Posted in Fashionably Late Reviews :)

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

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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.

This book had so so much potential. I loved the premise and after a shaky start (because a ouija board? Really?) I was mightily impressed.

However, I did have some issues as the plot unfolded itself, and it did leave me hella confused in places.

So, what worked for me?

Noah – I loved his character. I think he had the best lines in the book and without him I probably would have put it down.

Concept – Ok, so this aspect is going to crop up further down too, but for now, I’m going to focus on the positive. Almost like a ‘before’ and ‘after’ the big plot revelation. Up until ‘that realisation’ I was so excited about this concept, and I was totally in love with the idea that this was digging into some deep psychological shit. It was almost like a Stephen King horror in that respect, you know? Because these horrible scenes were hadned to you on a platter and I was just itching to know how and why it had all occurred.

Mara – Again, I’ll be doubling up on this aspect. I liked Mara very much by the end. She seemed to find her voice within the narrative and that gave me confidence to keep going with this series.

Writing Style – Despite the niggles I had, the writing is really good. It’s engaging and so gosh darn readable. It’s one of those books where you finish it and you realise its flaws but you don’t care too much because the writing was really good!

What didn’t work for me?

Mara – Yup. Here we go again. Mara bothered me because she didn’t stand out. I think for a protagonist you need someone that comes through the words and stands in front of you as you read, you know? Someone that taps you on the shoulder in the day and says ‘hey, you gonna finish reading me yet?’ It took me a long time to warm up to Mara. She simply had no presence. She was white wash for me, up until near the very end.

Concept – Like I said. I was all for this being some massive psychological thriller… But then it hits me over the head with a massive stick from the paranormal tree? Say what? I think it’s safe to say that I didn’t see it coming. Other than the ouija board, I saw no inclination towards the spooky. Horror? Check. Graphic? Check. Paranormal oogly booglies? Nuh uh. It disappointed me because it felt like a cop out. Gone was the notion that this was one badass psycho chick.. and in her place was some kind of paranormal excuse.

Any tension or horror I felt while reading this book fizzled away after that moment. I mean, there’s something scary about someone losing their minds and turning into Leatherface, or something. But because the paranormal aspect wasn’t a presence up to that point, it only left me feeling deflated. Boo.

Still, I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars at the time. And even though now, after thinking about it and letting it settle on me, I’m tempted to lower that rating a little, I’m not going to. I’m a big advocate of gut feelings, and my initial reaction was ‘oh, that was confusing. But I loved reading it.’ So there you have it.

I’ve got the second book on reserve at the library- I’m looking forward to seeing how it all develops.

(and that cover art! ❤ )

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YA writer. Epic reader. Professional procrastinator.

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