Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: September 27, 2011
Source: For Review from Simon and Schuster Canada (Thank you!)
Rating: 4.5 Stars
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.
In short: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin couples a freaky psychological thriller with realistic characters and relationships to masterful effect.
My favourite part of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was its odd combination of unrealistic hallucinations with realistic characters and relationships. Mara has a whole, complete family (two parents and two brothers), which is unusual and refreshing compared to the non-existant or broken family structure that we're used to seeing in YA. I loved reading about Mara's relationships with every member of her family. But none more than Mara's relationship with her mother - the frustrated daughter and overbearing but caring mother kind of relationship - which wonderfully and accurately represented mother-daughter relationships in real life. Mara's insecurities and awkwardness around her love interest, Noah, also rang true to real life.
I found Mara to be an easy person to like. She's nerdy and awkward and prone to swearing and violence (what's not to like in those qualities?). At various points in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, she feels the urge to punch people in the face for annoying her: the mean girl at school says something rude and she wants to punch her in the face; her brother and her love interest, Noah, team up behind her back and she wants to punch them in the face; on one memorable occasion, the sun blinds her and she wants to punch it in the face; and several times, she says something awkward to Noah and wants to punch herself in the face. I couldn't help but like her for that.
I was not a fan of Noah's, however. I didn't always buy into his character; some of the things he said were cliched. But worse, he was an arrogant jerk, which I know some people who are into bad boys love, but it just isn't my thing. There is a fine line between being confident and smug and just plain douche-y, and unfortunately for me, I found that Noah fell on the wrong side of that line more often than not. That said, I have a feeling I may end up in the minority and most readers will love Noah. At any rate, my love of the plot was able to largely overrule my dislike of Noah, thankfully.
Overall, I loved The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer for the way it messed with my head one moment and then brought me back to earth with its realistic depictions of family life the next. Michelle Hodkin is a talented debut author and I highly recommend The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. Word of warning though: if you hate cliffhangers and the wait in between books, watch out because The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer has one heck of a torturous cliffhanger.
i swim for oceans
The Bursting Bookshelf
*Read as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge
*The Letter U in the A-Z Reading Challenge