Series: Mara Dyer #1
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2011-09-27
Genres: Paranormal, Thrillers, Young Adult
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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.
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.
I don’t remember where I first heard about this book, but I remember not feeling too strongly about it one way or the other. The summary doesn’t give much away, but I read all the great reviews and put in a request for it at the library. When I brought it home, it still sat there for a while, patiently awaiting its turn to be read. When it finally came time to read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (just two days ago now), I was hooked after the first chapter. After the third, I was seriously mad at myself for not reading this book sooner. Why didn’t I read this book sooner?! It’s amazing.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is about a teenage girl who was in an accident that killed her three friends and put her into a coma. She wakes up in the hospital three days later and can’t remember anything about the accident. As she tries to put the pieces of her life back together and move on, without her best friend, she finds that there may be more to the accident than everyone thought. Her first clue is the hallucinations. Mara convinces her family to move away from home and everything familiar, everything tied to the memories of her friends and the horrible accident, in an effort to stop the nightmares and weird visions. But the hallucinations, and other strange happenings, don’t go away. At her new school, she meets Noah. His reputation is far from perfect, but she thinks there may be more to him than the rumors. As it turns out, Noah may be the only person who can help her find out what’s really happening to her.
Michelle Hodkin has done a fantastic job with her debut novel. I was completely hooked from the first page and the rest of the book did not disappoint. The events happening around Mara are strange and I immediately wanted to know what was going on. Mara’s hallucinations and visions are creepy, and even she can’t tell what’s real or imagined anymore. But I won’t give anything away here because the book does a great job revealing its secrets at just the right times.
As for characters, Mara has become one of my favorites. She’s honest, witty, caring, and makes mistakes, but nothing she does feels out of character or forced. Even her being with Noah feels natural. Their relationship started slowly and was built on time spent together. There was no “love at first sight, will die without you” love in this book. Noah, as the male lead, was pretty decent. He wasn’t my favorite, but there isn’t really anything specific that I didn’t like about him. One point about the characters that I wish had been different was the stereotyping. Almost all of the secondary characters seemed to fit nicely into a category and I feel that Michelle should have been more creative than that. I have a few theories about some of the characters and the roles they may come back to play in the second book. I hope we see more from a few of them next time around.
Overall, I loved this book. It was original, thrilling, suspenseful, and exciting with just the right amount of romance thrown in. The main characters are great, including Mara’s family. The pacing is perfect. The dialogue is funny without feeling forced. And the ending is fantastic. It’s a definite cliffhanger, so consider yourself warned, but didn’t feel incomplete either. The next book in the series, The Evolution of Mara Dyer, comes out in October and I already can’t wait to read it. I highly recommend The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer to anyone who enjoys suspense and mystery, supernatural thrillers, and romance. 5 stars