The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Tragedy is often theme in books, and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin gives it an interesting twist. The story reflects the long-term aspects of loss with a touch of supernatural mystery.
As the story begins, 17-year-old Mara Dyer wakes up in a hospital and learns that there has been an accident, and that her friends and boyfriend have died. Yet, she was barely hurt, and can’t remember much of anything about that night.
Shortly after leaving the hospital Mara starts to have nightmares and is diagnosed with PTSD. In order to stop her overprotective mother from sending her to therapy, Mara convinces her family to move from Rhode Island to Florida. Once there, she begins attending Croyden Academy where she meets the ruthless and cruel popular girl Anna, and befriends the odd ball Jamie. Most importantly, she meets the supposed bad boy of Croyden, Noah.
Over the next few weeks Mara’s life progresses, but she is slowly realizing that she did not leave her problems behind in Rhode Island. She is having weird flashback nightmares, and having delusions of her dead friends throughout the day. Slowly she is remembering what happened, and is beginning to think it wasn’t an accident.
In addition, other people are dying around Mara too, and Noah won’t leave her alone no matter how rude she is to him.
As her walls come down and Mara becomes close to Noah, Mara discovers that he is hiding secrets as well. It turns out they may be connected in a way she never expected.
The plot only thickens as Mara’s father agrees to be the defense attorney for Leon Lassiter, accused of killing a young teenage girl in Florida.
The extra stress causes Mara to have more flashbacks, but strange phone calls and appearances at Mara’s home create fear as well.
All of the loose ends and mysteries converge as Mara and Noah tell each other all their secrets, Mara’s memories all come back and the trial of Lassiter comes to an end. But, just as readers think all the problems are solved they are left with an unexpected cliffhanger.
The story of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is truly unique, but it has many of the same basic characteristics most young adult reads do these days. The main heroine is a lonely outcast who is uniquely beautiful, and the boy of the story is a classic bad boy with family issues and tons of money. Yet, even with these standard-issue characters the story itself is very quirky.
Generally, paranormal romances entail a heroine who is magical and destined to save the world, and, along the way, she meets some wonderful paranormal characters that go against the classic clique of monsters. But this novel doesn’t have this storyline—instead, it has mystery. There is no great reveal, but rather a much more realistic plot, one as realistic as a paranormal story can be.
The story is set in modern America and is actually believable. Mara has a family that cares about her and what she does. She faces the pressures of school and getting into a college while still trying to figure out who she is. This combined with a more believable supernatural storyline make the book an intriguing read.
Overall, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a great story. While it shares many of the same concepts as other books today it has its own unique tale.
The story continues in The Evolution of Mara Dyer and The Retribution of Mara Dyer, the latter of which will be released on Nov. 4.
I give it: 3/5 stars
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