Thursday, 2 April 2015

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (The Mara Dyer Series #1) - Review

Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkim
Genre: YA Paranormal/Thriller
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books
Published in: 27th September 2011
Content warning: Mild gore, mental illness, deaths
Format: E-book
Source: Bought
My Rating:  
Mara Dyer believes life can't 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 strangely unharmed.
There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
She's wrong.
     Wanted to squeeze in one more review before officially starting my MoI series marathon. Felt like I need the practice and experimenting more with different posting formats. I did not expect to start this book so soon, as it was on my radar just last month. Also, I'm not a huge dark paranormal fan, so I tend to put these kind of books off for a long time. Anyway, I managed to start and even finish it, so am quite glad about the change in my usual reading pattern :)

My howl:

     The first thing I like about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is definitely the synopsis: Vague but with its level of intrigue maintained. (Except that little mentioning of romance, which just TELLS YOU that it is going to be a big thing in the story). This is my favourite type of synopsis. It gives away about 1% of the premise of the book, or about the character that does not ruin anything about the plot and you just have to go into it knowing nothing else (unless if you have spoilt it for yourself of course but WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT D:).

     Mara Dyer, our main protagonist, suffers from the trauma of a tragic accident that killed all of her friends involved, leaving her as the sole survivor. She came out of the hospital still mentally unstable, unable to recall the details of the accident and constantly experiencing hallucinations and nightmares. Even after uprooting and moving to a whole new place together with her family, her condition does not seem to get better.

     The first quarter/half-ish of the book was rather dark and psychological. Mara's hallucinations were creepy and skin-crawling, and it happened so frequently it made me question whether they were indeed just mere hallucinations. It was definitely implied that there was something supernatural going on, or there were unknown forces working around Mara, but it was hard to guess whether these paranormal incidents stemmed from her mind or were they actually happening. Mara's internal monologue was brilliantly haunting and her struggles with her sanity were raw and gritty. She was halso quite willing to get professional help for her seemingly aggravating mental condition, or rather, she was more accepting of it compared to other brooding teenagers whose pituitary glands were made of rebellion and drama. The whole time I was anxiously waiting for the mystery around Mara to unravel, and when it finally did,  I was mouthing "No way's" and "For realsies'" a few times at least.

     After the first one hundred pages, the paranormal storyline gets taken over by the romance. I did not care for it, seeing that it has been done in other books so many times. All teen/ya authors need ban the use of "moving-to-a-new-school-and-hooking-up-with-the-popular-boy-after" trope already. There is only so much of a good thing being used over and over again I can handle, like that Frozen song with a name I refuse to type out. I felt like it did not serve any purpose other than as fillers for the plot and the pacing slowed down drastically because of it. AND THE FUNNIEST AND MOST RANDOM THING OF ALL IS, that the love interest has an all posh and supposedly sexy BRITISH ACCENT. Okay, I understood where the author was coming from. She wanted him to be someone absolutely no one could resist. But he didn't even SOUND British. His English origins were never clearly explained. The whole time I was reading his lines imagining the accent but I couldn't go three words without doubling over with laughter. JUST THE RANDOMNESS OF IT OMG.

     I give The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer 3/5 stars. My initial rating of the book was 4 stars but honestly, I know there are better-written paranormal books with romance subplots out there that deserve it more. The thriller/paranormal aspects had a lot of potential that was unfortunately overlooked and overshadowed by the romance. However, I am still interested in continuing the series because the last section of the book diverged back into the main storyline and salvaged itself with a nice cliff-hanger ending.


  1. Wow this is one of the lower star ratings I have seen of this book. I'm glad you enjoyed it though. I am a little ashamed to admit that I still haven't read this one!

    Great Review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

  2. jothebookhowler3 April 2015 at 13:09

    Thank you Michelle!

    Yes, I was surprised as well because I've heard so many great things about this book. But I really do feel that there are better books out there :) Maybe the sequel is gonna be better! *fingers crossed*