Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

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.
After Mara survives the traumatizing accident at the old asylum, it makes sense that she has issues. She lost her best friend, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s sister, and as if that weren’t enough to cope with, her family moves to a new state in order to give her a fresh start. But that fresh start is quickly filled with hallucinations—or are they premonitions?—and then corpses, and the boundary between reality and nightmare is wavering. At school, there’s Noah, a devastatingly handsome charmer who seems determined to help Mara piece together what’s real, what’s imagined—and what’s very, very dangerous.
(Picture and Summary from Barnes& Noble) 

Wow, just WOW!  This book was spectacular!  I spent the entire time wondering if Mara was crazy, or haunted, or had superpowers.  It was a crazy ride that I didn't want to stop, not even at the end. (Which I won't have to since the next book is sitting on my shelf)
The book starts off with a letter from Mara,
My name is not Mara Dyer, but my lawyer told me I had to choose something.  A pseudonym.  A nom de plume, for all of us studying for the SATs.  I know that having a fake name is strange, but trust me - it's the most normal thing about my life right now.  Even telling you this much probably isn't smart. But without my big mouth, no one would know that a seventeen-year-old who likes Death Cab for Cutie was responsible for the murders.  No one would know that somewhere out there is a B student with a body count.  And it's important that you know, so you're not next.
     Rachel's birthday was the beginning.  This is what I remember.
'Mara Dyer'
Talk about confusing?!  So her name isn't really Mara? And why does she have a lawyer?  I still don't have the answers for those questions.

From there on we are left wondering what exactly happened, because Mara doesn't remember.  We know that somehow Mara's friends die in a building collapse.  We know that Mara survived.  Everything else is a mystery.  Mara is on the verge of a mental breakdown and her psychiatrist mom is one step from having her committed when she tells her parents that she thinks moving would be the best thing for her.  Her parents agree and the whole family moves to Florida.  Mara and her brothers Daniel and Joseph are enrolled into a private school where Mara meets Noah.  The book is a roller coaster of mysterious deaths, ghostly sightings, and general psychiatric breakdowns.  Mara has to watch every action and every admission she makes otherwise she will end up in a psychiatric hospital.  But maybe she belongs there... The closer you get to the end, the crazier it gets.
The book was excellently written and the characters were well developed.  I loved the suspense and the constant guessing as to what was going on.  One minute you think you know what is happening and then you're proven wrong.  I also enjoyed the fact that for the most part Mara's mom was a constant presence, you don't see that a lot.  Noah and Mara's relationship turns out to be one of the best things for her though I am unhappy with a choice she makes in the end, I hope she is able to make up for it in some way in the next book.  I'm rooting for them to be able to make this thing work.  One thing that felt unwrapped up for me was Jamie, the one friend aside from Noah that Mara made at school.  It may not even be a big deal but I'm hoping we find out more about him as well in the next book.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)
Check Out The Author
(Picture and Info from Michelle's Blog)

At the age of sixteen, Michelle Hodkin lost the rights to her soul in a poker game with pirates just south of Natchez. Shortly thereafter, she joined an acting troupe and traveled the world performing feats of wonder and mischief. She has been seen on stages nationwide and earned rave reviews for her one woman performance of Titus Andronicus before writing the New York Times bestselling Mara Dyer Trilogy. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and its sequel, The Evolution of Mara Dyer are available now, and the third book in the trilogy, The Retribution of Mara Dyer, hits shelves in 2014. Michelle currently lives with her three pets and may or may not be a reliable narrator of her own life.


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