The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer Review

Saturday, October 25, 2014

I'm just going to go right into this and say that this is one of those books that just left me feeling very confused. Not in a bad way, don't get me wrong! Just confused. I started this book yesterday afternoon and put it down at night, only to keep thinking about the characters and the interesting story line that accompanies them. I'm surprised that I haven't heard more about this book because it's honestly one of the most interesting and "different" Young Adult books that I've picked up in a while. It's very "Stephen King-esque" and like I mentioned in my Goodreads Review, specifically about Stephen King it reminded me of Carrie. I've never read Carrie, only seen the recent movie adaptation, but while reading The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, there was a passage that mentioned the prom scene from Carrie and that comparison has been stuck in my head ever since.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin centers around Mara Dyer, a young 17-year-old girl who has recently moved from Rhode Island to Miami, Florida after a horrific accident that occurred to Mara and her other three friends. Being the lone survivor of this tragedy, Mara has no recollections of what or how everything occurred, and begins to experience symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). Her family thus decides to relocate and move away to help get some closure and heal from the past. Except everything that Mara is moving away from seems to be catching up to her, to the point where she starts seeing things...and people. She starts experiencing things that aren't normal, and begins to hallucinate. She so desperately wants to remember what happened that night with Jude, Rachel, and Claire but all she gets are more visions and strange occurrences. Moving to a new school and trying to make friends are enough stress as it is, when the most attractive and dangerous guy at school, Noah, starts grabbing her attention. Things are never what they seem to be, and this is especially true for Mara. She needs to figure out what is going on with her, and figure out if she is in fact going crazy after all...

Before I began reading this I thought this was just a book about an unreliable narrator with PTSD, and yes, even though a lot of the things you read may or may not be true, this goes way beyond stress and trauma. I'm not sure how I would describe the overall plot line to people because it really is strange; the best way I can think of to sum it up is as a dark, and haunting, mystical Young Adult book. It's paranormal fantasy intertwined with reality. I'm telling you this is really different from anything I've read before, which is why I really enjoyed it! It definitely has some creepy scenes in it and after I took a break from reading it, I began to think about everything that was happening to Mara and I'm not going to lie, it freaked me out. I would say this is a great October read because it has some horror/suspenseful scenes, and keeps you on your toes with the eeriness of it all!

*WARNING: Spoilers ahead, if you have not read the book do not read on!

I keep saying my overwhelming reaction to this book is confused, because that's how I still feel after being finished and reading other reviews! Sometimes books give you hints as to the real motive for things happening, but I never really got anything as to what is happening to Mara or why. Is she possessed? Did she get some sort of evil spirit while at the asylum that night, that just latched on to her because she was on the verge of being raped and that saved her? That's what I'm leaning to mostly. It would explain why she can heal so quickly and why she blacks out during her "scenes." Also, that would explain the whole situation with the "priest" and the Hispanic "santeria" aspect that the author incorporated.

One thing thing that I didn't really like about the book was how fast Mara fell in love with Noah. It seemed so sudden- even after I found out that Noah had been hearing Mara's voice for the past few months it just didn't add up. It felt a lot like instalove to me. And the fact that Noah has powers too? I called that! I also called that Mara was the one that was going to somehow manage to shoot her father. Totally saw that happening. What I didn't see happening was Jude being alive! I mean WHAT?! I could not believe it. Does that mean that the visions of him that Mara had were real? Did he somehow manage to force her hand in the hot water, burning her? But why doesn't Mara realize these things?! Also, is it a coincidence that Jude's sister, Claire, was really fascinated with ghosts and spirits and somehow managed to get close to Rachel but not to Mara? Hmmm...coincidences?

I just want answers! Or hints. Something. Are there clues that I'm not aware of? Sometimes I had to go back and re-read certain passages that I just didn't understand what or when things were happening. Another thing that I didn't really like was that the second half of the book, where Mara's memory comes back to her, seemed to go by really quick. It was sort of written very rapidly and things sped up so quickly from there that I found it unrealistic and hard to keep up with. From the Everglades scene and forward I was just so confused. Mara was acknowledging the things that were happening to her without really questioning them. You really seem to just be living and going through this book through Mara's head, which is really difficult at times because she's a very confused and strained character. She is kept in the dark from various things throughout the book, so when you become aware of something it's at the same time she is- and this girl is pretty much unaware of a lot of things.

I really enjoyed this book because it was, again, so different. I felt like I was warped to another world- something dark and twisted where answers await for you in the shadows. If that makes sense? I've heard that the second book in the trilogy is even better so I can't wait to read it! Have you read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer? If so, what did you think? Let me know and share your thoughts! Happy reading :)

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