there singing it's siren song to me).

Mara has had a traumatic experience made all the worse because she can't remember it despite it involving the death of two of her friends and her boyfriend.  So when she starts hallucinating and is diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder her family agrees to pick up and move for a fresh start.  However, the hot Miami climate and the new fancy prep school do not provided the instantaneous relief Mara hoped for, and now she not only has severe hallucinations but also feels she has to hide them since her family has made such a huge sacrifice for her mental health.  To complicate matters the local ladies man at her new school has latched on to her and is causing a lot of unwanted attention from his hordes of jealous exes. 

As Mara's memory starts to slowly come back to her, the full extent of what happened, and the part she played in it is horrifying.  But she may not be alone, which is both good and bad news.

I totally adored this book.  It was twisty, and turny, it had an enjoyable bad boy, funny and often downright witty repartee, but best of all it had a surprise ending I never saw coming.  Lets start with the Twisty Turniness.  The plot line of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer seemed to be constantly evolving, and about 2/3rds of the way in it was starting to boggle me and although I was loving it I wondered if it would have a weak ending.  But it all tied together in the most shocking way at the bitter last moment, so much so I wanted to double back and re-read it to watch all the threads start to come together.

Next up, the bad boy/love interest.  OK so Noah had a very Twilight/Edward set up.  Rich, inaccessible, musical genius, suddenly and unaccountably mad about the somewhat un-notable lead lady, and did I mention he's insanely rich? Like can do anything rich?  Yes well, I loved Edward so although it was all too familiar and thus not really novel I wasn't offended.  But beware Edward haters, Noah will likely not be for you.

Unlike Bella, Mara was a great female character.  Hallucinating and breaking down mentally, yet still a lippy teen girl who's not about to be swept off her feet by the super good looking womanizer Noah, until he puts in some serious work.  I loved her arc of self discovery, and can't wait to see what the plot twist at the end does to her resolve to be completely self loathing.

All in all a really different YA story, one I loved and can't wait to sink my teeth into part two of.  My only complaint is that there are a number of changes between the ARC and the finished book so now I desperately want to buy the finished copy and reread it, but don't have time!  Oh well, something to look forward to!

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, By Michelle Hodkin
Published by Simon and Schuster, September 27th 2011
Buy the Unbecoming of Mara Dyer on Amazon
Check out Michelle Hodkin's website
and the site for the book, though it's not got a lot on it yet.
Don't believe me? Read the first chapter yourself and see.


  1. I despise Edward, but I loved Noah! I find them really different (for one, Noah is two-dimensional) and Noah's much more charming (and less creepy). I loved this book, though, and am glad you did, too! (:

  2. Good to know! He certainly doesn't bite.

  3. I bought this one for my sister for Christmas and can't wait for her to finish it so I can read it.

    1. ohhh! Steal it from her! It's worth it.