Author: Michelle Hodkin
Publication Date: 09/27/2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: ARC (Once Upon a Twlight ARC Tour)
Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
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.
What would you do if you had to piece your memory together fragment by fragment? That's a question Mara Dyer wonders on a daily basis. Mara wakes up in the hospital after an accident she has no recollection of and that's when it begins: the familiar voices, the faces that can't possibly be there. Hoping that moving from the area - and the change of scenery - will provide some measure of help, the Dyer family moves to Miami. The visions, if anything, progress, and as Mara starts to question her grasp on reality she finds an anchor in someone wrapped up in a mystery of their own. And this is just the beginning.While there is so much hype for this book, I can safely say it will be nothing like you could expect. From page one The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer took me on a ride where it was impossible to guess what was coming up and the twist and turns were thrilling not only for the reader, but for the characters themselves as they found out at the same time each new piece of information. You might never guess that this is Michelle Hodkin's debut work as everything about it is so exquisitely crafted from cover to cover: the supporting characters (especially Mara's family), the pacing and setting of each scene that offered just the right amount of information in the proper places to keep the flow on point, and especially the suspense. It's safe to say that I had no clue what to expect, but that in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the story and when it ended it left my mind reeling almost if I had just experienced everything as Mara. In fact, Michelle made that lack of information work beautifully in her and Mara's favor, and even as I read I found myself stunned by how well everything was laid out.
I had heard a lot about the (in)famous Noah Shaw before I'd read the book and suffice to say I was curious as to what this mystery boy offered that made everyone fall in love with him. Well, I found out. Noah isn't perfect. He's arrogant and occasionally smarmy and outrageous in so many ways. He flits about in such a manner that creates buzz without the aid of the gossip mill. And yet, unlike a lot of recent YA male interests, these potentially unappealing characteristics are not what make Noah interesting. What made Noah work for me is that he took all of these traits and wrapped them around him and made them into a ruse all his own. That Mara was able to peel each layer back like an onion and slowly figure out exactly what his story was and why he acts the way he does was a huge part of it. Noah Shaw is perhaps the most realistic of male teenage characters that I've read in a YA novel in a long time and this, above all, makes him stand out. The fact that Mara and Noah balance each other out so perfectly and on stand such equal footing (and respect each other) was just icing on top of the cake.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is not just something you read, but it's something you fall into. It's a puzzle that you won't have all of the pieces to until the very end and then it all falls into place. At the very end I found myself flipping back pages and chapters and figuring out where earlier passages, seemingly innocuous, quietly hinted at things to come. That's not to say that everything is wrapped up prettily at the end; there's a mystery even then and, still, after almost 500 pages you're left wanting to know more about these characters in the best possible way. This is a book that you do not want to have to wait to read, and my discussion of it barely scratches the surface as a nod to each reader who has yet to take Mara's journey. (And, yes, it is a journey you definitely want to take.)
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