Review: The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Publisher/Date: Simon & Schuster – 9/11
How I Got It: Got an ARC at BEA!
Read a summary here.
Pre-Order It here.

I’m going to preface this with: I normally don’t write reviews like this. I mean,  my reviews tend to be more conversational and laid back rather than a literary analysis that is eloquently written with excellent usage of literary terms straight from your college textbook. But this review…I’ve tried to write this 10 times since I finished it and this is the only way it’s worked…to gush and then to rant like I’m calling up my sister and telling her about it.

Oh goodness. This book and I…we have a real complicated relationship. I finished this book in a day. To say I devoured it would be an understatement. It was like the kind of head-over-heels-and-so-deliriously-drunk-on-lust infatuation….you know the kind that might make you go and get hitched after a day together. THAT is how smitten I was with this book.

From the very first page I was undeniably locked in. The mystery and intrigue had me in its grips, I fell in love with Noah (who weirdly enough I kept picturing as a cross between Logan from Veronica Mars and Heath Ledger in Ten Things I Hate About You…more so Logan with his bad boy swagger and adorableness) and Hodkins unraveling of the plot and ability to balance the paranormal, romantical and realistic aspects of the story was brilliant.  There was some sexy, steamy tension and that was a nice distraction from the mysteries and general confused (in a good way!) state I was in.

I mean, there were some bizarre things going on in this book. Good bizarre…in a way that I was DYING to figure it out and trying to formulate guesses as to what is going on. I felt just as crazy as Mara felt trying to grapple with what I was reading — is this a dream? Are these ghosts? Parallel universes? Is she dead or something bizarre like that? WHAT IS REAAAAAL?!? WHAT IS HAPPENING?!? Freakin A. I felt like David after the dentist for goodness sake. Seriously. The screaming and all. AND THIS IS ALL IN A GOOD WAY! MIND-BENDING!

BUT I WAS LOVING IT ALL. I was getting ready to slap a “Jamie’s Pick for Best Book Of The Year”…and, friends, that carries more weight than the big O book club sticker…and mine are sparkly.

BUT THEN…about 3/4 of the way through..something happened. Some may call it a plot hole but I just call it plain old WTFery. It involves alligators and that’s all I’m going to say. But what happened is that it really deviated from what I had come to expect from the story…and not in a good way for me. The whole situation seemed illogical to me and I didn’t quite find it believable in the scope of the book. I can’t really explain it without giving things away but that scene and some of their decisions and conclusions afterward just really seemed off. I mean, maybe it’s just me. I still pressed on because I NEEDED and wanted to know what was going on. I read just as quickly through until the end….and the ENDING…OMG. Cliffhanger central. And a real doozy of a cliffhanger too. I will most certainly be reading the second book.

My other tiny gripe is that, while I really did love Noah because I’m always rooting for that bad boy who isn’t really bad, I found him to be a bit cliched in some ways…not too terribly..but I feel like I must note it. With his playboy, jerk ways…I didn’t ever really BELIEVE that just having met Mara was enough to change. I mean, I guess they have a different connection as you’ll find out when you read it…but I don’t know. There were also some whiffs there of instalove and you know that is one of my personal bookish pet peeves. But again with that…by the end I could kind of see why he might have instantly been drawn to her.

My final thought:  Mara Dyer was a riveting and hair-raising read that will have you turning the pages ravenously with that insatiable desire to know and understand all the little mysteries and the intricacies within the book. I really did enjoy the book but some of the bizarre plot holes and some directional choices of the story coupled with some personal pet peeves prevented me from slapping a “BEST BOOK EVAHHH” kind of label on it. I would highly recommend it for readers of YA who love to be on the edge of their seat trying to figure out a HUGE mysterious puzzle and are looking for well-written supernatural stories and can maybe turn a blind eye to some bizarre plot holes. I will definitely be reading the second book because I am wholly invested in figuring out what the heck is going on!!

Review On A Post It: 

Edit: I found out via Twitter from Michelle Hodkin that there are some  changes from the ARC (that I read) and the final copy…like one major sentence that was missing somewhere. Soooo we shall see if that clears some things up for me!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. Meg @ A Bookish Affair says:

    I still think I might try this one and hope that the WTF-ery doesn't take away too much!

  2. Meg– Definitely still read it!! I really enjoyed it and I know the WTFery didn't bother some people! In fact, I really hadn't heard anyone really saying anything about it.

  3. We Heart YA says:

    Whoa, that's a very… intriguing review. LOL we're even more interested than before. In part to find out just WHAT the "WTFery" was… Thanks for doing the review!

  4. I have it I should read it. I love this review.

  5. Reading Rachel says:

    Alright, I NEED to read this now. I'm very intrigued. Fantastic Review

    Rachel-Endless Reading

  6. Tahleen says:

    Hmmm. Definitely sounds at least like it will keep people's attention! I'll have to check it out when it's released. Thanks for the non-spoilery review!

  7. I Eat Words says:

    I wish I knew what plot holes you were talking about. I loved every bit of this book! And Noah = sexy, steamy, AMAZING! ;)

    -Farrah

  8. Guyyyss. I feel like all the things I wanted to say about WHY Mara is such an intriguing character and all the WTFery and the parts I did and didn't like….but everything is so intricately woven into the story that I would be giving away SO MUCH.

    We Heart YA– Haha thanks! Definitely read it as soon as you can. It's a very intriguing book! I really did enjoy it minus the bad WTFery moments. The good WTFery moments were GOOD and suspenseful!

    Pam- YES! Go read. I am anxious to hear your thoughts.

    Reading Rachel — It's one that you won't be able to put down for sure!

    Tahleen — Definitely will keep people's attention! The writing and the characters were very good too!

    Farrah — We need to gchat or something!!

  9. AliyaPM says:

    Eeeks! I want this book so, so badly! Ugh, I am dying to read it. And your review made me want to read it twice as much as before! The wait if awful….

  10. Stephanie McNemar says:

    Wow. I'm even more excited about this one now. I definitely enjoy books that have some WTFerry in them. I hope I'll be able to pick it up at the ALA convention later this month.

    I've been following your blog for months now and love your reviews and features. I'm finally working on getting my own book up and running between days at school and work.

    Awesome interview!
    -Stephanie

  11. Stephanie McNemar says:

    Haha review not interview

  12. A. Knight says:

    I've never been more curious about this book until now. The fact that it has all this hype surrounding it kind of turned me off to it. But, now I'm dying to know about this bizarreness you speak of. o_O

    Can't wait to find out for myself!

  13. Bethany says:

    So, I had to read this review twice because the first time I got sidetracked when you mentioned Logan from VM. ;)

  14. I LOVE YOU.

    ahem.

    So I just read the post it review on this one because i've yet to read the book, but wow, I can't wait for this whole WTFness.

  15. The Fable Fairy says:

    I am beyond excited to read this. Your review just took my anticipation up 10 notches.

  16. Supernatural and suspense in the same sentence… I'll definitely keep my eye out for this one.

    Side Note: I just noticed that your little "follow me on Twitter" guy is wearing headphones. Love it!

  17. You know, I've been wanting to read this book for quite some time, and now I just want to read it to see what this "WTFery" is about because you're no the first book blogger to say this about Mara. Thanks for the review, excellent job!

  18. Even with WTFery annoyances, you still seem to really like this book, and that right there says it should be read by many. Besides, supernatural, suspense, mysterious is stuff I love, although the instalove is pet peeve of mine too. Still, I am puttting it on my list so that when it comes out I remember to read it.

  19. Love the review, & I'm looking forward to reading the book. I hate that it ends in a cliff hanger though! And I'm a little nervous about the alligator scene . . . Thanks for the heads up.

  20. Mrs. Vincent says:

    I love this review. It's hysterical. I just started cracking up with the video of David and then reading your comments had me still laughing. Love it. I already have this book on my TBR. I kind of hate crazy cliffhangers that leave you wandering around talking to yourself about how awesome the book was but at the same time how mad you are that it's over with no real ending – but I'll read it anyway. :)

  21. i still am dying to read it! but i'll remember to look out for the 'wtfery' though :D

  22. mummazappa says:

    I love a bit of WTFery! Just added this to my list :-)

  23. Sarah B. says:

    Haha! You're the second person I've seen say 3/4 through = "WTFery"… I've got a copy on the way to me soon & am SO curious! Must. Read. Immediately. (Also: Hi, I'm new. Just found you. Will be back, for sure.)

  24. I loved this book and Noah Shaw SO MUCH. I was barreling through the pages when I had to dig my heels in and say…"What? Why did that happen? I'm so confused." I even read the book a second time to make sure I didn't miss anything!

  25. Rachel @ Bookshelf Lust says:

    Thank you for saying everything I've had trouble putting into words since finishing Mara last week! The phrase WTFery has never been more well deserved. And David After Dentist= the best way to illustrate how Mara makes you feel…omg. I loved this book (errr, most of it). But I am scared to write my review, because I can still barely wrap my mind around Gator-Gate.

  26. Miss Lauren says:

    LOL I freaking love your post it notes at the end!! :)

  27. lisa [the nerd] says:

    love the post-it for this one! also, any review with David after dentist is a win for me.

  28. thelibrarianreads says:

    Sooo…between the comment back-ups as to the addictiveness of this book, the promise of Noah's sexiness, and the hope of WTFery…I can't wait to read this book! My only worry is, if I love it as much as everyone else, how long am I gonna have to wait for the next in the series? Thanks for posting the book review…made my saturday morning ;)

  29. So this book doesn't sound quite like my cup of tea, but if I see it at the library I may get it just because everyone here is so excited about it!

    BTW, I like your little sticky-note summaries :) And LMAO at David After Dentist.

  30. christa @ mental foodie says:

    I am intrigued! But, for someone who isn't into Twilight and the like, would I like it?

  31. Lily Child says:

    I'm definitely intrigued about the WTF factor. I've hear whispers of it in other reviews as well. Sounds like an overall rather interesting book! :)

  32. This sounds fantastic. I think I just might put it on my TBR.
    Also, your description of Noah- Sounds amazing. I love Logan and Patrick Verona. Drool.

  33. April (BooksandWine) says:

    I agree with you on SO MUCH OF THIS.

    And seriously, wtf alligators. That was so strange, strange enough that I had to put that in my review lol.

    And le sigh, NOAH. My new favorite.

  34. Jennifer says:

    While it might not have gotten a best book evahhh stamp, it still sounds pretty amazing. I have to say, I love any book that can have me ravenously turning pages and I slip to the edge of my seat. This book definitely sounds like it delivers. I will have to check it out when it comes out. Thanks for a fantastic review.

  35. LOL!! I LOVE this review Jamie! So funny!! I've heard so much about this book! I'm not totally sure it's really a book I'll enjoy, but if life makes it easy for me to read it, I'm sure I'll pick up a copy. :P Great review though. Seriously awesome!

  36. I have heard SOOO much about this book, and yet this is the first time I have read a review for it! I want this book so bad now!

  37. I have been pushing this book to the end of my tbr pile forever that now I have a “fear” to read it. It seems like something like I would love the plot, but it also seems to be kind of… Boring? Maybe for seem really big in the print form and I tend to found at least one part of books with 400+ pages boring.

  38. There is something about this series that I just love. I like that it doesn’t always make sense. Unreliable narrators are some of my favorite!

  39. I just finished this one. The writing ruined it for me. And I didn’t think Noah was that bad of a “bad boy”. Eh… oh, well.

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