Series?: Book 1
Pages: 452 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Dates read: November 21st to 23rd, 2014 (Hardcover copy)
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, she can fall in love.
This book was a re-read. Albeit, the last time I read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was in 2012, right after the second one was released. So, because of the release of the third and final novel, I decided to do a re-read because why not.
I absolutely adored this book. I liked it two years ago and I like it just as much now, if not more. There were a few things here and there that bother me somewhat, but it didn’t distract me all that much from the writing.
The story is just so intriguing. The synopsis doesn’t give much of an idea of what the novel’s about, but it’s about a girl name Mara Dyer. Her family moved to Florida after she suffered a traumatic event in Laurelton, Rhode Island. There, she tries to get through the aftermath of the accident, and has PTSD-induced flashbacks and hallucinations. As the novel progresses, though, you start to wonder what’s real and what’s not and then at some point, you just wonder what the hell is going on??? But in a good way. I could not put this book down, I plowed through it in three days.
Mara is a pleasant heroine to read about. She isn’t annoying, or dull, like some heroines can be. There was a healthy balance, and I think her voice and actions fit properly with a teenage girl suffering from PTSD. Noah Shaw, the main love interest, is probably my #1 literary boyfriend. He’s just so… amazing. He’s one of those brooding, sarcastic playboy characters with the heart of gold, but for some reason, he isn’t too cliché. I just absolutely love him. I could go on for days about him, but I’ll refrain myself.
What is also really nice about the characters in this book is that even the secondary ones are well-rounded. Mara’s family (two brothers, Joseph and Daniel, and her parents) all have their own personalities and even if they weren’t in a large part of the book, I still got a pretty clear image of who they were. The only thing I would have wished for is that there was more Jamie! He’s Mara’s first friend at her new school, and he’s just a great friend all around. There just needed to be more of him.
I also really liked Michelle Hodkin's writing. When Mara was freaked out or nervous, I was freaked out and nervous. The scenes where she had PTSD episodes were, in my opinion, well written. I actually got scared while reading the book, my heartbeat sped up. That isn’t something that happens often to me while reading, and it did in this book.
As with any book, there were a few things I didn’t like. First of all, Mara seems to criticize every single female character at her new school. There’s a costume party towards the beginning, and there was kind of an over-usage of the words “slutty, whorish” and I just found it… useless. It just bothered me.
Also, as adorable as Mara and Noah are, I found they wen’t from 0 to 100 way too fast. One second, Mara was saying that she hated Noah and the next she was absolutely in love with him. I wish there would have been a bit more of a build-up to their romance.
Finally, I found the climax of the story came and went too fast. It wasn’t anti-climatic, exactly, but it just seemed like the ending of the book rolled up and hit you in the face way too quickly. Again, more build-up would’ve been nice.
So, if you’re looking for a YA novel with romance, psychological drama and just something that is so unique and never-before-seen, then I highly, highly suggest you read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.
Note: If you’re squicky or trigeredwhen it comes to gross/disturbing scenes (Mara gets second-degree burns on her arm, at one point), proceed with caution while reading.