Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Moving on after the death of your best friend is hard. Wondering if there is more to her death than what you’ve been told is harder. Not being able to remember anything about the accident that caused her death and only you survived is the hardest. Until falling in love adds itself to the equation. Life as Mara Dyer is nearly impossible. It gets even harder once Mara starts to remember. Or is she just losing her mind?
This book is hard to summarize. I don’t want to give away too much in my description, so I am stating the bare minimum. The story is definitely engrossing, and it grabs your attention on the first page. The story begins with Mara waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there or what happened. She discovers that she was in an accident; an accident that killed three of her friends, including her best friend since childhood. Mara’s world spins out of control, so her family sacrifices everything to move and start over. It is at her new school that Mara meets Noah, a bad-boy she is inexplicably attracted to, despite the warnings of her new friend, Jamie. But Mara is still dealing with the aftermath of the accident and getting close to someone is something she is not sure she can do.
I really expected a lot from this book, so many people have given it phenomenal reviews. It was definitely good, but in my opinion, not “5-star” good. So, I’d like to address a couple of the obvious things I noticed. Best friend who is always there for her (Jamie) versus the bad boy loner no one really knows (Noah). Hmmmm? I was sure Mara was going to give us a love triangle reminiscent of the Edward/Bella/Jacob love triangle. It was similar, though not exactly the same. And Noah, well, his description reminds me of a certain handsome, scruffy-faced, bed-headed British actor who plays my favorite vampire. Every time Hodkins described him that is who I pictured. Seems a little coincidental to me. There were some confusing time jumps also, due to the problems Mara was having. While I understand they may have been necessary to the story, the confusion they caused might have been too much. A little explanation goes a long way. That being said, it was a good story, very original. Despite (or maybe because of) the similarities I noted, I really liked Noah. He was adorable, vulnerable, misunderstood and broken. You just want to fix him. And I also liked Mara’s family, especially her older brother. I liked this book, though I didn’t really like the ending. Was that a cliffhanger? Is there a sequel? So many questions left unanswered.
Overall, this is a very readable book. I would recommend it to high-school-aged teens, I think the language is a bit strong for the junior high set.
My grade for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer: