by Michelle Hodkin
Series: Mara Dyer #1
Published by: Audible on January 21, 2014 (2011)
Narrator: Christy Romano
Length: 9 hrs and 40 mins
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Suspense
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.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is the first novel in the Mara Dyer trilogy by Michelle Hodkin. The tale is a mystery and a romance with a paranormal twist. It has an unreliable narrator and was one heck of a crazy ride. Mini review: Twisted, dark, romantic, frustrating, and suspenseful. Hodkin delivered a pull your hair-out read that left me scratching my head and screaming for more.
Mara Dyer wakes from a coma to discover that her friends are dead. She has no memories of the night they died or why she remained unscathed. She begins to see them, on the street, in her mirror and in her sleep. She has difficulty adjusting and processing the loss. Her parents decide to move the family to Florida. Mara is trying to fit in while dealing with hallucinations like changing hallways and dead people. She plans to keep her head down, and her mouth shut…but then in walks Noah Shaw. He is British, gorgeous, and trouble. The tale that unfolds kept me on edge as I tried to determine what was real, and who the players were. In the midst of all this crazy we watch a romance develop and it was the anchor of the story.
Mara reminds me of Bella. There I said it, so shoot me. She spoke and moved like her. Maybe it was the narrator but yep, all I could see was Bella. She has a really tough time of it, and she is the perfect unreliable narrator. Even she doesn’t believe or trust herself. Mara is loyal, smart and surprisingly level headed. I found her to be incredibly brave, witty, desperate and friggin fascinating. Noah Shaw. What are you up too? Why the interest in the weird girl? Noah’s is a player, rich boy and at times feels entitled. He has a temper but he can be sweet, protective, and unsure. Noah has secrets and all the time he is wooing Mara I am wondering his end game but I liked him and oh crap did I just swoon? The Dyer family is present and involved which I appreciated and hallelujah professional help is involved. I adored Daniel her big brother, knight and protector. Joseph her younger brother made me laugh aloud. Jamie her first friend at school was an interesting character and helped add substance to what Mara stated as he provided information. Students at the school fell into cliches and added additional stress and drama to Mara’s fragile existence.
I am not sure if The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was more mystery, suspense thriller or romance with paranormal elements. The tale goes back and forth between the two having me on edge one moment and swooning the next. Whom could I trust? What the heck is happening? Is Mara crazy? Mara begins to regain memories of the night her friends die and slowly we begin to understand, or at least I thought did. Noah is a curiosity and I enjoyed getting to know him. Between moments of uncertainty and disbelief we have a somewhat normal romance, and while I enjoyed the romance it also made me crazy because hello, WTH is happening? Hodkin kept me on the edge the entire time. When I thought I had things figured out she managed to keep me second guessing. Her writing style is descriptive, and she gave me a panoramic view of events as they unfolded. I could smell the swamp, feel the dampness in the abandoned building, taste Mara’s fear and visualize the dirt floor of the shed. The tale unwinds unevenly, giving us moments of frenzy and then dragging in parts. One minute it is a thriller and the next it was like I walked into the middle of a contemporary romance. In retrospect, I think the romance kept us grounded, it was the constant in the storm. The tale ends with a cliffy. It threw me so hard I actually went back and listened to the last two chapters again fearing I missed something.
Christy Romano did a great job as the narrator. She gave Mara and Noah their own unique voice. The only time I heard her break from character was in Mara’s bedroom when Noah revealed his secret. Mara’s monotone narrative added to my sense of uncertainty.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was a bumpy and crazy ride that kept me guessing. I have no doubt I will see this series through and that Hodkin will be an author I visit again. The next book is The Evolution of Mara Dyer followed by the conclusion The Retribution of Mara Dyer scheduled to release in November of 2014.
Three and half cups of coffee out of five
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