The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong. (Barnes and Noble)
I can sum up my feelings about this book in three words:
WHAT. THE. SHIZZ?
Okay, let me back up. The beginning of this book is SO good. Mara Dyer (pseudonym like Carolyne Keene only more murdery) is our narrator and she tells you flat-out that she may have possibly or accidentally on purpose killed a few people.
Only three. Don’t get all judgey.
So this is an awesome start, right? I was SO in.
Three months ago Mara awoke in a hospital to find that she’d been in a terrible accident. An old building collapsed with Mara, her boyfriend Jude, her frenemy Claire, and her BFF Rachel trapped inside. Mara is the only one who made it out alive. She has no memory of the incident, why she was in that building or how she got there in the middle of the night. All she knows is that her friends are dead.
I know, right? Still totally good.
Mara’s family moves to Miami to get away. They’re hoping to help Mara escape her old life and make a fresh start. All that seems to happen is that the nightmares that have plagued her since the accident somehow seem to spill over into her waking life. She sees Claire. She sees Jude–and they don’t seem happy with her. They appear out of nowhere, along with other hallucinations, making her feel totally cray cray.
Enter oh obvious one—the hot, accented guy with tousled hair and a strange interest in Mara. And of course she hates him. It’s like a requirement. Noah (Oh Hot One) is just your basic manwhore. And every girl wants him except the one who intrigues him most. So…witty banter, witty banter, accent, sexual tension, flirting, flirting, hair tousling and voila! A relationship unfolds. And I’m still okay with all of this. I even thought some of the moments with Noah and Mara were good. The romance is a bit predictable, but I’m alright with this because Noah has a British accent. That gives him, despite his slight sleaziness, an in in my book (I’m so shallow). Also, as much as I wanted to dislike him, he had some sweet moments.
Here’s where things get weird. Mara has some odd abilities (if you want to call them that). And the hallucinations and the nightmares are getting more intense as her memory of that awful night is slowly returning. And it’s not good. Houston, we definitely have a problem.
My main gripe at this point was that I felt like I was always doing one of two things:
1. Reading a tension-filled romantic scene between Noah and Mara (they are aplenty) or…
2. Going W T H ??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seriously, I dare you to read this book and not utter that phrase once. There are some great creepy scenes and some funny parts, but there is no real explanation for anything (other than psychosis or PTSD, when you know it isn’t that. How lame would that be?). On top of all that there is some really crazy business involving alligators.
Oh you read that right. Alligators. And spiders.
At this point I was lost and I felt I’d been taken on too many twists. At the same time I couldn’t put the book down because I was hoping it would all make sense in the end.
It didn’t. In fact the end just made it worse. It was a WTF sundae with a You Gotta Be Kidding Me on top. It wasn’t a cliffhanger. It was a ginormous HUH????
And then it was over, story to be continued in book two. That, to me, is so manipulative. A book, even in a series, should be a complete story. Even if someone goes missing (Peeta!) or if an old flame shows up (I can’t say where I recently read this but OMG!) or something completely shocking happens. The basic story should go somewhere. This one goes nowhere but in circles.
So, were there good things here? Yes.
Was there some crazy stuff? Hells yes.
What was missing was the explanation or a key to link the story together.
Crush Intensity: For the first portion 4/5. For the rest..um..2/5..maybe. I think there are people who are going to LOVE this book. And then there are people like me. People for whom all the kissing and British accents in the world cannot make up for the ending and all of the unanswered questions.
For another opinion, check out this review from Makeshift Bookmark. She liked it (and I love her blog).