Monday, September 12, 2011

Review and Giveaway: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
~Michelle Hodkin

Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publish Date: September 27, 2011
ISBN-10: 1442421762
ISBN-13: 978-1442421769 
ASIN: B004IK988I
  • From the author's website:
  • 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.
Mara Dyer wakes up in the hospital and can't remember how she got there.  Her parents tell her she was in an accident and the three friends she was with didn't survive. They weren't in a car accident though, they were in an abandoned building and it collapsed.  Mara begs her parents to move:  she doesn't want to be around the memories of her dead friends when she can't even remember what happened.

The family moves to Florida, and Mara and her older brother Daniel are enrolled in a fancy private school: Mara's a junior, Daniel's a senior.  Mara immediately begins having hallucinations - her class is  the building where her friends died, when she looks in the mirror she doesn't see her own reflection, she sees her dead friends.  She's having a hard time dealing with the hallucinations, and the snooty students aren't very welcoming either.  As if that wasn't enough, people are dying and she thinks it's her fault but she doesn't know how or why. Top it all off with nightmares of the night of the accident and Mara is having a very difficult time acting normal.

Then Mara meets Noah - he's gorgeous, British, and popular, and he seems to be interested in Mara.  Mara doesn't want to be interested in Noah, but he's very persistent. Once she decides to confide in him, together they try to unravel what's been happening to Mara.

My thoughts:
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer left me feeling unbalanced and off-center the entire time I was reading.  The hallucinations, the mysterious deaths, and the nightmares all make for a dark but riveting story.  There's much more going on that I can possibly include without spoilers - Mara's father is involved in a court case involving a young girl who was murdered, Mara's injury during one of her hallucinations miraculously heals, she's missing large gaps of time, and her nightmares slowly reveal the events of the night of the accident.

During all the strangeness though, a sweet love story develops between Mara and Noah.  I like how instead of continuing to close herself off, Mara accepts help from Noah. I hate it when characters refuse to accept help even though they need it, and Mara definitely needs it.  I enjoyed the tension between Mara and Noah - the flirting and lightness that randomly erupts between them is a nice counterpoint to the darkness of Mara's dreams and hallucinations.

There are a few loose ends:  There are two surprises at the end of the story; the one at the very end left me with a few questions about the motivation of certain characters that I can't go into without spoilers.  The reveal near the end leads me to wonder if this book is a stand-alone or if it's the first in a series - the ending is open for either.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a deliciously dark treat for the imagination by debut author Michelle Hodkin.  Once I started reading I did not want to put it down - I will definitely be keeping an eye on this author in the future.

 My Rating:

The Giveaway:
I am giving away my personal ARC of THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER.  To enter, leave a meaningful comment about the book or the review.  Must be a GFC follower, extra entry for tweeting about this contest (must include link).  Open to everyone, ends September 26.  Caught in a FAB Romance is not responsible for books lost or damaged in the mail.

Book received from the publisher at ALA.


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