Author: Michelle Hodkin
Published: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Series: Mara Dyer #1
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Rating: 3 stars
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“Thinking something does not make it true. Wanting something does not make it real.”My Thoughts
― Michelle Hodkin, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong. (Goodreads)
With that mysterious synopsis, it was hard for me to guess what I was in for with The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. It could have been man-eating goats as far as I was concerned. It's difficult for me to reveal anything about the book without spoiling something. So, I'll just leave out anything too concrete.
In reviews I've read, everybody has mentioned how strange this book is. It is strange, but I didn't mind. I loved the darker twists and the weirdness definitely added a creepy factor. To be honest, I wouldn't have cared if it was even weirder. In The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, we're allowed to explore Mara's mind thoroughly. Mara suffers from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) after a horrible accident she can barely remember. I loved that it was a psychological thriller, and after reading this, I almost felt tempted to whip out my huge Abnormal Psychology textbook and read up on PTSD again. This book had me from the get-go. It was fast-paced, and my eyes were glued to the page, or my Ipad, as the mystery unraveled. I wanted all of my confusion cleared!
While The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer had such promise, the romance overwhelms the plot about a quarter of the way through. Suddenly, Mara's feelings for Noah take precedence over any other plot development. Don't get me wrong. I love a good romance, but with such a creepy beginning, I was hoping the romance would take a backseat to the mystery. I wanted less scenes with Noah and Mara and more scenes where Mara is uncovering more of her memories.
My other main issue with The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was that Noah was this stereotypical one-night-stand guy suddenly turned lover boy. He has the confident swagger, yet also the tender concern of so many other YA male leads nowadays. This overused character gets old fast. Plus, he was way over the top. Not only did he have a British accent, but he was also filthy rich and spoke different languages. Yet he had a softer side that had yet to be seen. He was misjudged, gorgeous, and arrogant. Sound familiar? Yes, it does because there are so many other YA romantic interests that are exactly the same. Don't get me wrong. I didn't hate Noah, and I loved that Noah and Mara took things slow. Noah was also very understanding and thoughtful. But their romance was nothing special. Though it fit in with the cliched high school scene and the same high school cliques you see all the time that were featured in this book.
As for the ending, I felt unsatisfied. I understand it's a series, but very few answers were given. In fact, the ones that were given only made me more confused. Maybe this was supposed to persuade me to read on? I will read the sequel, The Evolution of Mara Dyer, because I need answers and that ending...what a twist! But I have to admit that I saw it coming a mile away.
While I would have liked a little less romance and a little more of, well, the story we started with, I did enjoy The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, especially the creepy factor. Yet it's not one of my favorites, and, setting all the weirdness aside, it doesn't stand out as unique.