By: Michelle Hodkin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Genre/Age: YA Psychological Thriller/Paranormal/Mystery ? (I don’t really know, guys, it’s NUTS.)
Source: ARC from Once Upon a Twilight Book Tours
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.
I had no idea what to expect when I started reading The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. The summary on the back cover is appropriately vague and mysterious, and it lends itself well to the feel of novel, which is also very mysterious, and at times had me wondering if I was even reading it correctly or if I had missed something.
Telling you anything about the plot would just spoil the fun, so I’ll just say that Mara has been through a very traumatic event which she can’t really remember, and now she often doesn’t know what is real and what is just in her head. AND THE READER FEELS THE SAME WAY. Which is so awesome. I haven’t read many psychological thrillers (I’m a huge scaredy-cat, so I usually try to stay away from things that might keep me up at night), but this one is soooooo well done. I feel like usually the reader can at least tell when the character is dreaming or hallucinating and when it’s real life, but with Mara Dyer, I had no idea. I found myself flipping back a few pages to see if I’d missed something, and at one point I had to put the book down and walk away because I needed a break from the suspenseful awesomeness. And then of course I turned around after two seconds and started reading again.
The gradual unfolding of the story and small revelations happen very naturally, giving you just enough information to leave you chomping at the bit for more. Michelle Hodkin is an incredibly talented writer, both with her suspenseful storytelling and her character interactions. The dialogue in Mara Dyer is snappy and witty and realistic, and I laughed out loud more than a few times. Mara and Noah’s scenes in particular are fantastic, full of humor and sarcasm and crackling with sexual tension. But even though Noah and Mara are clearly the highlight, all of Hodkin’s characters – from Mara’s brothers to her nemesis at school – are well-written and diverse, whether you love them or hate them. I’m so eager to get to know them all better in future books.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a stunning debut novel, one that I would recommend to anyone who is looking for a suspenseful, sexy, slightly darker read. And be prepared to immediately start coveting the sequel, because holy hell, talk about a cliffhanger ending!! I promise you, you will leave this book with your jaw on the floor and “OMG WTF” running over and over again through your mind.
*Thanks so much to Once Upon a Twilight for letting me be a part of this ARC tour. :)