The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer: A Book Review
Normally I have at least three books on the go. At this very moment I am reading Rebecca Lynn’s “The Descendants” (highly recommended and will be reviewed next!), Mira Grant’s “Feed” and “The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences” by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris. (The third one I probably won’t be doing a review on, because in all honesty, I was expecting a wonderful Gail Carriger kind of read, and thus far have been very disappointed.) But before this trio I had another three going, but ended up totally captivated by The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, and ignoring the other two. The book is dark and confusing, and at times I wondered where the heck the plot was going and if it was even going to make any sense in the end. It was the very start that grabbed hold of me and refused to let go. It opens with Mara and her two friends playing with an Ouija board (always ominous anyways) and one of Mara’s friends asks “how am I going to die?” and the board spells out M.A.R.A. Then the narrator (Mara) tells you “They were both dead within a month”.
The first thing I do when picking out a book is look at the cover, if that pulls me in I’ll flip to the front page and read that. If THAT draws me in, and the writing is good, I’ll buy it. Not only does Michelle Hodkin have an excellent and believable YA voice, the beginning is enough to give you the chills and make you want to keep reading. The front cover is quite accurate, since I sort of felt like I’d been plunged into a deep and murky depths, creepy, disorienting and maybe a bit over my head. For most of the book Mara is sufferings from PTSD (Post Dramatic Stress Disorder) and seeing her dead friends and strange, creepy things that aren’t there. If a little bit of schizophrenic action isn’t enough to keep it interesting, people around her start dying in grotesque ways. Top that off with a little romance with a unbelievably good looking (of course) English boy (doesn’t seeing your dead friend in the mirror get you in the mood for a little romance?) and you’ve got The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. Honestly, the romance was a little much. I mean, she’s seeing dead people and wondering why on earth people around her are dropping like flies, and then suddenly WOAH, we’re in the middle of a grand old romance and the dead people are forgotten. Um, sorry? And then of course the boy is unbelievably gorgeous and has every girl in the school wanting to wrap themselves around his neck like a scarf, but he suddenly only has eyes for Mara. And he’s a rich asshole who has slept with every girl in the school, but he actually turns out to have a big heart, shhh, don’t tell. At parts the “cocky bad boy” thing was a bit hard to deal with. Parts where he puts a finger over her mouth to tell her to be quiet (I’m sorry what? She DIDN’T punch his face after that?). The part where he tells her “you’re mine” made me wonder if the author has some…er…issues.
I won’t give anymore away, since I suggest reading it for yourself. When I closed the book my reaction was a mixture of “That was cool.” And “Um, what? Okay…I THINK I get what just happened.” Overall, even though it was dark and gritty and left me feeling like a wanted to go watch a comedy (something light and happy to get the taste of dark insanity out of my mouth) I can see why it’s a best seller. It has a bit of everything: Ridiculous romance, confusing paranormal type plot, a few psychotic breakdowns. What’s not to love? I did feel like the plot wandered a little bit, sort of like a drunk who knows where he WANTS to go, but there’s a lot of staggering and shuffling involved on the way. YOU may love it, or it may leave you scratching your head. BE WARNED…there is a ridiculous cliff hanger at the end. This book does not resolve itself. I felt a little like chucking it across the room, but hey, the cover art is so nice…
I WOULD recommend this book, and rate it an 7 out of 10 on my bookshelf scale.