Friday, 26 October 2012

REVIEW: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Pub. Date: January 3rd 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 452
Readership: Young adult
Genres: mystery, horror, fantasy, paranormal

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.

Ho-ly crap. This book. THIS BOOK. I loved it so much I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to write a coherent review. I've put it off for days in hope of gathering my thoughts but that didn't work, I just fangirled more and immediately started book two. Forgive me if I go off on tangents, start fangirling, and possibly key-smashing. With a side of gushing. Lots of gushing. Ok. Here we go.

To be honest, it sat on my shelf for a while. For reasons I'm not even sure of myself I put it off.  This past week, leading up to the release of book two I decided why not? I've heard amazing things from friends, read a few less than stellar reviews, seen great things on Tumblr... I had to find out what all this hype and talk about was myself. I love creepy things. I've been a horror movie junkie since I was about 8 years old. (Hah, no wonder I turned out so... fantastic.) Add romance to that and you have a book I want to get my hands on.

Right off the bat, Unbecoming brings out the creepy factor with the much loved Ouija board. At a birthday party. Yes, it's been done before many times but that's because it's effective. It sets the atmosphere, the tone, and from then on it's one big, creepy, dark mind game of a ride. It's a captivating story. From the summary, you're not sure what to expect. Halfway in and you're still not really sure what's going on but it holds you because of that. You have to know. You have to find out what the heck is going on. Is it really all in her head? Is there something bigger at play? What. The. Heck!? I wouldn't be surprised if a thunderstorm started up where someone cracks the book open to add to the spookiness.

I loved Mara. She's a complex character. She has so many problems. More problems than most her age do. Her best friend died in a terrible accident, along with two others. She packed up and moved to another state, far from home. She's starting at a new school. And that is just the iceberg. Mara has a great, dry, witty sense of humor. She needs it with everything that she's going through. All she wants is to be normal; to be better. A lot of people would be able to relate to that if you take away the supernatural part of the book and I think that was really great.

When the romance started with Noah (swoooooon!) I was a little jilted and upset that the creepy factor and a lot of the mystery kind of dropped of to establish it. But then I fell in love with Noah. Talk about a fictional guy-crush. And then we found out that Noah is linked to the mysteries surrounding Mara. At least one of them, anyway. What's fantastic about Mara and Noah is that it wasn't the love at first sight, insta-love, insta-make out scenes. There was a believable lead up. There was a slow build up with attraction, banter, and everything you want in a great romance. Which is what they are. I just - man, oh man, I warned you I would start to flail around. Noah on his own is fantastic: British (!!!), hot, wonderful and basically everything you'd want in a guy. Yes, he has a past and a bit of a reputation but the more I really learned about him, the more I fell in love with him.

Mara Dyer. By the time you finish the book, you're still not entirely sure who she is but that's the great part. It makes you hungry for more. You're in for a doozie with this one. There are great characters with great characterization. More than that, there is actually family in this. It's rare to find a YA novel where the protagonists's family is at the front and centre of everything but Mara's mother, father and two brothers are a central part of the story. There is a fantastic romance. Most of all, there's a jaw-dropping twist. If you love creepy things that make your skin crawl sometimes, that make you want to sleep with the lights on, that make the hairs on your arms stand up then The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is right for you. Michelle Hodkin came out of the gate with a winner. Just make sure you buy book two because you're gonna wanna tear right into it after finishing Unbecoming.



1 comment:

  1. I love the way you are reviewing!!! Congrats! You rock!