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

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

4.6 438
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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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

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

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Mara Dyer Trilogy Series, #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.86(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.46(d)
HL600L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer 4.6 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 438 reviews.
jenababy13 More than 1 year ago
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.
Nikkayme More than 1 year ago
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.
VysBlog More than 1 year ago
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.
RenLOVER More than 1 year ago
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!!!!
Stephanie Hummel More than 1 year ago
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!
enticed More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book. The writing was easy to follow and from the beginning I was drawn in.
BookPortrait More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
WordSpelunking More than 1 year ago
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!
Fantastic_Book More than 1 year ago
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!
The_BookishType More than 1 year ago
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
Mspetter More than 1 year ago
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.
Matias Robles More than 1 year ago
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.
mary austin More than 1 year ago
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!
marshaK More than 1 year ago
So glad i found this author cannot wait for the next book and hope the same characters are still entwined! AGREAT SURPRISE
malosm More than 1 year ago
This book was a great read. I loved the authors writing style and the book wouldn't let me put it down. I would classify this as a teen horror novel. I was afraid to look in the mirror when I got up to go to bathroom late at night.
Jaime13 More than 1 year ago
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is like nothing I've ever read! From the first page I had absolutely no idea what was going on but I had to keep reading! It was like I was in the biggest game of Clue I had ever experienced! I mean really how did these people die? Who was doing it? Why were there leeches and alligators? All these things ran through my mind and left me scratching my head! Mara knows people around her are dying and she has to try to figure out why along with the help of a boy Noah Shaw that she tries not to fall in love with but does anyways. Noah is an enigma in his own rite and Mara doesn't know why the hot popular boy whom everyone refers to as a player has any interest in her at all. She honestly believes she's going crazy but strange things keep happening, and happening. As the strange things continue her mind begins to sort through her memories but what is real and what isn't? That is what she has to figure out and I can't say much about what she does find out because it will spoil the story. I absolutely loved this book and especially Noah! I can't wait for the next book in this series I have to know what's going to happen! Michelle Hodkin sucked me into the Mara Dyer vortex and I won't likely be getting out for a while. Mara Dyer comes out September 27th so if you want in on crazy awesomeness that is this book I suggest you go pick it up!
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
This is a type of book that gives you a good reading headache. Not a bad one, but a good one. I really loved it, when an author can engage to reader so well, that you are utterly lost and amazed at the same time. Written like no other, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer will drain you till your very last breath. What I liked most about this book is the great mind game the author, Ms. Hodkin plays on the reader. I am a huge fan of movies or books that mess with your head. I love being so engaged in the story that the reader doesn't even realize what is going on. Some things in the book were so inconceivable I had hard time putting it all together! Nonetheless, I still read every single word, every single page, without stopping. The characters in this book are another part of the book that really got me hook. The mystery of Mara Dyer, you really had to pay attention to in order to see the whole picture. I love it that Ms. Hodkin did a great job in keeping the read in suspense, holding their breath at every page turn. Every turn of the page leaves you wondering, what is happening next? Did that really happen? Questions pop in your head and you can do nothing but continue reading till you have your answers. Should you read this book? Yes. In fact you might need a nap after reading it just to get your head back together. Ms. Hodkin's wrote an amazing book that I can't say anything more but read this book. You must experience it yourself in order to see where I am coming from. The concept of the book, the storyline, the characters, the writing amazing from start to finish!
Emma_Ayala More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the best books I have read in quite a long time! It is a must read! I'm afraid of spiking so all I'm going to say is this: READ IT!
Paranormal1 More than 1 year ago
The book is a terrific read. NOT like everyone else, Michelle has her own style and voice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing! The twists are so awesome and the writing just instantly captures you. I fell in love with the two main characters and they are both so well written. This book is captivating. I went to 4 Barnes and Nobles to buy the second book but they were all out of stock so I ended up ordering it online. B&N should order more in their stores so that other young readers can find this!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book really drew me in and kept me interested. I was a bit surprised by the similarities between it, Twilight and 50 Shades. But despite that i really liked Noah Shaw. He was funny and complicated and his personality made the book. He had the complexity of Christian Grey with the goodness of Edward Cullen which made him a likeable and not boring combination of the two. Mara Dyer was a bit boring for me. Her personality was the same as most heroines in YA fiction these days. The dull, "I'm beautiful but have no idea and can't figure out why this guy likes me" thing is getting old. I tried to be understanding because she was going through a trama, but i got tired of her insecurity by the end. I don't know where this idea came from that girls have to be oblivious to any positive feature the may have to be a likeable character, but i'm so over it. Where are the confident teens who actually like themselves? I didn't expect a paranormal book when i started this so that threw me a bit. I typically am not a big paranormal fan but this was ok because it was light on the paranormal and the story itself was interesting even without it. Spoiler: Plus, the only thing that saved Mara from being as insanely dull as Bella Swan was the fact that she turns into Carrie when she gets mad. If it weren't for that i probably wouldn't have read the second one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From the start of this book, I was already zooming page by page. Every part had a unique thing about it. I just could not put this book down and when I finished I kept on looking back at some parts. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer has captivating, mysterious, romantic, suspenseful, and shocking parts in it. If you have not already read this, you NEED to now.
The_Book_Collector More than 1 year ago
I've read so many books that just seem like the same old storyline. This one really surprised me. It is a book to read over and over...then one more time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.