Saturday 9 August 2014

REVIEW: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkin

Rating: ★★

Genre: Young-Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Mara Dyer loses her best friend, boyfriend and his sister all in the one night; out late exploring an abandoned building when it all collapses and only Mara escapes alive. Her family uproot and move away to give Mara a fresh start away from all of her tainted memories.

Suffering with PTSD and dealing with hallucinations and nightmares, Mara slowly regains memory of the dreadful night, piece by piece. She also faces the traumas that are associated with starting at a new school; automatically sticking out without a uniform and then the "Queen Bee", Anna, targets her from the beginning and makes life worse for her.

Noah Shaw enters Mara's life and she can't help but fall under his spell. He is more than just a love interest for her however, as she soon realises he has more in common with her than she originally suspected. Mara has the ability to kill people with her mind, and Noah helps her with her journey in discovering her power and dealing with her daily flashbacks and fears.

My Thoughts:
This was a book I had been wanting to read for a good 2 years before I got the chance to. The blurb published doesn't really give much of the story away, but still the mystery suggested really drew me in;

"Mara Dyer doesn’t think 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 mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

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

She’s wrong."

I'll start with the fact that I loved the paranormal element to this novel. Mara was such an intriguing character and her power was a subtle yet distinctive one. She kills with her mind, and in a graphic manner and I loved how serious and detrimental her power was. 

And then there's Noah... woahhhh. I generally roll my eyes at the cocky confident "man-whore" of the novel who is so sure he'll "get the girl" from the beginning. He just has an air about him that is so enticing and definitely is up there in the top 5 book boyfriends. He too has some mind powers which is really cool and I loved how he had a back story that we slowly uncovered. The romance was a lovely, albeit heated, slow-built affair that was gorgeous to read.

There's also a great underlying sense of eeriness throughout the novel. Mara's nightmares cause a chill down the spine and the events towards the end of the book involving Mara's younger brother, really sets in the level of danger throughout. It's a dark story but one that's captivating rather than disturbing. 

It also ended on a major cliffhanger so I will definitely be reading the subsequent novels in this series. 

I spent a good while trying to decide between 4 or 5 stars for this book. Although I loved it a lot, there were some things that I didn't quite connect with. There were some actions from the characters that didn't seem to be in character to how they were portrayed previously. I also felt Jamie was significantly under-developed and would have loved some more building with his character so we could properly connect. Some vital scenes/events in the book weren't depicted in the best manner and I felt I often had to back-track to ensure I understood what was happening or if I was picking up on something suggested that actually wasn't. 

Overall; I definitely recommend this book, definitely to young-adults but I'd say new adults would easily enjoy this. Has an intriguing mix of paranormal with such a mind-blowing culmination and I look forward to the rest of the series.