Thursday, December 1, 2011

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
By Michelle Hodkins
Publication date: September 27, 2011

My review:

Mara is the only survivor of an accident that takes the lives of her best friend Rachel, Mara's boyfriend Jude, and his sister. Mara wakes up in the hospital with no memory of what happened. In an attempt to make things easier for her, her family relocates to Florida. On her first day at school, she manages to make enemies with the queen bee and she draws the attention of handsome Noah Shaw. Starting a new school does not seem to be the solution though for nightmares and visions begin to plague Mara. To get the answers, Mara must remember what happened that night.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a paranormal suspense novel that succeeds in creating an atmosphere of menace. Mara's realistic visions and nightmares cause the reader to feel that fear and paranoia along with her. Mara is a mostly sympathetic character as she deals with grief, struggles to remember what happened, and tries to stay sane in the face of all that is going on. She has great support from her older brother Daniel and her parents clearly care about her even though her relationship with her mom is strained. I also liked that Mara is biracial  though that isn't a main plot point.

Noah Shaw at first appears to be a stock character from YA romance, the hottest guy in school who every girl wants to be with. He does have some depth and surprising secrets that make him more interesting. While Mara's chemistry with Noah really sizzles, he is not an entirely likeable love interest because of his past behavior. I may be in the minority on that opinion but I didn't like finding out how he treated girls in the past. To be fair, he doesn't behave that way with Mara though he can come across as a little too cocky for his own good. 

My favorite part of this book by far was the suspense. The visions really do add to the creepy feel  of the book. I was taken by surprise by the ending and though there are definitely things that weren't explained about Mara and Noah I am sure we will find out more in the sequel. 

Overall, I think The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a promising debut novel. The suspense keeps the pages turning while the unanswered questions and the explosive cliffhanger ending will leave readers eager for the next chapter. I would suggest this to fans of Wake by Lisa McMann.

Readalikes: Wake by Lisa McMann, the Touch series by Laurie Faria Stolarz, The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting, Clarity by Kim Harrington

Note: I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the Amazon Vine program in exchange for my honest review


  1. I've been wanting to read this for a while now since everyone keeps saying it's really good. I'm just sad because our library doesn't have it! Might just have to purchase it I guess. Thanks for the review. Glad to know that it's at least promising :)

  2. I totally agree about the suspense in the book, it was crazy! I loved that creepy feel the book had, it just made it even better. I can understand why you would be in the minority about Noah, and I totally agree about the way he treated his past girlfriends. I did like the relationship between Mara and Noah, but I didn't really start loving it until about halfway into the book.

    Gah, I'm rambling!

    Glad you enjoyed this! It's one of my favorites of the year!

  3. I've had this book on my shelf for awhile now and your review definitely has me excited. I could use a book with good suspense, but I'm not sure about this Noah character...hmm. I will have to make time to read this over the holidays. Great review!

  4. Great review, Christina! Hmm, I'm not to sure I'd like Noah, but the suspense sounds awesome (I love suspense). I'll have to see if my library got this one in, it sounds like an overall good book to check out :)


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