Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin


The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Publication Date: Semptember 27, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Page Count: 456 pages

Summary: Mara Dyer believes life can't 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 strangely unharmed. There is. She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love. She's wrong. (via goodreads)

So, I've known about this series for quite a while now. At first I didn’t realize the last book had come out until recently but it’s been around and I've seen all sorts of mixed reviews for it, which left me intrigued because I more often see a collective love or dislike of a lot of books from the reviewers/bloggers I follow. Then Jess from My Reading Dress reviewed the series and I decided I had to finally give it a try. I have to say, I ended up enjoying the first book.

The plot was really interesting. The Ouija board business was absolutely creepy (anything of that sort truly creeps me out). I enjoyed the mystery behind what went down before Mara convinced her parents to move them to Florida. It was obvious from the start that there was more than meets the eye surrounding the events of the accident, especially because of the prologue. I also like the way Hodkin plays around with the reader in regards what’s really happening. I was convinced that a lot of the events could simply be left to Mara’s PTSD of the accident, and that she should just listen to her mother’s advice about how to move past the events. Then the scene with Mabel’s owner happened. There’s a definitely eeriness to the story and to what is happening to Mara. That feeling of eeriness carries through the book underlying everything that happens.

I also enjoyed most of the characters, though Mara got a little bit irritating about her feelings for Noah. I didn’t mind their romance at all but there was a particular scene where I’d like to have seen some remorse from Noah about his past actions (the stuff with Jamie) when she confronted him, and for her to not just forget about it while in the middle of the conversation. That lessened by feelings for their relationship a bit. I'd usually understand her feelings and how Noah’s complexities intrigued her. But the book and his character would have been just as appealing if the whole "guy who sleeps around and the girls hate him but still love him" aspect wasn't a part of his character. That's the only complaint I have about him, I otherwise enjoyed him, him and Mara had good dialogue together! 

What could have been better: The way things were revealed in the end. I felt like it was rushed and too many different events happened back to back, while the romance took up the rest of the book as front and center. This made it feel a little disorganized. I think with this being a series, it could have been a bit more of a slow burn, since there are more books to let the relationship evolve. I can understand a more fast paced romance in a standalone than in a series where there’s more room to explore things.

I also would have enjoyed seeing more of Jamie. He felt too much like a token POC character with his disappearance happening at the more crucial points of the story, so I hope there will be more of him in the other books.

Overall, even with the flaws, I enjoyed the book. I’ll definitely be continuing to book two when I can because it definitely seems that things are about to get much more interesting, considering that cliffhanger I was left with in the end!