Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Release date: March 1st 2012 (first published September 2011)
Paperback, 452 pages.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Source: Received from publisher for review.
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.
Complex, creepy and all consuming, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin is a multi-layered mystery of mind bending-proportions, and while it’s a book that left me totally dazed and confused, playing on my mind and creeping me out for days after I’d finished it, I can safely say that I loved every minute of this wonderfully accomplished debut.
Who is Mara Dyer?
Well, here’s what we know. We know that Mara survived an accident which killed her boyfriend and her two friends. We don’t really know what happened, because Mara doesn’t remember the details of the night when they died, but we know that she’s haunted by their deaths and plagued by memories of them. When we meet Mara she’s about to move to a new city. She needs to start over, but her new start is impossible, because she can’t escape her past. She can’t escape the night that her friends died…
And that’s all I’m saying, because you don’t need to know anything else about this one. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is like nothing I’ve ever read before, and it truly is best read without knowing too many details. Also, I might as well admit, that despite a whole lot of theorising, I’m not sure if I know what the hell is going on with Mara Dyer. I’m not entirely sure what happened to Mara or why, or how, but I can tell you that I had a whole lot of fun guessing. This book kind of reminded me of my reaction to Twin Peaks first time I watched it when I was way too young to understand any of it. Back then I didn’t know what was happening in that show for the most part, but still, I loved every second of it. I felt the same way about this book.
Since I am a theories person, and since this book demands speculation on what is happening in Mara’s world, I’ll share some of mine, just so you can see how thrown I was with this book. I’d love to hear your theories too, but try to keep them spoiler free (I had a whole lot of better theories than posted here that I couldn’t share in case of spoilers). I still have plenty to go round, though. I considered everything from time travel to alternate universes to doppelgangers. Heck, I think I may have thrown aliens into the mix at one point. None of my theories ever quite added up, though. Every time I thought I had things figured out, Hodkin would set me off course again with those clever plot twists of hers.
While I loved The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, I can understand the mixed reviews I’ve read too. This is going to be a book that will evoke strong reactions from people, and it’s one that you’ll either love or hate. I can see why people might be frustrated by the lack of resolution here and by all the unanswered questions throughout the book. For me, that was part of the fun, although if things aren’t explained in the next book, I may not be as enthralled as I am right now. I did think the ending of this one was pretty awesome, though! Holy cliffhanger!
Guess what else held me in thrall to this book? The boy, of course! I totally lost my heart to Noah Shaw. If you love Adrian Ivashkov from Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series, then you will fall hard for Noah Shaw. He’s all sexy and disheveled in that kind of Adrian way, with his bad habits and his general bad boy ways. And his British accent, and his wonderful way with words, and the way he wears his clothes, and the way he styles his hair, and….I found him utterly irresistible. Couldn’t get enough. I always fall for those types.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is dark, haunting, atmospheric and eerie. You may not even think so while you’re reading it but it will play on your mind for a while after you’ve finished, and you may have nightmares about creepy bathtubs and scary mirrors. I was also further intrigued when I read an interview with Michelle Hodkin where she mentioned the story was based on real events, with Mara inspired by a real life girl. I would so love to know more about the story behind the story!
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is, in my opinion, a total must read, and I can’t wait to read the sequel The Evolution of Mara Dyer, publishing in October 2012. I’m counting down the days already!