Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer Author: Michelle Hodkin Published: September 2011 by Simon & Schuster Publishing Mara Dyer Series Book 1
Michelle Hodkin’s debut book, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, is one of the most intriguing reads we have come across. This story is filled with complexities and not easily categorized. Part paranormal, part teen thriller, and part romance; The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a story that will have you mystified right up until the last page. Days after finishing this book, I would find myself considering over the facts presented, trying to make sense of the obvious and ambiguous.
The novel begins with a mystery, our protagonist, Mara Dyer, informs the reader through a letter that she is using a pseudonym, for protection, both hers and yours. When we first met Mara, she is awaking in the hospital from a tragic accident, were she is the lone survivor. Without her memories leading up to the accident, she is lost and no amount of police questioning will bring about the story that lead to her best friend's and boyfriend’s death. Deciding that a fresh start might help Mara heal, her family, including two protective brothers, move to sunny Florida. But even with a change of location and a new school, Mara is still plagued by hallucinations, unable to determine what is real and what is in her mind. She does her best to stay under the radar, but attracts the attention of the class Casanova. Enter Noah Shaw, known for his legendary “panty dropping smile”, bed-head hair, and his British bad boy persona. Immediately attracted to the fragile, beguiling Mara Dyer, what ensues can only be described as providence and disaster rolled together. Mara is desperate to find out why she can’t remember and at the same time, trying to figure out which of her hallucinations are real before someone else gets hurt.
Mara is a complex character, one who you can’t quite put your finger on, even as you read the story from her point of view. Although she is troubled, she does not run from it, accepting her fate – whatever that may be. She is unsure of herself, but at the same time, holds herself accountable for everything she did and did not do. Her relationship with Noah was interesting to read and you cannot help put root for him when he finally gets her attention. Noah is easily one of the most crush-worthy guys in literary history. Maybe it is his use of British euphemisms or his bad-boy turned sweet boyfriend behavior, but he is definitely an appealing character. Mara’s brothers are nice secondary characters, supporting her when needed and covering for her at other times. They added a nice family dynamic to the book, making Mara considerably more agreeable.
This book leads up to an ending that is both shocking and mind-boggling. While many answers are reveled, just as many new questions emerge. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer has a well placed cliffhanger ending; casting doubt on all that you have come to think is true. The second installment of this series, The Evolution of Mara Dyer, is certain to bring both answer and more questions.