Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Series: Mara Dyer, #1
Publisher: Simon Pulse UK
Release Date: September 27th 2011
Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger. She wakes from a coma in hospital with no memory of how she got there or of the bizarre accident that caused the deaths of her best friends and her boyfriend, yet left her mysteriously unharmed. The doctors suggest that starting over in a new city, a new school, would be good for her and just to let the memories gradually come back on their own.
But Mara’s new start is anything but comforting. She sees the faces of her dead friends everywhere, and when she suddenly begins to see other people’s deaths right before they happen, Mara wonders whether she’s going crazy! And if dealing with all this wasn’t enough, Noah Shaw, the most beautiful boy she has ever seen can’t seem to leave her alone…but as her life unravels around her, Mara can’t help but wonder if Noah has another agenda altogether…
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
I’d heard so much about the Mara Dyer trilogy before actually picking up the first book. Going into The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer my expectations were sky high, and unfortunately this book did not live up to them. Don’t get me wrong I thought it was a great book; I loved Mara from the beginning and warmed to Noah about halfway through. However while the story started off really strong the middle slowed down way too much for my liking. Luckily the end picked up again and I’m looking forwards to reading the second book to carry on with this trilogy, but I guess my expectations were a little too high.
After waking up in hospital with no memory of how she ended up there Mara discovers that her best friend, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s sister were all killed when the asylum the four of them were in collapsed. Mara is the only survivor and somehow walked away with only the faintest bruises and scratches. Unable to handle going to classes and living in the same home where there are so many memories of her best friend Mara begs her family to move, and that’s how she ends up in Florida and how she winds up meeting Noah Shaw.
Despite not being able to remember anything from that night Mara suffers from PTSD. She sees Rachel’s and Claire’s faces in the mirror instead of her own, and sees Jude and hears his voice while she’s at school. Mara is struggling to hold it together and, unable to really reach out to anyone in her family who still treat her like a fragile doll, she hides everything deep down where no one can see it.
But then the bodies start dropping. People whom Mara imagined dying turn up dead, and with her hallucinations getting worse and worse Mara is forced to turn to the only person she feels she can trust, and the only person who could possibly believe her wild stories; Noah.
While the plot was slow in places I loved the concept. After the accident Mara isn’t sure what is real and what isn’t, what parts actually happened to her and what parts are her mind playing tricks. There were some very creepy parts to this book and the fact that Mara is a unreliable narrator, so to say, makes it all the more interesting to read.
Mara is struggling after what happened to her best friend. She shuts herself off from her family and wants to put it all behind her, but at the same time she needs to remember what happened that night at the asylum that led to the deaths of Rachel, Claire and Jude. I really liked Mara’s determination in this book; she doesn’t know what she may find out but she knows she needs answers. She isn’t sure what is real and what isn’t anymore, and the hallucinations are playing on her mind and affecting her families lives as well. Mara wants to get better, she doesn’t want to be put in a facility but she has no clue how to act normal when she doesn’t know what normal is anymore.
Noah was a character I didn’t really get at first. I think the author wanted to make him mysterious but in my mind that kind of backfired and he seemed to be one massive trope in the form of a character. However about halfway though, when he starts interacting with Mara more and starts reaching out to her and sharing his own secrets, he becomes much more fleshed out and I was able to enjoy reading and discovering more about him. Noah has his own secrets, but at the same time he is like the light to Mara’s darkness, the two complement each other in a way and lean on one another for help.
The relationship between Mara and Noah was about need. There is something more driving them together but at first it is about how they need one another. There is something more about Mara Noah needs the answer to, and at the same time there is something Noah can offer that no one else Mara surrounds herself with can.
Although they try to help her there is a lot Mara’s family just don’t understand. I really enjoyed the family dynamic, especially between Mara and her mother – a relationship that is strained by the almost overbearing concern Mara’s mother feels for her daughter after the accident, mixed with the secrets Mara is keeping – and between Mara and her older brother – her best friend and partner in crime.
Despite the slow middle there was a lot about this book I enjoyed, and the ending left me desperate to get my hands on the next one to continue this story and discover more about just what is happening to both Mara and Noah.
What did you think of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.