by Michelle Hodkin
Mara Dyer series; book I
Uhm… have you seen this book around?!?! And dude, it has one of the best countdown widgets I’ve ever seen (and probably the most popular one as well)
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.
My Expectations: extremely high. Like I expected fireworks and all that.
Delivery: I’m a sad panda, I was disappointed and highly annoyed.
Put-down-ability: Does setting down the book to eye-roll count? But other than that, the writing is engaging 3.5/10
I think I started twitching every single time the word beautiful was used to describe Noah. Remember how everyone mocked Stephenie Meyer for “chagrin”, “granite/marble/whatever”, “velvet”, “topaz/yellow/golden/butterscotch/rainbow colored eyes” to describe Edward Cullen? Well, in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer it’s “beautiful” and it’s one of those things that bugged me to no end. If I wasn’t twitching, I was eye-rolling or giving very heavy, exasperated sighs.
I don’t really know how to sort out my feelings but let’s just say, hypothetically, I split this book into 3 pieces. One piece is the mystery and the what-the-heck-is-going-on-with-Mara storyline. One piece is the subplots of school, family and all the woe-is-me that doesn’t fit into the second piece. The last piece is the romance storyline with Noah Shaw. And I was going to rate this.
WTF-ery + plot: 4.5/5
Noah/Mara romance: 1/5
So needless to say, I really, really enjoyed the bat-shit crazy stuff happening in this book and involving Mara. Okay, I’ll say it—the murders. Loved it, I loved how Hodkin created a tense atmosphere and the panic and the (sometimes too abundant) fade-to-black moments. It’s not really in the horror genre (I wonder why people say it is?) but anyways, it’s very well done. Every time something mildly ‘psychotic’ or just creepy happened, I was happy.
The sub-plots were average, though I will say the bright spots are her brother Daniel and her first friend at the cliché-boarding-school-with-cliché-blonde-antagonist, Jamie (and I was pretty upset when she didn’t even try to stick up for him in that one part.) I didn’t like the fact that there never really was a big climax at the end, or really any climaxes with the subplots. Things seemed to simmer then build a bit then… nothing much happens, the plot just moves on.
Oh then we move on to Noah. AGH. *headdesk* I’m SORRY but I just wasn’t a fan! Firstly, he just came off as too perfect. I strongly dislike perfect guys. It felt like the author was given a perfect-YA-boy-mold and spent three-quarters of the book sugar-coating his perfection (the constant mention of his appearance doesn’t help) and it’s just overdone. To me, he came off as hugely unrealistic, pushy (ie: “Have dinner with me” p116, ) and clingy (I will be with you every moment of every day forever and ever--paraphrased) and I hate pushy and clingy boys (in real life too!). At first, his whole ‘drop everything and start being the perfect guy’ annoyed me, but when it was explained (awesomely) I was glad. Every time he showed up I was just waiting for him to leave and for the Mara-mystery-plot to continue, though towards the last 50 pages, he did get a bit better. I get why people are swooning for him but he kind of drove me irrationally mental. I didn’t get much chemistry from Noah and Mara together, and I found Mara’s feelings really… clichéd. When she ‘declared’ her love for him, I audibly said “oh my god, shut UP” paired with excessive eye-rolling. It was unrealistic, I’ll be honest, it was the type of romance that I really don’t like and is far too common in the paranormal books I’ve read.
So yeah, I guess you can say my thoughts can be summed up by those 3 ratings above but also know that I actually had really high expectations going in to this book, which made it more of a disappointment than I think it would’ve been.
Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable
Recommended for: fans of paranormal-ish mystery! Actually, this one will probably be enjoyed by pretty much anyone—and it seems pretty much everyone will be reading this
Acknowledgements: I’m writing this review to late and I don’t have a copy :(
7.5/10 – because maybe I was hormonal or something but when I read it I just wasn’t a happy camper. A lot of little things grated my nerves and while the mystery and plot was extremely interesting, the romance just overwhelmed me. You ladies can have Noah, you’re welcome. I can definitely see the appeal of this book (and the boy) though, so I won’t hesitate recommending it to you guys.
author twitter / blog / website