Saturday, June 16, 2012

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Title:  The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Series: Mara Dyer #1
Author: Michelle Hodkin 
Release Date: September 27, 2011 
PublisherSimon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Source: Gift 

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.
I whole-heartedly wish this book had been published earlier than 2011. I can assure you, it’s not because of what you think. The thing is, when I was a younger teen, I wasn’t as critical of books as I am now. The thing with The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (first of all, I love all parts of that novel except for the name Mara; I don’t know why but I’m not a fan of the name) was that it was TOTALLY HYPED UP. Almost every review I read, it talked about how good it was and OMG HOW HOT NOAH WAS. I was expecting a lot but when I began reading it last year, I couldn’t get 1/3 through. When I decided to read this book today, I was fresh of mind and ready to be blown away.

I was, to say the least, not blown away. There was so much going on all at once and it was all fast at time but then slow again and it was all…crazy. I’m going to admit it: most of the reviews I read were spoiler free BUT I could still guess what was going to happen next. Not always, to be sure, but I did get some assumptions right so a lot of the mystery was lost for me. The book had a really jumbled pace. If it was a strategy to make the book have more mystery and intrigue, the jumbled pace of the novel lost that for me.

Something in the plot that really, really, really got me: the plot has some sort of paranormal element that needs to be explored but all is forgotten when we get to the love interest. I loved the first chapter! It got me interested and I couldn’t wait to read more. BUT when Mara meets the oh so hot, oh so swoon worthy Noah Shaw (more on him later), I felt like the paranormal element took a back seat and that was not okay.

Clich├ęd. That is how I would describe the characters in this book. Mara actually wasn’t all that bad but she wasn’t all the great either. As mentioned above, I wish Mara hadn’t made Noah her entire life. While they did explore the paranormal aspect, Mara constantly talked about Noah. If she was talking about the accident or something, she would for some time and then it was all about Noah. To Mara, I wanted to tell her to please make Noah a PART of her life, not her ENTIRE life. The thing was, I’ve seen Mara before. Sure they didn’t have her issues and all that and I’m not calling her a Mary Sue. I’m just saying that I wasn’t surprised by her.

And oh Noah Shaw. What can I say about you? Noah’s the hottest guy at the prep school (of course) and all the girls are in love with him (of course) and he’s also been with all the girls (of course). Did I mention that he’s bored with all the girls at the school UNTIL Mara comes along? AND then he’s not bored because Mara is different and not like all the other girls he’s known? For all of you people who love Noah Shaw, please enlighten me on what is so amazing about him? Is it his accent and his wealth and his broodiness? Normally, I would find that extremely hot but then I look at the character and Noah Shaw was not one I liked. He was arrogant and mean and wouldn’t leave Mara alone. Supposedly his behavior should be explained after some background on his life was revealed but honestly, I wasn’t happy with it. His crappy way of treating Mara in the beginning was supposed to be hot? And I get that people have sucky lives and the act out but does that honestly justify his actions? No, it doesn’t. Seriously, do people really think teen girls fall for that? Well, turns out, yes they do, be honestly, Noah would have been the guy that all the girl’s would stay away from at my school. And he’d be the guy girls would tell their friends to stay away from because:
"Noah doesn't date. He'll screw you--literally and figuratively. Everyone knows it--his conquests know it--but they pretend not to care until he moves on to the next one. And then they're alone and their reputations are shot to hell. Anna's a prime example, but she's only one of many. I head that a senior from Walden tried to commit suicide after he--well. After he got what he came for, pun intended, and didn't call again." Page 115, hardcover copy
That's totally hot right? I mean, what teen girl WOULN'T want to be with a guy like that?! I can promise you all this: most teen girls don't find this kind of guy attractive. Sure, some do, but not many and I just found Noah to be rather repulsive. Having something crappy happen to you DOES NOT give you the right to be this way and be considered hot.

Overall though, I wasn’t impressed with The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. I was actually disappointed by the characters (ESPECIALLY Noah; I really, really wanted to love him guys.) and much of the plot but Michelle Hodkin’s writing brought me out. I think people should still give this story a try. After all, there are plenty of people who loved this book. Will I be reading the second book? I’m not sure yet. I might but I’ll not be pining away for it.
Cover Comments: 
I LOVE THIS COVER SO MUCH! It's sooo pretty and mysterious and intriguing. The cover, in my opinion, didn't really do this book any justice: the cover was just better! I love it so much! Plus, it's a nice leathery feel (the hardback) and the font is nice too! And it makes you wonder if the guy is helping the girl or bringing her down? And yet another question: what exactly does water have to do with this book?
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