Monday, August 8, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Hardcover: 450 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (September 27, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1442421762
ISBN-13: 978-1442421769

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.

Review:

Do you know what's it's like to have your sense of reality questioned? To face such trauma that after a while, you ask yourself, "Am I dreaming or awake right now?" Honestly, that was the feeling I felt as I was reading The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. It's one of those books that you think is going to be kept hush, hush so everyone in the world can read it and not be spoiled. So everyone in the world can individually have their minds blown without any preparation as to what the contents in this book will do to them. I understand why the synopsis is so brief, they--being publishers--want to draw you in, peak your interest just enough so you could start the book. Then the author takes it from there. Hodkin puts this spell on you as you're reading, just a taste of one to keep you entranced, and as you're sinking deeper into the depth of the pages...you're tested. Your mind is tested and you will ask yourself once you've finished, "Am I dreaming or awake right now?"

First of all, the relationship between Mara and Noah doesn't start as anything unique. Mind you, we have another rich boy, man-whore taking an interest in the new girl and you know they're going to end up together. But my goodness, the scathing remarks these two throw at each other was just wonderful to witness. I felt like I needed to keep a mental scoreboard just to keep up with who was ahead in the insult department.If I wasn't doing this review on an ARC of this book, I'd tell you every single one that stood out for me. They got so entangled into each other, emotionally and mentally, it was a definite thrill to see their connection become stronger and more meaningful as the story went on.  I also had three other favorite characters that I could not get enough of: Daniel, Joseph and Jamie. Out of all three Jamie had to be the most rounded because he had his sense of style, of being that I wasn't able to ignore, an in-your-face personality.

Another element I must mention, is that using my hometown as the setting for this book was absolutely brilliant. I am saying this somewhat subjectively but in the end, I thought it worked best to put a girl who grew up with snow and public schools in the polar opposite of an environment and see how she fared. Hodkin's writing style was what made the book's plot so addicting to read, so spell-binding that I had to lock myself in my room for hours on end till I was finished.

It starts as just another contemporary novel with a tragic twist that ends up turning the protagonist's life upside down. It didn't feel slow-going even though it was only after the first 270 or so pages that I started to get the feeling, no matter how many predictions I made I would never figure this book out until I read it the whole way through. I'd feel like my assumptions were set in stone, like there was no way I wrong about what was going on--because I'm smart like that--and the book would just taunt me with every surprise at every corner. In itself, those first 270 pages could have been the first book of the series and all that followed after it, book 2. Those first pages were well-developed and I would not have hesitated to buy the next book, but you don't know how ecstatic and a little insane I felt reading the last third of the thick book. Overall, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer made me feel crazy because seriously, what a cliffhanger.

Grade: A-

Source: Publisher

Random Nuggets:
--This is probably the only book I'll ever find where a guy had a valid reason for being a man-whore; and for those who have read already, do you think it was valid, too?
--Two questions for those have and haven't read this miraculous novel...what would you do if you could think someone's death and have it come true? And who would win in a guilt-contest, the one who did it or the one who couldn't stop it?

LiLi