Saturday, December 17, 2011

The unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Mara Dyer and her family have moved from New York to Miami after the death of her best friend and two other friends in a building collapse that Mara miraculously survives.  Since the accident Mara has been unable to remember what happened, but in her nightmares she has vague memories of things that happen, and when she is awake she sees her dead friends in the mirror and other impossible places.  The move to Miami is meant to be a new start, a place where she can leave the past behind and focus on a new future, but the past wont let her go and Mara finds herself teetering on the edge of sanity.  It doesn't help that one of the girls at her new school seems to have it in for her, or that ones of the teachers seems to have it in for her too. 

The one speck of light in her life is Noah, who makes everything feel different.  Despite the fact that everyone in school thinks he is only after one thing (and once he gets it he'll be gone) Mara can't help but fall under his spell, despite all the alarm bells that go off in her head.  As her life gets more challenging Mara begins to understand more about what happened that night in the ruins of the old asylum, and she learns more about what she is really capable of.  While she struggles to understand what is happening, Mara has no idea that danger is stalking her and her family, and if she can't find her balance and figure out what is really happening it may be too late - too late for her, and those around her.

I wasn't sure what to expect with this book when I picked it up - the reviews implied that it was some kind of supernatural love story, while the opening page implied it was more of a crime novel.  The truth lies somewhere in the middle, with this deftly written book drawing together themes from a variety of genre and blending them together to form a novel that is startling - both in concept and story.  Mara is not your typical heroine, but she is also not your typical anti-heroine either.  The characters around her could easily have become cliches and ridiculous, but even the characters that are a cliche just seem to click into place and work well.  When the big revelation comes it was not quite what I was expecting which was fabulous as it made the rest of the book a really absorbing read rather than just the same old same old.

This is a challenging read, mostly because it is over 400 pages long, but also because Michelle Hodkin has not dumbed down the language for her teen audience - and this book is definitely one that has a cross over into the adult market as well.  Absorbing, gripping, and satisfying I can't wait for the promised sequel to come out so I can find out what happens next for Mara and those around her.

If you like this book then try:
  • Numbers by Rachel Ward
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  • Subject seven by James A. Moore
  • Thyla by Kate Gordon
  • Summon the keeper by Tanya Huff
  • Rosebush by Michele Jaffe
  • Raven's gate by Anthony Horowitz
  • City of bones by Cassandra Clare

Reviewed by Brilla

1 comment:

  1. Well written and well worth the money. There was so much going on i hardly knew i even turned the pages! There were twists and turns every where with soooo many questions to still be answered, and cliff hanger ending??? It was too much my mouth just dropped open in saddened shock. I cant wait for the next one to come out. Suggest it to readers who want a good, and new read. Loved it!