The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer Trilogy Series #1)

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Mara Dyer doesn’t know if she is crazy or haunted—all she knows is that everyone around her is dying in this suspenseful and “strong, inventive tale” (Kirkus Reviews).

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she ...

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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer Trilogy Series #1)

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Mara Dyer doesn’t know if she is crazy or haunted—all she knows is that everyone around her is dying in this suspenseful and “strong, inventive tale” (Kirkus Reviews).

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.
After Mara survives the traumatizing accident at the old asylum, it makes sense that she has issues. She lost her best friend, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s sister, and as if that weren’t enough to cope with, her family moves to a new state in order to give her a fresh start. But that fresh start is quickly filled with hallucinations—or are they premonitions?—and then corpses, and the boundary between reality and nightmare is wavering. At school, there’s Noah, a devastatingly handsome charmer who seems determined to help Mara piece together what’s real, what’s imagined—and what’s very, very dangerous.
This fast-paced psychological—or is it paranormal?—thriller will leave you breathless for its sequel, The Evolution of Mara Dyer.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When 17-year-old Mara wakes from a coma, she learns she was in an accident; her best friend, boyfriend, and his sister were all killed when an abandoned asylum collapsed on them. But Mara has no memory of why she was there. Hoping to escape her hallucinations and nightmares, she moves with her family from Rhode Island to Florida, and on the first day of school meets a handsome boy "miling at me like he knew me." Even as Mara's romance with Noah starts to simmer, her stress boils over, especially when her fantasies about bad people dying start coming true and she starts remembering the fateful night. There are plenty of haunting, cinematic images to capture readers' attention, but first-time author Hodkin has packed too much into this mystery, including a murder trial in the background and Noah's own secrets. Readers may enjoy drawing their own conclusions about what is real, but they will have a hard time tracking all the possibilities. And after so much windup, they will certainly feel let down by the scripted conclusion. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"Haunting and dreamlike, the intrigue and romance of Mara Dyer will inescapably draw you in." --Cassandra Clare, author of the New York Times bestselling Moral Instruments series

"The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer strikes a rare balance of darkly funny, deliciously creepy and genuinely thoughtful. One minute I was laughing out loud, and the next, I was so scared I wanted to turn on all the lights and hide under the covers. Michelle Hodkin’s talent and range are obvious, from her chilling descriptions to romantic scenes that almost crackled on the page. I’ve never read anything quite like it."--Veronica Roth, New York Times bestselling author of Divergent

"A clever, captivating thriller, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is perfect for those (like me) who like their heroes dark, their heroines dangerous, and their romances seriously twisted."
--Kirsten Miller, New York Times bestselling author of The Eternal Ones

"WOW. Michelle Hodkin's debut will keep you guessing until the last page--and long after."
--Beth Revis, New York Times bestselling author of Across the Unviverse

"As spooky and twisty as it is lyrical and beautiful, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer grabbed me and wouldn't let go. Read this one with the lights on." --Rachel Hawkins, New York Times bestselling author of Demonglass

"A strong, inventive tale."
--Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2011

Hodkin's debut is witty and thought-provoking and will have readers captivated until the very end. It takes readers through constant chaos, wonder, and bewilderment...The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer will satisfy mystery lovers, dark fantasy seekers, horror believers, and readers who have a knack for romance.
VOYA, October 2011

There are echoes of Stephen King's classic Carrie in this young-adult series kickoff...Written from Mara's perspective, The Unbecoming deftly melds alternate realities. Hodkin's transitions from the mundane to hallucinated horror are unexpected, seamless and creepy, packing the same sort of cinematic punch as scenes from The Blair Witch Project....Discerning the truth is just part of the pleasure of reading the delightfully bent reality in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.
--Los Angeles Times

"Anyone who thinks old-fashioned romantic scenes can’t move teens today will be proven wrong here. This boy will make readers swoon. The characters are real and wonderful, and the supernatural story is riveting. Expect this book to fly off the shelves."

"Creepy, haunting, addictive and surprisingly romantic, Mara’s story is beautiful and complex...Hodkin has elevated the teenage paranormal romance into something completely her own."
--Romantic Times

"First-time author Hodkin has paired a steamy romance with a paranormal mystery that will cause teen readers whiplash as they jerk from one plot twist to another."

"It's the story of a girl trying to piece together what happened the night she, her best friend, her boyfriend and his sister spent the night in an abandoned asylum and only she survived, unscathed but traumatized…And it's the story of a girl falling in love…Be careful, 'cause you'll fall right along with her."
--MTV's Hollywood Crush

Children's Literature - Leah Hanson
When Mara wakes up, her nightmare begins. The last thing she remembers is coming home from school...and four days later she wakes up to the fact that her best friend, boyfriend and his sister are all dead, but she is not. So begins her "unbecoming," and with every eerie, suspenseful turn of the page, readers will wonder along with Mara. What happened that night in the old abandoned mental asylum? To escape the horrible reality of life after the accident, Mara's family moves to Florida where she hopes she can start over. But on the first day at her new school, it becomes quite clear that normal is not in Mara's future. First there's the edgy bad boy, Noah Shaw who she can't stop thinking about, and then there's the fact that she's tormented by glimpses of her dead friends. Are they ghosts? Is she going crazy? Or is there something more sinister at play? As she slowly regains memories of that terrible night, Mara draws closer to Noah and soon finds herself falling in love. But when a nasty dog-abuser ends up dead, and then a hated Spanish teacher suddenly suffocates to death, Mara fears that she somehow caused the deaths. This supernatural tale races to a surprising cliffhanger that will leave readers wondering (and even fearing) what is next for Mara. Deftly drawn characters, a keen sense for pacing and the underlying fear Hodkin weaves into her story make this paranormal romance a cut above the rest. Reviewer: Leah Hanson
VOYA - Nicola McDonald
After Mara Dyer's best friend dies, she begins to go through episodes of posttraumatic stress disorder. She cannot remember the accident, or was it an accident? Mara only knows that of the four people who went that night to the abandoned asylum, she was the only survivor. Mara gets a new start in Florida, where she meets sexy Noah, who is known for being a player. Mara tries to ignore Noah at first but easily becomes entwined in his charms. Hallucinations and nightmares are a regular part of her life that she tries to keep hidden, especially from Noah. After an incident with her younger brother, Mara finds out that Noah has powerful secrets of his own. Hodkin's debut is witty and thought-provoking and will have readers captivated until the very end. It takes readers through constant chaos, wonder, and bewilderment. The story can almost be compared to Justine Larbalestier's Liar (Bloomsbury, 2009/VOYA December 2009), only Mara is not aware of the clouded deceits of her experiences. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer will satisfy mystery lovers, dark fantasy seekers, horror believers, and readers who have a knack for romance. Reviewer: Nicola McDonald
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Mara Dyer, 16, and three of her friends were in an abandoned building that collapsed; the friends died, and Mara escaped with no memory of the accident and, other than a bad case of PTSD, no real injuries. Her family moves from Rhode Island to Florida to help her heal, but that doesn't go very well. Mara is having nightmares and increasingly frequent horrifying hallucinations. Or are they? Her private school is populated with mostly snotty rich kids, with the exception of her one friend, Jamie Roth, and Noah Shaw, a gorgeous guy with a British accent who has both a dangerous attitude and reputation. As Mara tries to figure out whether or not she is crazy or if there is something more to her strange connections to people who have died, she and Noah become closer, causing other students to assume that he is using her like he supposedly used other girls. There is no graphic sex in this book, only some language, and anyone who thinks old-fashioned romantic scenes can't move teens today will be proven wrong here. This boy will make readers swoon. As her love life heats up, Mara remembers more about the night of the accident and learns more about her abilities. The characters are real and wonderful, and the supernatural story is riveting. While the ending seems a little forced to make the various pieces fit, the final pages leave some mysteries unsolved and hint at a sequel. Expect this book to fly off the shelves.—Jake Pettit, Thompson Valley High School, Loveland, CO
Kirkus Reviews

A girl tries to cope with her own survival after the deaths of her friends in this psychological—or is it paranormal?—debut suspense tale.

Mara understands that she's suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after having survived the collapse of a building that killed her best friend, her boyfriend and his sister. To escape constant memories, the family moves from Rhode Island to Miami, and Mara enrolls in a pricey private school populated by spoiled rich kids. She falls for Noah, ultra-wealthy, British, handsome and perhaps untrustworthy girl-magnet. Her relationship with Noah comprises much of the story, even as Mara keeps seeing her dead friends in the mirror. Meanwhile, Mara tries to cope with a nasty student couple bent on destroying her and with a teacher who hates her for no discernible reason. Add to that her defense-lawyer father, who's taken on the high-profile trial of the day and the book has one too many subplots, which, along with a bit too much description, leads to its excessive length. Hodkin writes strong prose that engages readers and creates some unusual, attractive characters. She designs an absorbing story that appears to be heading toward an interesting sequel. By the end, readers may be wondering if this is a psychological, paranormal or crime story, adding to the intrigue.

Even without advisable cuts, a strong, inventive tale. (Suspense. 12 & up)

The Barnes & Noble Review

Vampires, werewolves, and other members of the mainstream supernatural club do not appear in this debut novel. Yet Mara Dyer, a "B student with a body count, " is plagued by vaguely unbranded mysterious -- and murderous -- events. Psychosis, ESP, or PTSD? Hard to say.

Mara's troubles begin after she wakes up in the hospital, the only survivor of an accident at an abandoned New England lunatic asylum that killed her two best friends and her then-boyfriend. Her parents move the family to South Florida for a fresh start. Our romantic hero, when he appears, wears "Chucks with holes worn through, no laces, " likes dogs, hates yellow, and stands out for his English accent and notable lack of an orange complexion. His name is Noah, and alas, according to the school gossip, the man is a whore. Are the tales true, or is their teller -- a suitably fake-baked blond named Anna who dresses like "an accountant's mid-life crisis" and has a novel evil sidekick, Aidan, a gay, meathead bully -- just jealous? As Noah charms her mother with lilies, her older brother with discourse on the "Kafka-Nietzsche nexus and the parodic sonnets of Don Quixote, " and Mara herself with Jeff Buckley, Camus, Cuban food, and a costly yet thoughtful birthday exorcism, the two engage in the kind of Hepburn-Tracy-esque banter that makes their mutual intentions clear.

The last-page cliffhanger leaves the nature of Mara's troubles unresolved and a sequel all but guaranteed. While the dead bodies, when they appear, can sometimes feel like an awkward intrusion into an otherwise witty and cosmopolitan novel, many background narratives -- Mara's matrilineal connection to India; an Animal Liberation Front subplot, her "token black Jewish bi friend" -- promise some interesting real-world possibilities.

Amy Benfer has worked as an editor and staff writer at Salon, Legal Affairs, and Paper magazine. Her reviews and features on books have appeared in Salon, The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, The Believer, Kirkus Reviews, and The New York Times Book Review. Reviewer: Amy Benfer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442421776
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 10/23/2012
  • Series: Mara Dyer Trilogy Series, #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 456
  • Sales rank: 874
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Michelle Hodkin

Michelle Hodkin grew up in Florida, went to college in New York, and studied law in Michigan. She is the author of the Mara Dyer trilogy, including The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, The Evolution of Mara Dyer and The Retribution of Mara Dyer. Visit her online at

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Read an Excerpt

Laurelton, Rhode Island

THE ORNATE SCRIPT ON THE BOARD TWISTED in the candlelight, making the letters and numbers dance in my head. They were jumbled and indistinct, like alphabet soup. When Claire pushed the heart-shaped piece into my hand, I startled. I wasn’t normally so twitchy, and hoped Rachel wouldn’t notice. The Ouija board was her favorite present that night, and Claire gave it to her. I got her a bracelet. She wasn’t wearing it.

Kneeling on the carpet, I passed the piece to Rachel. Claire shook her head, oozing disdain. Rachel put down the piece.

“It’s just a game, Mara.” She smiled, her teeth looking even whiter in the dim light. Rachel and I had been best friends since preschool, and where she was dark and wild, I was pale and cautious. But less so when we were together. She made me feel bold. Usually.

“I don’t have anything to ask dead people,” I said to her. And at sixteen, we’re too old for this, I didn’t say.

“Ask whether Jude will ever like you back.”

Claire’s voice was innocent, but I knew better. My cheeks flamed, but I stifled the urge to snap at her and laughed it off. “Can I ask it for a car? Is this like a dead Santa scenario?”

“Actually, since it’s my birthday, I’m going first.” Rachel put her fingers on the piece. Claire and I followed her.

“Oh! Rachel, ask it how you’re going to die.”

Rachel squealed her assent, and I shot a dark look at Claire. Since moving here six months ago, she’d latched onto my best friend like a starving leech. Her twin missions in life were now to make me feel like the third wheel, and to torture me for my crush on her brother, Jude. I was equally sick of both.

“Remember not to push,” Claire ordered me.

“Got it, thanks. Anything else?”

But Rachel interrupted us before we could descend into bickering. “How am I going to die?”

The three of us watched the board. My calves prickled from kneeling on Rachel’s carpet for so long, and the backs of my knees felt clammy. Nothing happened.

Then something did. We looked at each other as the piece moved under our hands. It semi-circled the board, sailing past A through K, and crept past L.

It settled on M.

“Murder?” Claire’s voice was soaked with excitement. She was so sketchy. What did Rachel see in her?

The piece glided in the wrong direction. Away from U and R.

Landing on A.

Rachel looked confused. “Matches?”

“Mauling?” Claire asked. “Maybe you start a forest fire and get eaten by Smokey the Bear?” Rachel laughed, briefly dissolving the panic that had slithered into my stomach. When we first sat down to play, I had to resist the urge to roll my eyes at Claire’s melodramatics. Now, not so much.

The piece zigzagged across the board, cutting her laughter short.


We were silent. Our eyes didn’t leave the board as the piece jerked back to the beginning.

To A.

Then stopped.

We waited for the piece to point out the next letter, but it remained still. After three minutes, Rachel and Claire withdrew their hands. I felt them watching me.

“It wants you to ask something,” Rachel said softly.

“If by ‘it’ you mean Claire, I’m sure that’s true.” I stood up, shaking and nauseous. I was done.

“I didn’t push it,” Claire said, wide-eyed as she looked at Rachel, then at me.

“Pinky swear?” I asked, with sarcasm.

“Why not,” Claire answered, with malice. She stood and walked closer to me. Too close. Her green eyes were dangerous. “I didn’t push it,” she said again. “It wants you to play.”

Rachel grabbed my hand and pulled herself up off the floor. She looked straight at Claire. “I believe you,” she said, “but let’s do something else?”

“Like what?” Claire’s voice was flat, and I stared right back at her, unflinching. Here we go.

“We can watch The Blair Witch Project.” Claire’s favorite, naturally. “How about it?” Rachel’s voice was tentative, but firm.

I tore my eyes away from Claire’s and nodded, managing a smile. Claire did the same. Rachel relaxed, but I didn’t. For her sake, though, I tried to swallow my anger and unease as we settled in to watch the movie. Rachel popped in the DVD and blew out the candles.

Six months later, they were both dead.

© 2011 Michelle Hodkin

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 430 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 431 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Best book I read ALL year! Hands down!

    Just wow. There are literally no words for my reaction to how this book ended. So excuse me while I ramble for a second... this book was AMAZING. Just amazing. It's hot, twisted, funny, crazy, awesome, amazing... did I mention amazing? Easily my favorite read of the year so far. EASILY.

    This book starts off with Mara Dyer and an accident. An accident that killed her friends and left her the only survivor. She awakes in the hospital with no memory of what happened. After convincing her family to move away from the memories Mara's world starts to turn upside down. She has no idea what is going on with her, but with the help of Mr. Noah (SEXY) Shaw things may be beginning to make sense... or are they?

    Honestly, you think you know what is going on, you think you know what is happening but up until that last page... every theory is thrown from your brain (so make sure you're wearing your seat belt)! I can't give a review like I normally would because I know it would be entirely to easy to spoil something. This book was twisted in the best possible way. I tore through the pages. Noah Shaw is just the sexiest boy ever. His every move, every word (English btw!), his touch, his swag, his hair, his necklace, the way his eyes devour Mara... I. Just. Can't. Get. Enough. Of. Him! The images in this book are also so vivid and I want to know more... so much more! I want to know about Mara. I want to know about Noah. I want to know about.... you really didn't think I was going to tell you, did you? ;)

    Seriously, buy this book... no buy FOUR, because I promise you, you will love it. I want Book2 SO MUCH words can't even describe how much I want book2. I need to know what the HECK happened at the end of the book... my jaw seriously dropped to the floor. It all made sense but... HOW. HOW. Just wow. I'm in love with this book. I will being buying more than one when it comes out. One to keep and hold and snuggle with. One to give away so I can share the MARA DYER love, and the others i'm sure i'll hang them around my room or something. ;) I cannot rave enough about this book, so I'm going to cut myself off, but before I do... Mad kudos to you Michelle. I loved the concept, the story, the romance, the family, the friends, and the cover is just so gosh darn beautiful. A million stars out of five. :)

    PS. I want Mara to wear yellow in the next book. Just for fun ;) HAHAHA.

    52 out of 54 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Pulse Pounder Until The End - Phenomenal Debut

    The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is inventive, pervasive, and completely mind-boggling. Each and every answer leads to more questions and to more mystery. Michelle Hodkin's storytelling is spot-on, with pitch-perfect flow and unbelievable revelations. I was glued to the page, frantic for more information, but dwelling on each scene at the same time.

    Mara is one of the most perfect characters because she is funny and flippant, but a good person at her core. She has a very messed up past and unraveling it with her is like digging for treasure, revealing another piece of the puzzle one excruciatingly minute after another. Mara's relationship with her family grounds her though and keeps her sane. It also makes her feel that much more realistic to the reader. Some of my favorite scenes involve her and her two brothers.

    And all the scenes with Noah are fantastic. Their banter may be petty, but I couldn't help but want more because sexy British boy is sexy. He's also got quite the alluring mystery to him. We already know Mara is swathed in confusion, but Noah has a few skeletons in his closet as well and I enjoyed digging them out. Also, there is hotness and it is swoony and I want my own Noah.

    On top of everything are Mara's nightmares and hallucinations, which create a dark tone that lingers even throughout the lighter scenes - side note: Jamie, Mara's first (and only, really) friend at school is freaking awesome. Loved him! - Something big is going on and finding out involves death, creepiness, and a lot of strange things.

    The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is, by far, one of the most crazy awesome, what just happened-filled, mystery-laden books I've ever read. Everything about it pulls the reader in and refuses to let go. Michelle Hodkin's writing is enthralling and tantalizingly good. The mystery and intrigue are done in a way that the very first chapter will have you hooked and by then, you're a goner. You'll have to sit and read. And read and read and read; until you reach the end and just stare at the page in awe. That's what this book will do to you.

    20 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 29, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Loved it

    I enjoyed reading this book. The writing was easy to follow and from the beginning I was drawn in.

    17 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Twisted and Beautiful.

    My first thoughts after The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer: *Speechless* and then after being speechless I became very paranoid. Like scared to look in the mirror after you take a shower paranoid. This was crazy twisted and beautiful. No one told me how creepy this was going to be. When I wasn't sitting around looking under my bed I was sitting trying to understand what just happened. One page I think I know what's going on and then the next it's like I haven't even read the pages at all. I didn't feel like I was READING the story of Mara, I felt like I was LIVING the life with Mara. This isn't the typical everyday normal life, but Michelle Hodkin wrote it in a way that I believed that this was normal. As normal as the writing made it, Mara's life is anything but normal. Mara is a bit on edge when she finds that she doesn't remember what happened the night when her friends were killed. She doesn't remember why she was the only one who survived. Mara lives in fear of everything she sees and hears. Day after day with the fear of herself and what she might do. You'd think that after being traumatized by an event like that the last thing Mara would do is fall in love. When Mara does something, it's never something ordinary, not even when she falls in love. Mara ends up falling for the school's most gorgeous guy, Noah Shaw. He got to me the second he spoke with his English/British accent. *swoons* Noah started off as a real jerk and a total player, and I'm using that loosely. He's arrogant, slick, and dark. Of course underneath there's a whole different guy who I don't even know. I loved everything about this book. From the original plot to the characters developments, especially the characters themselves. I just ate this book up the second I got it. I understand that there is a lot of hype going on for Mara Dyer and some may be wary of reading it. In my opinion, this book was as amazing. I do see where the opinions are kind of weighted to either you absolutely love the book like crazy or absolutely find nothing about you like. But give it a shot because The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer has to be one of my favorite books I've read this year.

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2011

    Couldnt stop reading!

    Seriously, i couldnt set my nook down! I had to know what would happen next. Surprise after surprise. This is probably one of thd best books ive read, and i want more!

    11 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    This deservers infinity stars!!!

    I thought this was such an amazing book to read. I devoured it in one sitting until my mom yelled at me to go to sleep:P I think this happened to many girlies out there, I totally fell for Noah!!! Gosh he is so I can't even explain it he is so perfect and not just a pretty face that is for sure!!! I absolutley in love with his smexy british accent. I literally died whenever he spoke:} I can't really tell you what it is about because it is really hard to summarize you just neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedddddddddddddd to get off your butt, go get this amazing book, and read it until you finish it. Oh and heads up don't read the last sentence of the last page because I did that and it ruined the book for me:( But still so good!!!!

    9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2011


    So glad i found this author cannot wait for the next book and hope the same characters are still entwined! AGREAT SURPRISE

    8 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2011

    Pure genius

    Michelle Hodkin captured my mind...and my heart with this one. This dark, twisted mystery left me wanting for more. I must have more Mara Dyer!

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 24, 2011

    A book that deserves its hype and then some

    Really 4.5 stars

    This has to be one of the most hyped books of the year, as well as one of the most controversial. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to read it. Once I started it, if I could have read this book straight through, I would have. It's that engrossing, and when I was reading, all I cared about was figuring out the question we've all seen: Who is Mara Dyer?

    After surviving a horrible accident, Mara wakes up in the hospital with no memories of how she got there. Once her parents tell her that her best friends all died while she survived, she begs to move away. The family moves to Miami, where Mara and her older brother Daniel attend private school. There Mara meets Jamie, the token best friend, and the beautiful and intriguing Noah Shaw. And then strange things start happening. Mara is eager for her memory to return, hoping that she will start to understand everything, but each piece of the puzzle only leaves her more confused. Not only does she have to fight to stay relatively sane, but also she has to fight her growing attraction for Noah, about whom she has been warned. But Noah seems different to her, and he could just be her key to unlocking the mystery surrounding her.

    The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a perfect blend of mystery and romance, with a dash of the paranormal. But even without the "great mystery," as it were, I think this book would still be incredibly good. Michelle Hodkin definitely has a way with words. The quality of writing and the depth of the story made me forget about everything else. The characters were so intriguing that I didn't mind reading about their day-to-day activities. They each had their own baggage and their own stories to tell, which in some books can be overkill, but here it only made me care about them all more. And Noah Shaw...he is swoon-worthy. It's almost impossible not to fall in love with him. Learning about him was just as exciting as learning about Mara. These are two characters that actually complement each other very well.

    If you've read other reviews of this book, then what I'm about to say will come as no surprise. About three quarters of the way through the book, things start changing. I'll say it: Things get downright weird. There were times I was confused. My questions weren't answered by the end of the book. BUT. This book is a mystery. It's told in first person, so we only know what Mara knows. Mara doesn't understand everything, so how could we? I definitely wanted more explanations, but I believe that they will come in the next book. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy speculating what else Michelle has in store for us in this highly inventive, obviously very complex story.

    This is a book that deserves its hype and then some. The overall mystery is so intricately weaved, and with the addition of unforgettable characters, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a fabulous debut novel. I am already eagerly awaiting the sequel!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2011

    I LOVED This Book! A MUST Read!

    This is definitely One Of Those kind of books. The kind that grips you tight from page one and still has a hold of you long after you've read the last sentence on the last page. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a stunning and impressive debut novel from Michelle Hodkin. I found it absolutely captivating, riveting, smart, highly original, and brilliantly written and developed. To say that this book is simply a Paranormal-Romance or a Psychological Thriller or Mystery or Contemporary Fiction, doesn't really seem to do it justice to me, simply because it's kind of all of these things. It's a word potpourri made of all things awesome, beautiful, chilling, startling, and deeply intimate.

    The story itself blew me away with its originality, emotional layers and explosive ending. The story moves at a nice, natural pace and has a real lyrical flow. I liked that the story was told from Mara's perspective and that I was, essentially, in her head, seeing things unfold through her eyes, because it is Mara's story, it's the story of her unbecoming. There's a haunting beauty to the paranormal and romantic aspects of Mara Dyer, while there also exist a startling, yet irresistible pull that I felt from the emotional aspects of this book. The actual paranormal aspects are different from anything I've ever read, and there's a real dark, dangerous edge to them that make them exciting and intriguing. But it's the emotional and psychological aspects of this book, the unbecoming or really the unraveling of Mara Dyer, that kept me captivated. Hodkin's depicts the unraveling, the coming apart of Mara in such a realistic, honest and stripped bare kind of way that it was, at times, almost relentless with its stark emotional onslaught, but in the most breathtaking and impossible to ignore kind of way.

    I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, but I will say that Mara's story is one that will leave you reeling and will have people talking. You'll want and need to talk about Mara's unbecoming, her unraveling, her romance with Noah, and her choices because they are all thought provoking and unforgettable.

    MY FINAL THOUGHTS: I was captivated from beginning to end, and the ending left me breathless, wide eyed, and longing for more. I love this book and HIGHLY recommend it to all of you.seriously, you MUST read this book!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 20, 2011

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    Utterly Entertaining!

    THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER is filled with witty characters, mystery, and a sizzling romance that will leave you begging for more. I was in a book slump and this book brought life back into my endless days of book gloom. Once I started reading this book, I couldn't stop. The chemistry between Mara & Noah sent sparks off the pages. I knew this book had elements of paranormal abilities and mystery but I found myself not caring about that at all. I just wanted more and more Mara and Noah scenes. I now have a favorite new couple!

    I love Hodkin's writing. She totally seduced me with her words. There were so many scenes that I adored in this book that I found myself sighing or writing down some of my favorite quotes. Mara's journey to find out what happened to her the night her friends died became quite an addictive page turner. There were some events that came to light that were unpredictable which is always good when you can keep me guessing. However, I want to point out that I did wonder a couple of times about how one event/incident correlated to another. The ending was quite the shocker. I did not see that coming and yet I'm still trying to put all the pieces together to find out what was really real and what was not.

    I can't wait to read more about Mara and Noah. Perhaps, a bit of light will be shed in the next installment on how it really went down. Plus, I really want to know more about what's going on inside of Mara's head. I seriously can't stop thinking about Noah. I think I have a bit of a crush on him now. Can't wait for more!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2011

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    Dark and Sexy

    Dark. Sexy. Hilarious. Mysterious. Heart-pounding. Hair-raising. In short, this novel is incredible. In her unforgettable debut, Michelle Hodkin crafts a spine-tingling tale of death and desire that will leave readers clamoring for more. Mara Dyer is the best kind of heroine -- cynical and witty, biting and deeply flawed. Her struggles with insanity are enthralling, and her search for truth gripping. In her upside down world, it's impossible to tell what's real and what's just a terrible nightmare. Mara is sharp and sassy, refusing to let anyone walk over her -- whether it be her controlling mother, the school's requisite Queen Bee, or even snarky boys with British accents and smoldering looks. Noah Shaw had me at "British accent." He is simultaneously sexy and infuriating, a bewitching combination that will leave readers (and Mara) befuddled. Though he possesses the casual arrogance of the drop-dead gorgeous, he has more than a few secrets of his own, revealing a sweet vulnerability that makes him utterly irresistible. Noah's hauteur is a mask -- one that crumbles in the face of Mara's unflinching directness. They have both met their match, and their delicious dynamic will leave readers ravenous for more. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer features some of the best flirtatious banter I've ever read. Noah and Mara are intellectual equals who can keep pace with one another's rapid-fire minds (and mouths). Their smart and snappy repartee will have readers writhing with laughter even in the midst of this psychological nightmare. The back-and-forth is constant, an unexpected contrast to the hidden horrors lurking just beneath the surface. Thankfully, Hodkin steers clear of the unbelievable love-at-first sight, instead letting their love/hate chemistry burn its way into an undeniable attraction. Noah and Mara are like fire and gasoline, and Hodkin ratchets up the sexual tension until readers are ready to explode. It's impossible to know what's coming next in this twisting, turning thriller of a romance. Hodkin keeps the answers both Mara and readers so desperately desire just out of reach, making the search for truth all the more tantalizing. As Mara quickly discovers, not knowing is the scariest thing of all. The darkly surreal atmosphere will keep readers on the edge of their seats while the twisted, voyeuristic deaths will leave them reeling. Mara's trippy psychological episodes are an emotional thrill ride, all culminating in a mind-blowing conclusion that will leave readers stunned and begging for the sequel NOW. ~Review from thebookishtype[dot]blogspot[dot]com

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 9, 2011

    Couldn't put it down!

    This book kept me on edge throughout. It's a winner, no doubt! Michelle Hodkin pulls the reader in as learn about Mara, her new life in South Florida and the creepy things that start happening around her.

    Recommended for an audience of teens through adults.

    I would absolutely purchase another book by this author. I understand that this is her first and, therefore, look forward to more by Michelle Hodkin.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    This was a definite page turner. Great book to read with Halloween coming up. It's a little creepy and keeps the suspense till the very end.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    Love love love

    Okay so im 23 and it takes a pretty incredible novel to haunt me like this one did! I was so relieved this story was not cheesy! Beautiful and creepy story! Read in one day!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2012


    The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was a good read. However... it did have it's flaws. The plot was amazing and some parts were shocking. Unlike what most reviewers say, this book isn't scary. Sure some parts were disturbing, but not gonna hide under the blanket scary. More like wow that was weird scary. I also did not like Noah. I hated him when he made his apperance. He is so full of himself and I despised him. Also the story line was slow. I wanted to know what was going on with her. The plot took to long and by the time I got to the part about the cause for Mara's psychotic episodes, I was happy but not too happy. All in all, this book was good and I really enjoyed it but I wished it got to the point quickly instead of waiting 20 pages to move onto something else.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2011


    This book just has too much going on. It starts out realistic then takes an odd turn

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2011

    OK But I Needed More

    As many have said, it was well written. However, I kept wanting the author to move the story forward, and I kept not getting it. In one scene after the next, I felt as though we were just treading water. Too many pages went by without really serving to do anything except further develop the characters - which was done well. The story was intriguing, but I just kept saying to myself "can we please get on with it PLEASE?!?!" It felt to me as though Ms. Hodkin did't have enough material to complete the trilogy (or whatever she has in mind) and was just subjecting me to filler. The questions she raises, if addressed, were done so in a fashion that struck me as cursory and somewhat forced. The ending left me sort of confused and wanting answers that were not coming. Frustrating. My recommendation would be to wait for the second book and then read both back-to-back. Hopefully, that will lead to a more satisfactory experience. I'll have forgotten all about these carefully developed characters by the time the second book comes out in a year.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    Didn't love it... didn't hate it...

    Hmmm. honestly I'm not really sure what to say about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

    A lot of other blogs have said that about this book. And then continued to rave about the book.

    I'm not really sure that's what my feelings were. I have a feeling this review is going to sound more negative than I mean it to.

    It took me a lot longer than I would have liked to really get into this book. Some weird stuff started happening but I didn't find myself going "Oh my gosh, what is going on?! I must read this NOW to find out." It was more like "huh, that's kind of weird, I guess". I think I went into this book with too high expectations after all the hype that surrounded it. I think it was expecting it to have the creep factor that Anna Dressed in Blood did. Sadly it didn't for me.

    What I did really like about Mara Dyer was the romantic factor between Mara and Noah (love the name Noah btw). There was so much tension between the two and I couldn't help but smile at the two of them. My daughter kept asking me "what's so funny mom?" as I was reading. The banter between the two of them was great.

    I think my biggest problem with this book was that I felt like I was missing about a third of the book. There were many things that weren't explained, left very open. Many seem to have liked this about this book but for me it was just frustrating.

    I'm sad to say that is was only a 3.5 out of 5 stars for me.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2011

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    Cant wait for the next

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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