Monday, February 6, 2012

Mixed Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
by Michelle Hodkin

The Short Story
Mara wakes up in the hospital and has no idea why she's there. When she finds out there was an accident that killed her friends, but left her unhurt, she and her family move to Florida to start over. But the accident keeps coming back to haunt Mara, and soon she can't tell what's really happening and what is brought on by her PTSD. Great start, interesting finish, but a disappointing middle.

What I liked:
This book has a great beginning. There's such a creepy feeling as Mara tries to figure out why she went where she did with her friends, and how they ended up dying when she didn't. Her flashbacks are scary, and one of my favorite parts of the book.

But what I really liked was being in Mara's mind. She's gone through such traumatic things that her mind begins to play tricks on her. Her new school crumbles to the ground, she sees her dead friends in mirrors, she has scary adventure hallucinations. I could never tell what was actually real as I read the book, and that was a lot of fun. It reminded me of the movie "A Beautiful Mind," and if you liked that, the beginning of the book will definitely appeal to you.

Don't Think About This Too Hard
  • The middle of this book did not work for me. Noah felt like a mix of Marcus Flutie and Edward Cullen, and I was not interested in his relationship with Mara. Then the book went down strange paths and introduced some elements that I didn't think fit with what was laid out at the beginning. I wanted to read more of a mystery/thriller, and less of a love story.
  • A couple of plot points get left dangling, but I assume they'll come back again in the sequels. I guess?

The Big Three:
Language: consistent profanity, including several f-words
Sex and Stuff: some kissy scenes
Violence: a few gory descriptions of injuries and dead bodies; one character drinks blood


  1. Great review :) I'm not convinced yet that Mara Dyer is for me.

    1. Thanks. I really wanted to like it, and I liked parts of it, but I don't know that I would recommend it.

  2. I loved Mara Dyer (although I definitely agree with you on the Marcus Flutie/Edward Cullen likeness with Noah at the midpoint. He didn't sit well with me for awhile at all.)

    Thanks for the review :) I love when someone is honest about what didn't work, especially with such a wildly popular book.

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

    1. I know, everyone seems to love this book. Maybe part of my disappointment was that I was sure I would really like it. I met Michelle Hodkin when she came to my library & she was hilarious. I almost feel bad for not loving her book. I still plan to read the sequel, though.

  3. O that doesn't sound like something I would dig either. Great honest review.

    1. Thanks. I don't want to turn you off of it if you had been planning to read it. But if you weren't that interested before, there are probably other books you'd like better.

  4. K, I really need to get to this one. Everyone says they liked it but had issues with Noah. I'm dying to see what I think of him...and the book, of course. ;)

    1. I'll be excited to see what you think of it. I felt like Noah started out one way, and I was fine with it, and then his character really changed. I didn't like where his character took the story.