REVIEW: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

mara-dyer.jpgBOOK: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
AUTHOR: Michelle Hodkin
PAGES: 456
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster
MY RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ (3.5/5)

Mara Dyer believes life can’t 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 strangely unharmed.
There is.

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

MY REVIEW:
After a horrible accident in her hometown leaves Mara Dyer in critical condition with her friends in caskets, the Dyer family relocates to Miami for a fresh start. Struggling to remember the events that led up to their deaths, Mara is plagued with PTSD that is causing her to see things that aren’t really there and nightmares that slowly bring back bits and pieces of that fateful night. Devoid of excitement to be starting at a new school, Mara quickly (though somewhat unwillingly) befriends Noah Shaw. Each day is a bit of a rollercoaster ride as Mara tries to separate reality from the things transpiring in her mind while trying to keep it from her new friends and family.

Okay, so here’s the thing about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, it was going really good and I was really into the story, but the ending disenchanted that whole feeling for me. The conclusion to book one just felt a little rushed. The truth comes out, and then suddenly the romance is upped ten notches and I want to throw up in my mouth a little bit.

“‘You have to be an artist and a madman, a creature of infinite melancholy, in order to discern, at once, the little deadly demon among the wholesome children,’ he said, his British accent melting around the words, his voice smooth and low. ‘She stands unrecognized by them and unconscious herself of her fantastic power.’”

Mara’s story itself was quite interesting, though I keep hearing it described as paranormal, but it didn’t really have that effect on me. It wasn’t creepy either. But it was unnerving. You’re reading from Mara’s perspective, so you don’t really discern which events are real or not until the point in time that Mara makes the realization. I found it really effective at leaving you in shock at certain points and adding a lot of suspense to the novel. It was also really heartbreaking, too, when you know Mara is just trying her best.

I’m also a total sucker for Noah, and it’s a little embarrassing to admit. I mean, us girls can be a sucker for accent, but adding the whole British accent to his character felt a little cheesy. But I started to really love how he was such a smartass. He was a little controlling in some ways, but I didn’t feel that they were unhealthy or abusive as some reviews would suggest. He’s playful. He’s intrigued. And he’s trying to keep her interested.

“’Fix me,’ I commanded him. ‘This thing, what I’ve done – there’s something wrong with me, Noah. Fix it.’
Noah’s expression broke my heart as he brushed my hair from my face, and skimmed the line of my neck. ‘I can’t.’
‘Why not?’ I asked, my voice threatening to crack.
‘Because,’ he said, ‘you aren’t broken.’”

However, as I mentioned in the beginning of my review, the romance lost it’s appeal towards the end. When Mara finally admits what has been going on with her since the accident, Noah reveals a revelation of his own that bring the two closer together. I appreciated that they had these obscurities to bond over, but after this revelation, it felt like Noah just completely flipped his behavior and was an absolute clinger to Mara. It felt like it wasn’t true to his character. Not only that, but it was just too much. He goes on about how they were made for each other and it just made me queasy.

It’s such a damn shame, too, because I really liked the sway that Noah had over Mara. She has this notion that she’s a complete psychotic and this horrible monster of a person, but Noah is there to remind her that she is not broken, and she is not a monster, she is only human. (Although I guess she has some sort of weird power, but we know so little at this point).

I’m going to read the next book because I’m curious. I hope the romance dials down a little bit but that Noah keeps that supportive role he has in Mara’s life. Hodkin left us with a pretty epic cliffhanger and I’m intrigued to know what happens next.

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