I'd like to introduce you to Mara Dyer. She's young, pretty, from a good family, and she's as crazy as a bag of hammers. At least that's what I (and she) thought for most of the book. Then it changed. That's when she figured out...sorry, I can't ruin it for you but that's when I went from thinking this book was fairly good to fairly stupid.
We first meet Mara waking up in the hospital after she and her friends were caught in a building collapse. Only Mara survived but that didn't stop her friends from making random appearances. Mara couldn't look in a mirror without seeing the reflection of one of her dead friends. She would randomly lose hours of time (which, by the way, was never explained). Her family was so concerned over her mental state that they decided to move to take Mara away from the constant reminders of her deceased friends. This is when she met Noah. He's a walking cliche - gorgeous, cool, drowning in money, goes through girls like they were Kleenex, but Mara treats him like dirt for a couple of days and he's hooked *gag*. He tries to help her with her issues and we later find out why.
It wasn't horrible but I would have liked it a lot more if it stuck to the mental issues. It reminded me at first of The Sixth Sense and later on I thought it was going the way of Shutter Island. You can't throw the X-Men into either of those without ruining it, but that's exactly what happened.
on February 28, 2012
For much of this book I was entirely enthralled by it- but then when I reached the last third or so of the book I found myself becoming less and less enthralled and frankly more and more confused. After reading (and rereading and rereading) the last line of the book all I can think is "Wha?". Very rarely do I have to go back and reread a book to have a complete and thorough understanding of what had occurred in it and unfortunately this book does go against the norm and I will have to do so (hopefully in doing so I will be able to pick up on all of the little hints that pertain to the last sentence of the book). Furthermore, I found the last third of the book to be quite rushed (everything surrounding Mara's little brother and father? I thought that it came out of the left field and didn't fit with the feel/ pace of the earlier 2/3 of the book).
That being said, the last third of the book didn't wreck the novel for me in the slightest. Why? Because of Noah Shaw (AKA Sex-on-legs). Noah is perhaps the most arrogant, charming, and intriguing YA male character I have ever read of before (think a mixture of Chuck Bass and Jace Wayland x 8593284609802986092). I cannot tell you the number of times I burst out laughing while reading of all of his antics. And even better than being arrogant, charming and intriguing, Noah was genuine and had his heart in the right place.
Typically I don't find that female characters do all that much for me (as I have mentioned numerous times, I find that they often lack personality when compared to their male counterparts- that they are extremely underdeveloped), but I didn't find that the case with Mara. I found her to be extremely interesting- I wanted to know more about her (Who is the real Mara Dyer? How crazy is she?) and I did come to really like her (I LOVED the fact that she was able to go head-to-head with Noah's snark).
All in all, while I was disappointment by the last 1/3 of the book I do believe that this is an amazing debut by Michelle Hodkin. It becomes evident while reading this book that her talents lie in creating extremely likeable (not to mention swoon-worthy) characters. Furthermore, despite my criticisms I will still read the sequel to this book (in the hopes that it will answer many of my burning questions).
Obviously, there is an enormous amount of hype surrounding this trilogy and so naturally I had to see what the big deal was...as has been tradition for my last couple of reads.
This book started out completely different than what I thought it was going to be like. I thought there would be a lot of fantasy/supernatural themes but this story actually started off very realistically. I thought maybe I had misunderstood the premise of the novel and it was actually a contemporary YA story. This book definitely has some dark themes which I really enjoyed and wasn't expecting.
The characters throughout this story were well written and were definitely thoroughly thought of. The character of Mara Dyer bothered me at times for reasons I'm not entirely sure of, but for the most part she was tolerable. I really enjoyed the character of Noah Shaw. I liked his smug attitude and carefree personality.
The writing style was fantastic, but I did find some things a little repetitive and some moments to kind of drag on a little longer than they could have. There were a few times when I was a tad confused throughout the story, but things did tend to make sense of themselves toward the end.
Then, with about 100 pages to go, things got weird. Just when I thought that maybe this was actally a contemporary YA story and I misread the synopsis, things got very supernatural. The reader learns about a secret Noah has been keeping as well as what is really going on with Mara. Then of course there's that ending...
I'm extremely excited to begin the second novel in the trilogy!
on February 11, 2013
Truth be told, the only reason I wanted to pick up this book was because I loved the cover. I didn't really know what it was about. I also like the fact that you're not sure if the boy is hugging or drowning her (but I'm pretty sure it's the former as he's trying to stop her from drowning - not literally).
(5/5) At the beginning, Mara writes a letter that seems like it was written some time in the future. The rest of the book is written in first person past tense. Mara is reaccounting her story to us and I feel that narration in itself is very important as the story continues on in the sequels.
Mara's narrative is a very, very personal one. So personal that when I read it, I felt and saw the world from her eyes on a very deep level and the hallucinations felt as real to me as it did to her. The flaw with first person has always been that the story is filtered through the eyes of the main character and what you see is, quite possibly, not very accurate. That is especially true in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and is, well, what I felt the whole book revolved around.
(2.5/5) Mara moves from Laurelton, Rhode Island to Miami, Florida and there she starts a new private school. Now the setting wasn't anything special and I found student life at the private school to be, well, stereotypical. There wasn't anything new or fresh.
(5/5) OK, the plot had to be one of my favourite parts of the book. It was all over the place (in a good way). I could not even attempt to guess what would happen next, and I felt like I got shattered each time a new revelation was made. I was just completely swept away by the story and it was all the more distorted with Mara's hallucinations, so you're always never quite sure if what's happening is real or not as you see the story unfold through Mara's eyes.
(5/5) Mara's best friend and boyfriend died in a building collapse and Mara does not remember this incident and what occurred on this day when she wakes up at the hospital. She's left with post-traumatic stress disorder and is constantly hallucinating, unable to tell the difference between reality and her hallucinations. Mara's wasn't a character with a unique or distinctive personality really, but her hallucinations, how her grasp on reality slowly unravels, now that is what makes her an intriguing character. Every step of the way I felt like I was unraveling with her, there was just no way I could tell if whatever happened was real or not, I felt just as helpless as her.
(4/5) One of the antagonist was this very stereotypical girl, who hates Mara because of the interest Noah (this popular boy at school) shows for her, that's the reason I'm giving this a 4. But throughout the book, we're not sure who the main antagonist is. As we get closer and closer to the end of the book, it gets even more confusing. This whole mystery of who's behind the recent disappearances is just as as distorting as Mara's hallucinations as Hodkin's keeps throwing us off course.
The Dyer Family: I really enjoyed that Mara's family (her parents, older brother, and younger brother) played such a central role in the story. They were a firm part of Mara's life and their life has also been thrown off course because of Mara's post traumatic disorder. Despite that, they try their best for her sake and help her in any way they can and I loved the close bond they shared as a family.
Noah: Although I did enjoy Noah's character and the author seemed to try to give him depth and layers, the largest let down about him was that his character was pretty stereotypical. Popular boy, uses girls like tissue papers, rich, his past, seems to like the main female lead for no concise reason compared to other girls. However, as revelations that connect him to Mara were made, his character started feeling more original to me.
(3/5) Like I said, I didn't understand why Noah fell so hard for Mara and vice versa. It happened way too fast and wasn't that great to read about in the beginning half. After some important revelations concerning Noah and Mara were made later on in the book, their romance starting getting better as they faced many problems that came with these revelations.
(28.5/35) Although it has some stereotypical elements, what made The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer such a great read was the mystery, a plot that you have no hope of predicting, and the story all seen from the eyes of a main character that can't grasp reality, and every step of the way I felt like I was slowly unraveling with her.
on March 21, 2012
Mara is the sole survivor of an accident that killed her best friend, hey boyfriend and her boyfriend's sister. She has no memory of the accident until she starts dreaming about it in bits and pieces. Her family wanting to protect her moves to Florida where she starts over.
In the new private school Croydan, she meets the resident ladies man Noah Shaw and finds a friend in Jamie. High school wouldn't be the same of there weren't any bullies around. They come in the form of Noah's ex Anna and her friend Aiden.
I definitely enjoyed reading this book, enjoyed it so much I want to re-read it again. Mara's character is feisty and stubborn and she stands up for herself when people attempt to bully her. She was different than other characters just because of the way she thought about people who crossed her. Yes they ended up dying as she fantasizes about it. Which brings up the reason why she's able to do that. Murder people that is.
I found it truly disturbing when she would hallucinate and you as a reader can tell the difference between her reality and her dream like state, until you get to the ending where it makes you even more determined why Mara Dyer is the way she is. (which isn't even her real name)
Can I say how much I enjoyed Noah's character? How much more depth to personality than what he showed to his peers? That no matter how sexy, and smart he was that inside he was just as lonely and isolated as Mara? And this is one of the reasons they're attracted to each other? I also love how the two teased each other with their literary flirtin and smart comments.
This book wasn't just about a romance, it was a psychological thriller at its best. I highly recommend reading this. Well done Michelle Hodkin! I am extremely excited to read more about Mara Dyer and will highly anticipate the new book when it releases soon enough!
Combined with a mystery, paranormal romance, this book will have you wanting more!
on October 18, 2011
Quite honestly, I have wanted to read this books for months but really had no idea why. I do love the cover and of course, that is what initially drew me in. But there was something about the synopsis that grabbed my attention enough to make me purchase the book. Even after the reviews started coming in (I didn't read them, but took a look at the ratings), I really still had no idea just what this book was about. Nevertheless, I am glad that I picked it up because it was phenomenal.
It really didn't matter that I didn't have a basic understanding of what the novel was about when I began reading it. The writing is so well done that it just sucks you in. I actually think I enjoyed the book more not knowing as it allowed me the opportunity to just read and not compare it to other books. It didn't lower my expectations for the book, but it did allow me to look read and approach it with an untainted outlook.
The interactions between characters was spot on. Michelle Hodkin managed to give everyone their own personalities and that came across clearly in both situations and dialogue. Conflicted and confused Mara, confident and endearing Noah, loyal and smart Daniel, mischievous and outspoken Jamie all added depth to the story. The interaction between Mara and Noah is really kind of epic.
The book itself is quite large at close to 500 pages. I think it's one of the larger YA titles I have read in the past year. Having said that, those 500 pages go by like a breeze. I got through this book in just over two hours because I just couldn't put it down and of course now I am eagerly anticipating the follow up which probably won't come out until next year some time!
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a fabulous read with enough suspense, mystery and romance to keep the reading turning page after page.
Mara Dyer's past is a blur. In one night, she lost her best friend and boyfriend to a tragic fire that no one dares to discuss. And so her family relocates to a new town, where Mara will come to terms that the past just can't stay hidden.
It was a struggle to link the book to a specific genre, as it kept on changing from mystery to romance to paranormal -- all linked to create what became a trilogy. The main love interest was surprisingly presented as shallow, referred to as ''The Shaw'' a player that no girl should come near, especially one like Mara who is still sensitive due to the incident. But Noah ends up being a bookworm, who cares to integrate her into the new school. Why he needs to maintain a persona is explained in the book, making the story even more climatic.
Looking forward to reading the sequel (blame it on the cliffhanger ending).
on September 16, 2013
This novel was everything I could ask for - unique, thrilling, well-written with likeable characters and an easy read. I quite literally could not stop reading. Noah Shaw was reminiscent of Edward Cullen from the Twilight series with just as much desirability. I liked that there were characters with mixed ethnic backgrounds; a detail I don't often see highlighted. I highly recommend this book and can't wait to start the next one in the series. Just, first things first, need to get some shut-eye!
I'm not quite sure what the heck was going on in this book but I couldn't stop reading! Even now that I've finished I still don't know anything. I must read the next book immediately because I need some answers! I really liked the creepy vibe but I'm not sure exactly what was creepy. This was obviously a rather confusing book!
on December 29, 2014
Honestly really enjoyed the change of pace for this book. I tend to read, you know your "normal" young adult books and this one does follow somewhat the rules or those normal ones... but adds another element that actually makes you question yourself and the main character.