Series: Mara Dyer #1
Published by Simon and Schuster
Published on September 27, 2011
Genres: Dark, Love & Romance, Paranormal, Supernatural, Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult
Mara Dyer believes life can't 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 strangely unharmed.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
From what I gather, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was a either a hit or miss for some people. For me, it was an absolute hit. I was basically drawn in the moment I started – I mean, look at that cover. The cover alone is quite magnetizing; the color, the texture, the scene alone is elegant and beautiful. Picture a starving dog, and a rather enticing, finely cut steak – in this case, I’m the starved dog and the juicy, plump steak is The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. I will not lie. I devoured this book within a day. Now, what made The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer so brilliant in my eyes?
Let me start by saying that I am an absolute addict when it comes to the creepy, and dark paranormal genre. When I read the synopsis, I simply could not resist. However, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is not the a-typical paranormal book. No ladies and gentleman, it is so much more than what meets the eye. It’s like a multi-layered cake of mystery, horror, thriller, paranormal, with a slather of romance as the icing. And boy did I ever engulf that cake.
“My name is not Mara Dyer, but my lawyer told me I had to choose something. A pseudonym. A nom de plume, for all of us studying for the SATs. I know that having a fake name is strange, but trust me—it’s the most normal thing about my life right now. Even telling you this much probably isn’t smart. But without my big mouth, no one would know that a seventeen-year-old who likes Death Cab for Cutie was responsible for the murders. No one would know that somewhere out there is a B student with a body count. And it’s important that you know, so you’re not next. Rachel’s birthday was the beginning. This is what I remember.”
The mysterious main character is a girl that goes by “Mara Dyer,” she is not your average seventeen year old girl. After a terrible tragedy takes the lives of her best friend Rachel, her kinda-sorta friend Claire, and her ex-boyfriend Jude, she begins to suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). In the long run, in hopes of helping Mara cope with her now onslaught of mental issues, she and her family uproot their lives and move to Florida. If only it were that easy.
Mara does her best to remain normal, though, her past lingers and haunts her every waking day. She sees things that may or may not be real, she does things without remembering doing them – and on top of that, she’s amongst new classmates whose goals seem to revolve around making her life a living hell. Fortunately, not all the characters in Mara’s life are bad. I absolutely adored the relationship between her and her older brother, Daniel. The bits that involved those two were some of my favorites, the bond was infectious and made me smirk with feel-good warmth, which was seriously needed since nearly every other chapter sent a shiver down my spine. And then there comes our love interest, Noah Shaw.
Noah Shaw. Ugh, what do I say about Noah Shaw? I’m not even going to defend myself when I admit to falling for the cliche of the tragic, dark and mysterious rich english boy that is Noah Shaw. I completely and utterly fell in love with this character, and I feel that despite his flaws, he’s actually a beautifully developed character. He’s now ranked among my top three favorite book boyfriends. The relationship between Mara and Noah kept me on my toes, waiting and watching as they developed and became more dependent on one another. Honestly, these two are a big part on why the book was so addicting.
“We’re only seventeen.” I said quietly.
“Fuck seventeen.” His eyes and voice were defiant. “If I were to live a thousand years, I would belong to you for all of them. If we were to live a thousand lives, I would want to make you mine in each one.”
It’s important for me to say this though: Yes, there are some massive character flaws between Noah and Mara; they are certainly not perfect, nor will they ever be. They are warped, and very much resemble that of a broken mirror, you can glue all the pieces back together but you’ll still see the cracks. For me, their issues and abilities made the bond they share all the more special.
As the story progresses, it is clear that there is something more sinister happening to Mara Dyer than originally thought, but what is it? We see as she progressively gets worse, we can even feel her changing. I have to give Michelle Hodkin a round of applause. As her debut novel, her writing was phenomenal, the characters were different and interesting, the story she wove was captivating and holds the readers attention from the get-go, her writing allowed you to sense everything from the perspective of Mara, so it was easy to imagine the fear that clawed her from the inside out. Certainly one of my favorite reads this year.
I would run through a summary of what takes place throughout this twisted tale but then there would be absolutely no point in reading this novel. What I can say is this: the novel messes with your mind. It creates paranoia which should not be there – while reading you constantly ask yourself is this real? Is this actually happening? Where will this lead? Most importantly, who the hell is Mara Dyer? I guess we’ll just have to read to find out.