The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
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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, find she can fall in love.
Because this is the worst summary in the history of all summaries: Mara Dyer gets in an accident, treatment where three of her friends die in a collapsed building and she somehow manages to survive. She doesn’t remember anything about it: why they were there, how she got there, what happened, any of it. Then she starts seeing things. She sees her ex, Jude, and she sees Claire and Rachel, her friends, and she can’t figure out if its PTSD or she’s just going absolutely mad. She convinces her parents to move them, including her two brothers, away, to avoid the place where all this heartbreak has taken place. But her problems follow her to Miami, and she can’t seem to figure out what is going on. Then there is Noah Shaw, the hottest boy in school (of course) who shows her a ton of interest, even though he drives her crazy, and he seems to know way more than he lets on.
I’m not going to lie: I was really, really confused for a HUGE chunk of this book. I was like, okay, I’m not sure what’s going on, and I’m pretty sure Mara is going insane. I feel like that was done in a very purposeful manner, because Mara’s mind is on overdrive, and she really does feel like she is going insane. I think you really get into her head, and that really helps to increase your awareness of her confusion, and of her terror as well. She is seeing her dead friends everywhere, and as she gets more and more of her memories back of what happened that night, it just gets worse and worse.
The thing that really caught me about this book was the main character of Mara. She’s not whiny, she’s not dependent on anyone, but she’s also not dependent on herself either. She is seeing all kinds of crazy stuff. She is seeing her dead friends, she is seeing disasters happening, or bugs in her food, crazy stuff. She is diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, and the worse it gets, the more she is confused. She can’t figure out if its the PTSD or if she’s going mad or something is genuinely wrong with her.
I think the addition of Noah was really weird. I liked Noah but he seemed…kind of like he didn’t have a purpose until the end when he sort of reveals his purpose, but it just doesn’t seem…to flow as naturally as the rest. His attraction to Mara, and all that just kind of seemed a little forced. I didn’t find myself rooting for it as much as I’ve done with other characters. I didn’t mind their growing friendship/relationship but it just wasn’t one of those couples that I would really remember later.
SPOILER FILLED RANT!
Okay so it really really realllllly bothered me when Mara gets all self-righteous and noble at the end, when she figures out that she basically has this power that she can kill people, even if she’s not around them, when she loses her temper, and she wants Noah to go away, so she doesn’t hurt him, and he’s begging her not to. Gag. I hate that sort of thing. It reminds of Edward Cullen in New Moon, which was so…its just too cheesy and ridiculous. I hated that part with an absolute passion. I hate the nobility of teenagers in novels. Teens aren’t noble. Straight up, they just aren’t. Teens are selfish, and emotional and hormonal and overwhelming. I just wanted to punch both of them in the face so hard at the point.
SPOILER FILLED RANT ENDED!
Okay, so it might sound like I didn’t like the novel, but I actually really did. I sped through it in about a day, maybe slightly more, but it was really good. It was fast paced, even though you spend most of the novel in Mara’s head, with her dreams, and her thoughts, and her doubts, and its enough to keep you flipping the pages until the very end. The psychological mess that is Mara is enough to really capture you. You honestly can’t figure out if she is crazy, or imagining things because she wont’ take the medication her therapist put her on, or if there’s genuinely something going on.
I think the thing that really gives this a 4 star rating, because it was probably at a 3 to 3.5 rating, was the ending. I was not expecting the ending in the slightest, the cliffhanger that Michelle leaves you with. I am hoping to get my hands on the sequel VERY soon because that cliffhanger left my jaw wide open, and that’s when I realized how much more this book really was, and that’s when it all fit together and I was like “aha!”. What a great, twisted ending.
4 out of 5 Stars
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