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

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

4.6 435
by Michelle Hodkin
     
 

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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

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Overview

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."
SLJ

"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."
Booklist

"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
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)

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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442421769
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
09/27/2011
Series:
Mara Dyer Trilogy Series, #1
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
58,710
Product dimensions:
5.86(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.46(d)
Lexile:
HL600L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

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 MichelleHodkin.com.

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