Monday, January 16, 2012

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Paranormal Romance
Release Date(Australia):
RRP: $16.99
Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger. She wakes from a coma in hospital with no memory of how she got there or of the bizarre accident that caused the deaths of her best friends and her boyfriend, yet left her mysteriously unharmed. The doctors suggest that starting over in a new city, a new school, would be good for her and just to let the memories gradually come back on their own. But Mara's new start is anything but comforting. She sees the faces of her dead friends everywhere, and when she suddenly begins to see other people's deaths right before they happen, Mara wonders whether she's going crazy! And if dealing with all this wasn't enough, Noah Shaw, the most beautiful boy she has ever seen can't seem to leave her alone… but as her life unravels around her, Mara can't help but wonder if Noah has another agenda altogether…

I didn't really know what to expect with this book. There were people going on and on about how awesome it was and other people were complaining that there was something off about the romance between the two main characters. I guess I thought it was going to be sort of 'Hunting lila'-ish. Even after reading it I remain confused...

I understand where the complainers were coming from. Mara and Noah were an unlikely match and he did have a very very bad reputation. I think they went ok together. The dialogue between them was hilarious as was the love hate relationship, but I just wished they had talked a little more about his past. There were all these rumours about what he had been doing with other girls and I felt uneasy for Mara.

Speaking of Mara I also noticed that a few people didn't really like her. I thought she was pretty cool. She was snarkier and edgier than most paranormal romance protagonists. She also scared me a bit. I was positioned to like her, but some times I felt like I didn't want to. What was she capable of? She was also a really unpredictable main character.

One thing I wasn't expecting from this novel was to get scared. In most paranormal romances I expect to feel a little bit of a thrill because of this somewhat scary guy who was acting all tender mere seconds ago, but this book was actually kinda scary. Not all the way through though... I guess it was sort of mental scary. I was scared that she was going to do something crazy or that she was crazy. This is BTW coming from someone who couldn't even get half way through 'Jeepers Creepers'. So if you scare easily I don't suggest reading this. However, having said that, I did continue to read it because of the funny dialogue and I actually enjoyed this novel.

I thought the minor characters in this book were very realistic. I didn't always agree with them, but I thought they acted just the way they should. The characters also had their own little back stories. This book was definitely not a 2D paranormal romance. I also thought that Mara's peers were very accurate. Many authors seem to discard the possibility that a character could be Bi, let alone create that character as a friend to the main character. I also thought the way the characters (especially at school) talked to each other was very realistic. Some authors just don't realise how dirty some teenagers talk. While I think these things were realistic I did not particularly like them.

Overall, I don't know what to think. While I really liked the dialogue  and I thought the writing style was ace, I was kind of terrified at what was going to happen. This character was just a little bit too unstable for me. Also I couldn't really get into the romance. I did believe that the character's affection was real, but I just didn't feel it. I guess I will give it a 3.5 star rating? The whole book had me feeling really confused. With an ending like that I will probably still really want to read the sequel though... In a nutshell: Cute cover and interesting title. The story was interesting, but also strange.
Apparently there will be a sequel?

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Ms. McKellips said...

Great review! I've also heard the hype and wondered if it would be worth it. I don't mind a bit of scary as long as there's not alot of graphic sex or violence. Might just give it a try.

Italia said...

I absolutely loved this book. Mara doesn't remember how she got into the hospital and miraculously survived something that her friends did not. She is confused about her feelings and doesn't know how to handle herself. So she isolates herself from her family when they move to a new place to start over.