By: Michelle Hodkin
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.
summary from goodreads.com
My Rating: 3/5
Excitement surrounding this book was and remains high in the book world as YA lovers everywhere were and remain drawn to the mysterious cover and ominous yet intriguing summary. I myself was drawn into the world of Mara Dyer for this exact reasoning and decided to give this novel a try, armed with expectant curiosity. And the verdict is: I enjoyed this novel. It is on the longer side but I was captivated enough to read it in a short period of time mainly because I needed to know what was going on. I wanted to understand what was occurring in Mara's life not to mention wrap my head around what the book summary was speaking on in a veiled sort of way. Like most books however there were things in this novel that were just okay for me. While the mystery and intrigue was present, there were other elements that I will touch upon in this review that didn't exactly speak to me.
I must say that the beginning of this book had me extremely excited. The prologue was one of the most intriguing of its kind that I had come across in a long while. That being said, I concluded the novel not knowing what the prolog had to do with much of anything. I was expectantly hoping that the closure of this book would touch upon what the prologue had been speaking on which it did not. Now I know Hodkin has this planned as a series so I may find the answer in latter novels to come but even so, I wish there would have been some touching upon what was being described in that opening.
I had hoped that The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer would be more about Mara and what was happening to her and less about...other things. To be more specific, the romance element in this novel threw me and didn't leave me feeling much of anything favorable. I understand fully that romance sells in any genre and for the most part I am a huge fan of subplots such as these. Relationships are a key and integral part of human life, especially teenaged life and so it makes sense that incorporating Noah and having him serve not only as a prominent character but also a largely prominent subplot would make sense. That being said, it was all just too familiar for me. By this I specifically mean that male lead characters who double as romantic interests for female protagonists have become characteristically the same. After having read so many books, especially those that incorporates a paranormal element most of the male characters have it seems, morphed into this very familiar archetype. I realize now that I'm always more drawn to male characters in contemporary YA and left rather disappointed by those in other sub genres. There wasn't anything wrong with Noah per say except for the fact that he was like so many before him and exhibited traits that now can be identified as cliche. He was your typical gorgeous bad boy who's really not so bad when you get to know him sort of thing. Rude and at times manipulative of others yet for some reason completely different with Mara. I found myself trudging through the largely dominated Noah parts of the novel and wishing that things would revert back to Mara and her life as opposed to Noah, Noah, and more Noah.
What I did enjoy and appreciate was the paranormal tinge of this novel as it was different and somewhat unexpected. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure what was going on with Mara for a large duration of the novel. I also enjoyed the somewhat normal and contemporary setting and elements contained within the novel. This is probably because I am a huge contemporary literature fan so I appreciated the normalcy as it provided a nice balance and brought something different to paranormal. Also, Mara has parents! They are not on vacation nor are they dead or absent or neglectful. They exist fully and truly which was also a nice change.
Overall: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was fun to read. The ending provided quite the cliffhanger and will most likely guarantee that I will be picking up the second installment of this series. I do want to know what happens next even though some parts of the novel disappointed. Mainly, my problem is Noah and the author's-as well as Mara's-profound focus on him which will likely be a favoured element by many readers.