The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1) — Michelle Hodkin

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Mara Dyer doesn’t think 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 mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

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

She’s wrong.

When Mara Dyer wakes up from a coma in the hospital, her memories are fuzzy. Slowly, bits and pieces start coming back to Mara and she realizes that she is the only survivor in a terrible accident that killed her best friend, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s sister. Mara can’t return to school without seeing Rachel’s face at every turn, so she and her family move to Florida for a new start. But even in Florida she’s haunted by frighteningly lifelike hallucinations. Wherever she goes, death seems to follow.

Mara’s mom is convinced that Mara is unstable and Mara is starting to agree with her when she meets Noah. Noah doesn’t think she’s crazy. And at first, when she’s around Noah, Mara doesn’t feel crazy. But even Noah can’t stave off her hallucinations forever. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to help Mara, though, if only she’s willing to trust him.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is definitely worth the hype, though it took me until about the last fifty pages to realize it. The entire book was great, but until the end, I felt like I was still waiting and waiting to be blown away. And then I was.

The first thing I loved about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was how absolutely well-written it was. Michelle Hodkin knows her way around the English language. Her vocabulary is impressive and even introduces the reader to new words (quite a feat in the eyes of many avid readers and reviewers). Her descriptions were lyrical and powerful, avoiding cliché at every turn. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is filled with alternating chilling and searing romantic scenes. It’ll make your heart race in anticipation for a variety of reasons – and you’ll love every second of it.

I really liked Mara. She experienced so much trauma, but she never gave into defeat. Despite all the awful things happening in her life, she still persevered, refusing to give up on herself no matter how crazy she thought she was. Her strength was so, so likable. Especially when she started at a new school during her Junior year and attracted the attention of the resident mean girl and her entourage. And I liked that she didn’t automatically melt in response to Noah’s romantic advances. He had to work for her attention and friendship so that their relationship turned out extremely gratifying.

But as much as I liked Mara, her thought processes confounded me. She suffered from the typical self-doubt the comes with falling for the most desirable guy in school – the he’s-realized-I’m-not-worth-it-so-he’s-going-to-leave-me-and-there’s-nothing-I-can-do-about-it syndrome. I don’t know why it’s so hard for our favorite heroines to believe that they actually deserve love, but this rampant phenomenon is starting to grate on my nerves. Also, I didn’t understand the justification behind Mara’s actions at the end of the book. Her reasoning felt flimsy and contradicted everything we’d learned about her character throughout the entire book. I didn’t believe that she could make such a huge decision so easily, that she was willing to give up due to that one action.

Still, despite my problems with the ending, it left me even more intrigued than when I began the book. I absolutely cannot wait for the second installment of the Mara Dyer series. If you’re looking for a well-written book that’s heavy on romance and light on paranormalcy, then get your hands on a copy of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. You won’t be disappointed.

Pages: 452
Publication Date: September 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Challenge: Debut Author
Rating [rating: 5]

Teaser Quote: “You’re my girl,” he said simply, because it was true. “But if you do this, you’ll be someone else.”

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