The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (by Michelle Hodkin) is about a teenage girl (Mara Dyer) who survives a horrific accident that takes the lives of her two friends and her boyfriend- an accident Mara has no memory of. Hoping for a fresh start, Mara and her family relocate to Florida. But no matter how hard she tries, Mara can’t escape her past- the faces of her dead friends haunt her in waking hours and nightmares, bizarrely grotesque coincidences seem to follow her, and a mysterious boy who knows a little too much about her past can’t leave her alone. And the biggest question of all tortures her- are the images that haunt her real, or all in her head?
What I liked:
I thought The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was well written and interesting, though it is one of those books that throws you right into the story and you’re just expected to keep up. Mara is a likable, though I find I like some of the other characters better- her brother Daniel, for instance, who is the epitome of what every girl wants when wishing for a big brother. I liked the mysteriousness of the story also- the author doesn’t explain much of what’s happening to Mara until the end, which keeps you on your toes. One of my favorite aspects is how the buried memory of what happened the night Mara’s friends were killed is revealed, bits and pieces at a time throughout the book. This gives you enough time to generate your own ideas and predictions of how they died, and how Mara miraculously escaped. But by far the most memorable part is the extreme plot twist at the end, which leaves you staring open-mouthed at the wall and unable to wait to get the next book.
What could have been better:
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is one of those books that despite the creative idea, falls prey to the very overused love story. The love interest in this book- Noah Shaw- has a reputation for being mysterious, never dating girls seriously despite his movie star good looks, and having an unspoken authority over almost everyone. So when he takes a sudden interest in Mara and reveals secrets about himself to her, everyone is shocked. Sound familiar? Yeah. It’s in pretty much every book ever. However, the author did a good job of making Noah lovable, and no matter how common the love story, I ended up rooting for him anyway. The book also gets extremely confusing toward the end, and I had to flip back and reread a couple times just to make sure I hadn’t accidentally skipped a page. In the end, I did manage to figure most of it out, and Hodkin’s style of letting you come to your own conclusions is really what makes the book what it is.
Overall, I enjoyed The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and plan on finishing the series. I’d recommend it to people who like a bit of mystery and creepiness in a book, and don’t mind a love story. ★★★☆☆
Check it out on Amazon here.