The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Comes Out: September 27, 2011 

Pages: 464

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Format: ARC

Source: Inkwood

Age Group: Young Adult

Parental Warnings: sexual comments; violence

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                                                                 The Unbecoming of Mara DyerThe Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

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.

Okay, I don't usually start out by saying comments about the cover, but it is gorgeous. I love it. I think that this is one of the best covers of the year. Seriously, it is beautiful.Now about the actual content about the book: Mara Dyer doesn't believe when a Ouiji board says that her friends are going to die because of her. So why does she wake up in the hospital six months later when exactly that happened? She can't even remember what she did. She just knows that she has to get out of her town. Her best friend is dead somehow because of her, in a place that they never would have gone.They uproot their lives and move to Florida. In Florida, Mara is starting to  control her mental state. She keeps from her mom the number of hallucinations she has. She's worried that she might be going crazy. As memories come flooding back, she worries that she might be a murderer too. Her parents are worried about her; she knows that she has to do something to keep herself from becoming noticeably mentally unstable. At least, she thinks so.Enter Noah. Stereotypical bad boy at the prep school, rich and completely coveted by the most popular girl. Because of her interest in Noah, she hates Mara. Mara finds herself falling for him, after everything she's been through. As they fall in love however, more and more things start happening. As they discover new things together, they think, is it possible that Mara might be the reason for the accident?I'll be honest: I had heard amazing things about it, but the description didn't do it justice. To me, at first, it even looked kind of repetitive or even boring. As I read past the first page however, I got a different story.First of all, Michelle Hodkin plunges you right into the action. Claire, Rachel, and Mara at Rachel's birthday, playing with Claire's present to Rachel of a Ouiji board. Contrary to original thought, this scene is filled with suspense and a little bit of foreshadowing.Then, Mara wakes up in a hospital. They tell her that she was somewhere that she never would have ventured, and that a horrible accident left her best friend, her friend, and her boyfriend all killed. She is the only one who can remember what happened that night.Mara is devestated. What I liked about her is that through the entire ordeal, she still remained strong. Although terrified and grieving, she still gave off a slightly in-control air, although her entire world was crumbling.At first I thought that this book was going to be completely psychological. I didn't think that it was going to be particularly intense or thrilling, but just the process of Mara going insane. I was wrong; something way different than what I originally guessed occured. I find myself as much in love with paranormal romance as the next gal, and while this colors out of the lines, it is still as amazing as the others.I really liked Jamie, Noah, and all of the supportive characters. It wouldn't have been the same without the particular interest and flair of the secondary characters.Jamie added spunk. He made some of the drier scenes hilarious and quirky. Noah radiated the bad boy vibe, which everybody knows is a much needed concept in every book, and her parents added so much with worry and plot movement. Even the popular girl (I'm currently blanking on her name) added the bit of mean-girls that was lovely.I really enjoyed the process of Mara uncovering her memories. Suddenly she would have a flashback and would stay reeling by what she saw. She discovered more about herself as she slowly remembered what had happened to her.Noah and Mara's romance was impeccably written. They had issues; they had fights; an. d yet it was still the almost-picture-perfect God-I-wish-that-would-happen-to-me type romance that is essential for these kinds of books.The intensity of the ending was incredible! I did not see the entire thing coming! I didn't guess any of it! The best part is that there wasn't really a clear antagonist, so it wasn't like a war. It was subtle, but intense. Does that make any sense to you?I love love loved the characters and action! Everything about this book made me squeal! I stayed up until 2 am to finish it because I started it and couldn't put it down. It's thick, which is nice because I love a long book and it was the perfect read.This isn't related directly to the book but I like how there's finally a serious paranormal series taking place in Florida! Sure, yes, we have beaches but that doesn't mean that every book that takes place here should be a fluff read! I liked it. I felt at home with the descriptions of buggy heat and such. It was lovely to read that.Michelle Hodkin's writing style is in one word, brilliant. She wove together everything brilliantly. Character stories overlapped, perfect twists occured, and everything fell into place at the ending. Her characters were beautifully written and each added uniqueness, and it takes a talented writer to do that. There wasn't a bit of this book that I didn't like.This book is VERY highly recommended.Recommended for anybody who loves: Imaginary Girls; Twilight; Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator; As I Wake; Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac; Between Here and Forever; Fallen; etc,.How does grief affect people's decisions?Why do you think Mara was fine with taking a antipsychotic?How do you think her brother's reacted?How are Noah and Mara's lifestyles completely different? How do they complement each other?How does jealousy make people do stupid things?Do you think Claire suspected anything about Jude?How do you think Mara's father reacted about her exploring a house connected to his case?Why was the family fine with moving?What's the strangest experience that you have ever had? Discuss.Etc,.