Book Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
(Mara Dyer #1)
Published By: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publication Date:  September 27, 2011
Page Count: 452
Source:  Book Purchased by Reviewer
  Audience:  Young Adult - Paranormal 

This book was INSANE...but I mean that in the very best of ways!!  I totally got sucked in...hook, line and sinker.  

Michelle Hodkin's captivating debut was a huge hit with included writing that was purposeful and suspenseful and emphatic.  The world she created felt so real it was hard to determine where the fantasy/paranormal began and reality ended.   The characters were developed just enough to remain somewhat enigmatic while still revealing tidbits about themselves as the story rolled forward at a great pace.  The creepiness was delicious...the romance was delicious...the mystery of it all was just...delicious.

Mara Dyer recently suffered a traumatic event that left her family worried and Mara questioning her sanity.  Rather than be hospitalized for treatment, Mara convinces her loving family that a change of scenery would help her recover (as she is loath to pills and therapy) they end up moving from Rhode Island to Miami.  Mara was hoping that her problems would stay back in Rhode Island, with a fresh start in Florida, but it was not surprising that her issues would follow her where ever she went.

Initially, Mara remembers nothing from that fateful night when two of her friends and her boyfriend perished in a building collapse.  She has no recollection of why she was in an old abandoned mental asylum before the tragedy occurred.  But Mara attempts to 'fix herself' in her own way, and through a series of rather bizarre events, her memories slowly start to resurface and pieces of the puzzle in her mind slowly start to reconnect.

I really liked Mara.  Despite all that she had to deal with, I still got a huge sense of who she was deep down.  She was smart and sensible even while her grip on her own sanity at times was tenuous at best. She was flawed...and not just by her psychological issues...but that kept her real and relatable as most of us are lucky to not have to deal with the things Mara had to face.  I loved her sardonic wit...and I wish I had her quick comebacks.  She always stood by her convictions even when it was not the easier path to take. 

Mara suffered from huge guilt, understandably so, being the only one of her friends who seemingly got out of that disaster physically unscathed.  But even though her physical trauma was miraculously and relatively non-existent, her psychological well-being afterwards was significantly disturbed.  I felt her pain right along with her, but I also felt her triumphs as well!

What can I say about Noah...only Noah can make tying your shoelaces a sexy and sensuous and endearing moment all rolled into one.  The reputation that preceded him at first made him out to be quite a bad boy but the tough outer layers melted away as he connected with Mara and that's the guy I fell for along with Mara.  He was strong, smart, sexy, confident and cocky...everything we love in our leading men, right?!  His support for Mara was phenomenal.  He was tough when he needed to be tough with her, and gentle when she needed that too.  He wanted to 'fix' her in the most admirable and committed way without being superior or acting as her 'knight-in-shining-armour'.  For example, when Mara spilled her guts to Noah about her past...she said that no one could fix her, but he whispered to her, "Let me try".  The impact of that statement was so profound, it left ME breathless.

Mara & Noah's conversations were charged with zingers...both thoughtful and purposeful.  If any two people were made for each would be these two.  And as the story unfolds, we see there is a predestined reason why that is.  No other two can make 'almost kissing' more smexy than Mara & Noah's intimate moments. 

One thing that was really refreshing in this story was Mara's family -- including her sometimes over-bearing/psychologist mother.  They all seemed to be a supportive and loving family especially Mara's two brothers Daniel (older) and Joseph (younger).  Joseph was adorable! 

Another thing I loved about this book was how each chapter ended on a significant thought.  It had the 'boom' factor.  I couldn't wait for the next chapter!

Normally, leaving a lot (and I mean...A LOT) of unanswered questions by the conclusion of a book would make for a very frustrating and non-enjoyable read for me, but this story did not leave me that way at all.  I can't WAIT for the sequel to learn more and unwrap the mysteries of what is going on with Mara...and Noah...and a certain someone who is part of the major cliffhanger.  The ending was CRAZY and left me on the edge of my seat right to the very last page!! 

I will warn readers that there is some 'language'.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer had literally sat on my shelf for almost a year, until a few weeks ago, two of my good friends read it and RAVED about it!  So closer to the top of my huge 'to be read' pile it went!  And now I'm wondering why I waited so long to read it. This was a book I easily devoured...I ate it up!  But in a way, I'm glad I did wait because the sequel comes out in a few days time so I won't have to wait so long for the answers to my questions...and I have more than a few as I mentioned.  This book was not what I was expecting, but surprised me in a very good way.  It was creepy, romantic, mysterious and dramatic!  It left me guessing right to the very last page, and despite the many unanswered questions and the big cliffhanger at the end, I loved every single moment of this story.  The EVOLUTION of Mara Dyer -- BRING IT!

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.



  1. UGH! I can't wait to get home, my copy should be in the mail! Great review :D

  2. Thank you Ashley! I just got the second book today too -- can't wait to dive in!!


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