Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #1)
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Pages: 456
Rating: 4 stars
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Mara Dyer can't remember how she almost died. She woke up on a Sunday in a hospital bed, her family's worried faces peering down at her. On Wednesday, they told her, she survived a building's collapse. She was the only survivor of the four who had taken a trip to the run down insane asylum, the other three being her best friend, her boyfriend, and another tagalong friend. Traumatized by the loss and not being able to remember how any of it happened, the Dyer family picked everything up and moved to the opposite end of the country. There, Mara met Noah, a rather mysterious boy who seemed to have his own secrets.

Memory loss is something that pretty much always draws me into a book. When the first chapter kicks off, and the main character remembers simply nothing about how they came to be in that state, I'm instantly dying to know what happened. This is, as evident via the synopsis, a factor in the Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. So there's the memory loss, but there's also the hallucinations. Yes, not only is Mara unable to remember how her friends died, she's frequently visited by them. As you can tell, it's quite the eerie premise. I personally love creepy books, so this particular novel instantly captivated me. But let's dig down a little deeper.

The characters, for the most part, are developed fine. I personally found Noah to be a little too perfect, and a little too much of a cliché. I thought Mara's relationship with her siblings was also a little too perfect. They never fought, never argued, never seemed to be on each other's bad side. And her dad was just kind of... there. I think it would have been better if the author had established Mara's relationship with her dad, as well has built up the father's personality just a bit more. 

The plot was definitely something that had me glued to the book. It's paced nicely, and you go through it very quickly, but I do have to say that the chapters sometimes cut off at awkward points. I'm a fan of short chapters; I seem to read books faster when the chapters are shorter, but I like when the chapters at least cut off at the right points. I feel like some of the chapters could've been joined together to be one. On the contrary, there were some chapters that ended, and then the next chapter would pick back up and never resolved the "cliff hanger" from the last chapter. However, I can hardly complain, as the plot is just so captivating. She does a nice job of dropping little hints and bits of information early on to have them come into play later in the novel. I love when authors plan that far ahead.

Another positive I have is the flashbacks. Usually, the flashbacks in books are boring and anticlimactic. However, these flashbacks were something I looked forward to. It's so cool seeing them walk through the run down insane asylum, and I wasn't bored- ever. 

So all in all, I really enjoyed the Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. I would recommend it to you if it sounds interesting, and I do hope you like it! I know Cassandra Clare blurbed it on the front cover, so if you trust her opinion, I would definitely suggest giving it a shot. 

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