Monday, November 28, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

There was a lot of buzz going on about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer from first time author Michelle Hodkin. After reading a bit about the character Mara and finding out she is a young girl who is the only one of her friends to survive a terrible accident and has lost all memory of it I was intrigued to see what Mara Dyer was all about. Even though a character going through the process of amnesia is a common tale, something about the title drew me in.

Mara Dyer has woken up in a hospital room finding that she is the only one to survive a deathly accident, she has lost all of her friends in the amount of time it takes to blink and can’t even remember how or why. After attending the funerals she asks for her family’s help in relocating to Florida. She is now the new girl at a prestigious academy and is already hated by the queen bee simply because Noah, the guy that every girl wants but can’t seem to tie down has eyes for Mara. Mara wanting to just get through the rest of the school year has to deal with Noah’s persistence, her family constantly worried for her, the high profile murder trial that her dad has taken on plus those pesky hallucinations she sees of her dead friends and that new people seem to be dying around her.

While reading about Mara I constantly felt sorry for her. She is always on the brink of questioning reality and crazy. I think everyone has had a bad thought of an enemy, it’s human nature but Mara’s character goes one step further and actually acts on it, using a supernatural ability, but without any control or knowledge of it. As the daughter of two successful parents she wants to keep up the idea that she is coping with the death of her friends. But her hallucinations and actual conversations with her deceased friends have her second-guessing her sanity. In a nutshell she is an average girl who knew exactly who she was but now has to deal with whom she was really escaping.

Noah is likeable but still the typical teen boy love interest in the book. I guess the only way he differs from most characters like him is that he is able to flirt with Mara without actually doing anything. Weird I know but you’ll have to read it to see what I mean. Noah has his own secrets that I did not see coming. His story gives the book a spin and he is able to take a break from his usual cockiness and be the hero, and encouragement that Mara’s family needs.

One of my favorite aspects of the book was a look into family. Mara’s family was the real entertainment for me. Her parents, older brother Daniel and younger brother Joseph often have kitchen discussions that reveal how bonded they are. All three kids are intelligent and yet they don’t seem pretentious. It’s not thrown in your face and makes the family likable. Daniel is probably my favorite character because he is seen as super big brother when it comes to Mara. I also liked that author Michelle Hodkin laced the matter of bullying into the story and what it might be like for a teen today. Let’s face it, bullying has gone up one hundred levels and is not seen as something that is just a phase in life but more of a life altering matter. As confident as Mara seems she still has to go through a few matters of bullying along with her friend Jamie.

I will definitely be reading the second book in the series. Unbecoming had a very unexpected ending, and I can’t wait to see what Mara will do next. I have a feeling she will go through a dark stage just because of this ending, and with a power like hers it will be something that will be challenging to read about, especially with a likable character like Mara. This book is filled with mystery after mystery. Those nagging questions that must answered at the last second taking the reader from point “A” to a very twisted point “B”. If you like a tooth sinking mystery and a book that just keeps you guessing to the point of desperation that I recommend The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. It is a common tale of amnesia that has an ending that will have high expectations of this reader.    

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