Title: The Unbecoming of Mara DyerMara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Series: Mara Dyer
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release date: September 27, 2011
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.
Mara Dyer woke up in a hospital with no memory of what happened. She was involved in an accident that killed her best friend, her boyfriend, and his sister. She was the only survivor. To help ease her pain, her family packed up and moved to Miami, Florida to start a new life. While thinking she left the tragedy behind her, Mara starts having visions. It's possibly PTSD, but things start getting out of hand; visions come true and things around her get destroyed, just the way she sees them in her head.
I have conflicted feelings about this book. On the one hand, I loved the way it was told; Hodkin is quite the writer. But the biggest problem I had were the characters. Mara was an okay character; what stood out for me were her narrations. Hodkin gave her a great voice and I literally laughed out loud at some of the stuff Mara said internally because it reminded me of how I talk. She was also clearly disturbed and dark at times, which was understandable considering what had happened to her. But then she took a dive after getting to know Noah. It all became kind of Bella and Edward at that point. Noah was the typical bad boy love interest who had girls dropping their panties left and right, but he never gave a damn about anyone until he met Mara. There's pretentious and cocky, then there's Noah Shaw. He was scruffy and unkempt and a total prick because all the girls dig that, but it turned out he was actually filthy rich with a butler valet named Albert, spoke six languages, was well-read, smoked while he drove, had "la vie boheme" parents, massive daddy issues, and was British. Oh, and he drove a Prius. Of course he drove a Prius. It also bugged me that Mara's older brother, Daniel, seemed to always not have a problem with this guy taking his sister out and asking him to lie to their mom about stuff. It was especially unbelievable after Daniel being so protective of Mara in the beginning. It's like the whole story shifted into this weird place after Noah showed up. Then there was Mara's new friend Jamie... who was black. And Jewish. And gay. Who had a tongue ring. And dreads. Even he pointed out how token he was. Then he just disappeared... shame, because I actually wanted to know more about him. On the paranormal side, it was another story. I really liked how Hodkin pulled it off with Mara's ability and the descriptive way it was written. I just wished there were more details, but that's why it's a series, right?
Plot-wise, there were some random things near the end that just came out of nowhere. Stuff like strange rituals, animal sacrifices, blood consumption, gunshots, something about alligators and leeches and chickens (oh my)... I don't even know. I was confused throughout the book; it just lacked something. I think it would've warranted another star from me if Mara wasn't so obsessed with Noah. It seriously took up 70% of the book once he was introduced, and I'd probably be less confused if there was more focus on Mara's ability and why she had it, instead of Mara wanting to "have his babies" (no, seriously). It also wouldn't have hurt to expand on Noah's ability and why exactly they were meant to connect with each other. It was all so vague and disjointed; I think a lot of it had to do with the lack of differentiating between hallucinations and real-life. About a third into the book, I kept going, "what the heck is even happening?!"
But to be fair, in all my questioning, I couldn't stop reading. I literally could not put it down. I wouldn't rate this book 3.5 stars if I didn't like at least half of it. I kept on reading hoping my questions would be answered; they never really were, but wow, was I ever entertained. The style that Hodkin wrote in made me want to keep reading and I've already gone out and picked up the second installment. A+ for the cover, too. Look at it, it's absolutely gorgeous.
I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a compelling, creepy read with romantic overtones. If you're curious, definitely check this book out. Then come back and explain it all to me because I'm still confused.
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