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Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Author: Michelle Hodkin

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Series: Mara Dyer (Book 1)

Publication Date: September 27, 2011

Format: Hardcover, 464 Pages

ISBN-10: 1442421762 (Simon & Schuster)

ISBN-13: 978-1442421769 (Simon & Schuster)

Reviewed by: Kayla

Synopsis:

Mara Dyer doesn’t believe 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 strangely unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

Quick and Dirty: A girl with PTSD struggles with moving to a new school after being the only survivor in a building collapse and falls for a boy she’s been warned will only use her.

Opening Sentence: The ornate script on the board twisted in the candlelight, making the letters and numbers dance in my head.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Mara Dyer has just moved to Florida after a building collapsed on her friends, leaving herself as the only survivor. Now she struggles with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and consistently imagines the accident in the middle of the day. And then she meets Noah, an obnoxious user that she’s been warned will hurt her. But there’s something different about Noah — and about herself that could change her entire future. With her father defending an accused murderer and her guilt over the accident rising, Mara’s convinced that something’s wrong with her. She’s also convinced Noah can’t possibly be as good as he seems.

Michelle Hodkin’s writing is absolutely witty and eloquent. She had me laughing at one point and creeped out at another. The swirling romance and scary conflict will keep you flipping the page and wanting more. Although there was strong language and some subjects NOT for little kids, I would recommend it to anyone mature enough to read it. It doesn’t get graphic, but some of the scenes are just plain creepy — the dreams of memories, hallucinations, etc. This book has the perfect blend of funny sarcasm and frightening recollections that make it a perfect all day read (beware: reading at night can cause nightmares — or fanciful dreams about Noah).

Mara Dyer is a completely messed up heroine (in a good way?). But her strength behind the PTSD is truly inspiring. Who can put up with seeing your classroom crack and crumble and the next moment it’s normal? Or seeing your dead friends in the mirror instead of your reflection? Her situation makes it hard for her to make friends (it doesn’t help that most students at her private school are exceptionally snobby). Her only friend, Jamie, is already a social pariah after threatening a student with Eboli. He’s the first to warn her about Noah, the jock who just uses girls and then throws them out.

Everyone knows Noah Shaw, and his reputation isn’t at all clean. Although he isn’t the user everyone calls him, Noah doesn’t disagree, keeping to himself. At first I wasn’t impressed or taken by Noah, he’s nothing special (besides the handsome and jocky-ness). But as the book goes on the depth of the character starts to show. He’s loyal (to Mara), witty, and has his own history to deal with.

The romance is the driving factor in the book. The paranormal characteristics are always in the background, but they really are apparent until the very end. Overall the book is very original, although it’s hard to get into until Mara actually meets Noah. It has definite potential with the cliffhanger ending, no spoilers! Go read the book yourself!

Notable Scene:

“Morning,” he said, his voice warm and rich. God help me.

“Morning,” I managed to reply, squinting. From the sun, or from staring at him for too long. Flip a coin.

“You need sunglasses,” he said.

I rubbed my eyes. “I know.”

Suddenly, he crouched down.

“What are you–”

In my rush, I hadn’t tied my shoelaces.

Noah was now tying them for me. He looked up at me through his dark fringe of lashes and smiled.

The expression on his face melted me completely. I knew I had the goofiest grin plastered on my lips, and didn’t care.

“There,” he said as he finished tying the laces on my left shoe. “Now you won’t fall.”

Too late.

The Mara Dyer Series:

1. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

2. The Evolution of Mara Dyer (October 23, 2012)

FTC Advisory: Simon & Schuster provided me with a copy of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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