Monday 5 August 2013

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Summary (from Goodreads):

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can 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 mysteriously unharmed.
There is.

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

One thing I couldn't stop thinking about while reading The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was why on earth Mara and her friends went to this old and abandoned asylum in the first place. I'm all for some thrills and living living life on the edge (sometimes I go for it and pick a book at random from my bookshelf without even looking at the title.. I am thrill seeker, my friends) but there is no reason for going to a scary building in the dead of night. I don't care how bored you are, walking into an abandoned asylum is like that girl in the horror movies who hears the noise in the basement and decides to open the door anyway. No, don't do that. Just run. Run.

Now that I've got that off my chest.. This beautiful looking (yes, I judge books by their covers, sue me) book is basically about a girl, Mara, who wakes up in a hospital to discover that her best friend, her best friend's friend and her boyfriend have died in a collapsing asylum that she survived virtually unscathed. Her whole family then relocate to Florida and she starts at a new school where she catches the eye of known womaniser Noah Shaw. There's also a string of sudden deaths, a couple of dead insects, some alligators, a handful of hallucinations and flashbacks on Mara's part and a kidnapping for good measure and it's all a bit random and mysterious.

If nothing else, this book is definitely different. The new mysterious girl falling for the bad boy has been done before but the plot is a fresh one that I enjoyed reading. The random occurrences and deaths were a little hard to follow at first but having never read a book where the main character is responsible for the mysterious deaths without really understanding how, I wanted to read on and find out how and why. Also, the unraveling of the mystery of the original deaths of her friends and her miraculous escape is really interesting to read because the reader finds out new aspects of that night at the same time as Mara gradually remembers them.

As much as I liked the overall idea behind this book and I enjoyed the flashbacks, the romance and the main characters really dragged this read down for me. At first Mara was a really cool protagonist who always had a witty response on the tip of her tongue but when I hoped Mara would investigate the murders, she was spending all of her time wondering if she should give Noah the time of day. It was disappointing that her whole world was about this guy now and she doesn't make any friends other than Jamie who appears a couple of times to help her with her homework and tell her not to date Noah and she doesn't do anything apart from draw Noah.

Overall, although I really liked the premise of this novel and a lot of the story line really appealed to me, I think the premise could have been executed better if there was less attention given to the romance and more to Mara really discovering herself and uncovering the truth. I wanted less romance and more Mara worrying and finding out why people are randomly dropping dead around her. If you enjoy angsty should-I-should-I-not teen romance with a little creepy thrown in, you will probably enjoy The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer but if you want more story line and characters actively trying to get shit done rather than romance... this probably isn't for you.

(P.S. The ending is surprising. Very.)

Music choice: I guess this is for Mara losing her best friend, Rachel. That moment when Mara asks about Rachel in her hospital bed is awwhr... 

Losing Hope by Jack Johnson


  1. I heard that the romance isn't that great, so I think I'll be putting this one off a little longer. I'm glad you enjoyed this overall though!

    Great review! <33

    1. Thank you! Yeah, the romance isn't all that great but perhaps when you do get around to reading it, you'll like it more than I did! :)


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