Thursday, August 16, 2012

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Series: Mara Dyer #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Release Date: September 27, 2011
ISBN13:  9781442421769
Format: hardcover
Genre: YA, horror, contemporary, urban fantasy
Source: borrowed from library

Rating: 10/10

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.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer has something just so off about it that it automatically draws readers inside. The story had some very artistically vague parts in it, adding to its element of the unknown, while other times the scenes are so detailed it seems almost real. As debut novels go, this one is truly a gem.

Mara is quite an interesting person. Her name alone is a bit of a representation of her character; I've read somewhere that Mara means bitter, and a Mara is (I think) a supernatural creature who apparently sits on your chest and enter your dreams as you sleep. She's sensible, and very very smart, doing everything to stay out from Noah Shaw's spell. I love her character, but I seriously don't get how she could jump so quickly from the position of vice-president of Avoid Noah Shaw At All Costs Club (Jamie Roth's undeniably the president) to devout member of the Noah Shaw Fan Club. Still, seeing her confusion and pain for not knowing after she Highlight to see spoiler kills - accidentally - her Spanish teacher, the owner of Mabel, and the animals seems a lot more believable than her feeling sad, and then later consoling herself by believing Noah's words saying that it couldn't be helped.

And there's Noah. Hot, mysterious, unattainable, and way too interested in Mara. Sounds familiar? Yes, but I'm not complaining. I'd probably not go for that kind of guy in real life but fiction makes the rough edges very nicely concealed. I seriously don't think it would be possible, but he probably has the power of charming the pants off of the entire Dyer household with a few short sentences. Nevertheless, I have to hold against him his notorious womanizing ways. Puh-leez. I don't have anything for nor against feminists, but his history with Jamie's sister was a bit cruel. Scratch a bit. He gets some points back for 'saving' Mara and her sketchbook from a certain demented jealous girl. And for getting her brother. And for being a excellent adviser to Mara. In some ways, Mara and Noah reminds me of Bianca and Wesley in The Duff by Kody Keplinger. Y'know, smart chick, kinda asshole-ish guy. End up together in some odd circumstance. Oh, and a quote. From a 'conversation' between Mara and Noah. Which wasn't really a conversation. But still.
“You smell good," he whispered into my neck. He was warm against me. Instinctively, I arched back into him and smiled."


"Mmm-hmm. Delicious. Like bacon.”
Of course, he didn't say that because it was a dream. But still. He had me at bacon.

One person I'd really love to hear more of is Jamie. He's probably among the greatest best-friend characters I've read, and I sincerely hope that he'd make another reappearance in one of the later Mara Dyer books.

Mara was given a terrible power, much like Juliette's power in Shatter Me, only much more potent and lethal; she does not need to touch anything to put her power in use, and no one is immune. In Mara's mind, the cause of death is explicitly described, giving it a certain oomph in the freakout-o-meter. That I like.

As the story progresses, Mara gets more and more immersed in whatever her power is; the story put perfect gaps on the powers source and, well, everything. With careful manipulation of words, Michelle Hodkin leaves readers at a devastatingly perilous cliffhanger, with fingers threatening to slip, as her audience fights to claw their way up from the abyss. Wow, that sounded . . . lyrical. But I have a bit more wisdom to enlighten you all with. Lesson of the day: read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. And its sequels. Seriously, it rocks so much I don't have words for it. And I shall retreat to my lair and devour delicious, delicious cookies.

Edited to add (8/18/2012): Back to Mara and Noah. I love them both but I don't get their relationship. I won't say they're exactly together, but I still don't get how they would. They haven't shown me anything really of why they like each other. Other than physical attractiveness.


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