Wednesday, 19 November 2014

BOOK REVIEW: THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER BY MICHELLE HODKIN


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.



Spoiler-free review.



"The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer" was recommended to me as a suspenseful read. It was.
I was promised an unreliable narrator. I got one.
I was prepared for a cliffhanger. It came through.

I expected to love this book. And I did.

The synopsis doesn't give away much, which suited me just fine. Going in, it becomes apparent within pages that Mara Dyer is a girl who goes through a traumatic experience and emerges on the other side of it emotionally and mentally scarred. Her world is not quite what it used to be. And Mara, much like the reader, learns pretty quickly not to believe everything she sees before her.

I wasn't aware that this story would have a romantic angle (despite the synopsis, somehow), but it took nothing away from the suspense and only added to it further. Noah Shaw is the sort of character who raises more questions about their world than he answers, and I enjoyed their dynamic. The intense scenes were interspersed with Mara and Noah's amusing banter. Noah balances Mara's character out quite nicely, with his adamant refusal to take things quite as seriously as she is inclined to. He is the light to Mara's darkness, and a ray of hope in an otherwise dark, atmospheric read.

I enjoyed, too, the decided presence of Mara's family and parents, even if they weren't a key element to the story. After a stream of young adult novels (dystopian and paranormal) where parents are seldom referenced or brought up, Mara Dyer's family is the proverbial "other side of the coin". It makes one appreciate how difficult it is to face the world of uncertainties with your parents questioning your actions and words, right down to your state of mind. I applaud Michelle Hodkin for not shying away from that angle. I can't say I liked Mara's parents much, or the way they mark her as psychotic from the get-go (the mother especially), but I can appreciate the realistic portrayal of a pair who suddenly find themselves with an "altered" child. Mara's brothers were refreshing, as was the "token Jewish black best friend" (who, admittedly, needn't have necessarily embodied every stereotype imaginable just to make a point).

I can't explain my delight for calling the ending ahead of time - not that I realized the implications of this cliffhanger and its involvement in the events of the story. The eventual realization of just how thin the veil between the reality and the unreality is when you see the world though Mara's eyes was startling and unexpected. In unreliable-narrator terms, Mara Dyer is as good as it gets.

If you're a fan of suspenseful, mysterious, riveting, thrilling stories - I honestly can't recommend this book enough.




No comments:

Post a Comment