Friday, May 9, 2014

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #1) by Michelle Hodkin {REVIEW}

Book Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #1)
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Mystery
Publication Date: September 27th 2011
        by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers


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.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

My Review: 

Whoosh! It was like a roller coaster ride! I have never read anything like this in a very long time. I am not even sure from where I should start. I finished the book just today and still have a hangover so if my ranting becomes unintelligible at some point, please feel free to mutter 'she's such a loonie' and close your browser, I won't mind :D


The book starts with the account of Mara Dyer (who admits this is her pseudonym), a 16-year-old girl in a hospital, after a fatal accident. Her parents inform her that she was found inside a pretty old decrepit asylum after it has collapsed. It's surprising that she had managed to survive the collapse. She has no memory of the whole incident and for the life of her, she can't remember a thing about the night when it took place.

I loved Mara. This is unlikely of me, since I usually like kickass fictional heroines, who are strong, brave and takes no crap from anybody. However, since this book deals with a wholly different plot, I wasn't expecting that. But Mara compels you to like her. It's not 'like' in a cute, sweet way. It's kind of an intriguing, frightening curiosity that turns into a never-ending liking eventually. She is traumatized. She lost her best friend. She lost a certainly significant part of her memory. She hears voices, sees things that aren't supposed to be there. And the new place, new school, new people aren't really helping to ease out the situation. The author showed Mara's post-accident life, her confusions, frustrations and sufferings perfectly. Just because she is the main character, she isn't shown as the ultimate supergirl with super determination and bravery and all the feels-good-to-the-ear stuff. Mara can be anyone, you or me or the girl that sits next to you in the class, anyone. There's nothing too special that would grab your attention, but somehow in this book she fits so well that you would not feel any lack in her character. She maybe sick (mentally or physically) and she is definitely broken. As a lead here, however, she is PERFECT.

Daniel and Joseph.

I can't remember the last time I have loved any fictional sibling this much. Daniel is the henchman of Mara's mom, Mrs Dyer. He is the eldest kid in the Dyer Household, the personification of everything good and perfect. He is a good son, a talented student with good grades, no less in extracurricular activities and he is clearly going to get admission in a well-reputed college. But above all, he is an outstandingly great brother. Throughout the book, he stands for Mara each and every time, even when she hasn't asked for it. I wish everyone has a brother like THAT.

Joseph is the youngest. But despite being so young and immature, you can clearly see the love and care he has for Mara. He knows she is stressed and going through a tough time. Still, he trusts her with all his heart and does not seem to leave any chance to make her happy. If I could have a younger sibling, I would choose a brother like him over a heartbeat, really :)


When Mara moves in to the new school and after facing all kinds of shit re-evaluates the decision of transferring to Croyden altogether, Jamie is the only person that acknowledges her as a friend. He is the 'weird' kid...and tbh, I was kind of disappointed seeing what happened to him in the book. I would have liked to have him till the end, weird or not :(


Can you explain why almost all the fictional heroes have to have breathtaking looks and a bad reputation that surprisingly works in their favor? It's become such a cliche, and yet the author carries it out really well. Noah is just that...and more. He has disturbingly rich parents, perfect grades, along with an irresistible charm and the gorgeous face. He treats the girls on a use-and-throw basis. But still, something's unnerving about him, he seems to treat Mara in a way that cannot be dismissed as mere chivalry. Despite all the warnings from Jamie and knowing what kind of an a-hole he can be to girls, Mara can't seem to control her heart which Noah sets aflutter. These are just the rosy sides though, we see the true Noah only halfway after, when he's let his secret known to Mara and listens to hers, without being totally judgmental. From a totally objective pov though, I feel Noah still has layers to his characters that he didn't reveal here. In case I'm right, I just hope it's nothing that would break my heart >.<

Their chemistry.

It brings tears to the eyes. Fills the reading heart with all the feels:') Well that did not happen to me exactly, but I am not complaining since I am very well aware of myself being a terribly, emotionally challenged person. I don't usually cry through a tragic or sappy reading or a movie even if it is actually the sanest thing to do. But if I weren't this much retarded, I would have surely cried at a few places seeing the two. For me Noah is possibly the best thing that happened to Mara, and that too at a time when she needed it the most. Noah is certainly a lot different than Mara in terms of...well, almost everything. But simultaneously Mara is probably the only person who is paradoxically similar to Noah, and vice versa. You have to read the book to understand what I'm talking about. But I can assure you, if my earlier statement is true, and Noah indeed is a cliche...their relationship most certainly is NOT. 

The plot execution.

After saying so much about the characters, little is left to reveal about the plot without letting out spoilers so I'll say it in a few words. For the first half, the book centers mainly on Mara. For the second half, it is Mara, Noah and everything else. The execution is beautiful. The language is easy. Since it is from Mara's pov and since she is so easy to connect with, you can often feel like you know this girl from your neighborhood or childhood, who has just moved in or out of your town after a terrible accident. The recollection of her memories are shown in segmented parts in a way that clearly distinguishes the narrating-present time (not the real present time btw) from the time 'before'. I would say the author is very very successful in doing so, since you won't feel like the narrative is imposed or forced or butchered at any point in the book. It starts and moves flexibly. 

The ending is a REAL shocker, and a cliffhanger since it's series book. There is no way you can just 'meh' and give up on the second one. Seriously people, if you need a little diversion from the conventional YA books and still want to stick to the main genre, I STRONGLY suggest you read it. Like NOW. GO. And then maybe you can shoot me a tweet or send me a messenger owl (if you happen to see one) and we can discuss all these crazy things with ALL the more craziness XD


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