Looking back at this book I wish I had delayed reading it a little as I think all the hype that surrounded it adversely affected my enjoyment of it. I'm not really sure what I was expecting to be completely honest with you but I do feel as if I am borderline with this book and hence struggling with the review. I do intend on reading the second book The Evolution of Mara Dyer in order to follow the direction the story takes and uncover the enormous plot twist *Zips Lips*
To be honest I don't think I completely gelled with Mara; she is a seriously whacked out little chickie BUT who the heck wouldn't be with all that surrounds her. Her sarcastic sense of humor did endear her to me. The whole point of the story is to understand Mara and for me I felt as if I had barely scraped the surface and I think this contributed to making me feel frustrated with the flow of the plot. A lot of the narrative is spent inside Mara's head which only provide a narrow and often unreliable viewpoint. I felt as if I desperately needed to see the wider picture in order to gain clarity.
What really stood out in this book was the romantic element provided by the utter swoonalicious Noah Shaw. He is seriously drool worthy, and definitely made the book for me. The way he is with Mara is heart warming, providing much needed hope and optimism.
So while I feel decidedly indifferent to most of the book I adored Noah and shall continue to read the series and hope I can bond with Mara.
Mara Dyer wakes up in hospital with no clue how she got there. She doesn't remember sneaking into an abandoned insane asylum with her boyfriend, Jude, and friends Clare and Rachel or its collapse. She doesn't know why she's the only survivor.
Left with PTSD that makes her hallucinate visions of her dead friends, Mara's family move from Rhode Island to Miami to begin afresh. But Mara's new start at Croyden Academy goes awry when she runs foul of Anna and Aiden by attracting the attention of Noah Shaw, a blond English boy with devilish good looks and a reputation as a sexual predator.
Despite the warnings of her only friend, Jamie, Mara is drawn to Noah and when her hallucinations of other people's deaths start coming true, he's the only person she can turn to. But Noah has secrets of his own, secrets that will leave Mara questioning just who and what she is ...
Michelle Hodkin's debut YA novel is a weird mix of psychological thriller and paranormal fantasy that doesn't quite hit the mark.
Mara's hallucinations are vividly realised and creepy both because of what she sees and her reaction to the same. For me, they're the most powerful scenes in the book. I also liked the fact that Mara is mixed race and has an Indian mother because it gives the book a cultural edge. It's a shame that the cover chooses to show a white girl instead.
However the relationship between Noah and Mara is nothing that hasn't been shown in other YA fiction. Noah's the standard good looking, heart-breaking rich boy who all the girls fancy. His secret is easy to guess, his family issues didn't interest me and I found his behaviour too controlling.
The book's slow to get going and doesn't decide whether it's a psychological thriller or a paranormal fantasy until the final quarter, at which point there's a deluge of plot points. Yet Mara never asks the obvious questions in her quest for answers and shows a superficial interest in finding people who can help her, which I found frustrating. Jamie disappears half-way through the book for contrived reasons, which was disappointing as he provided most of the wit and tension with Noah.
In conclusion, there's some good writing here but ultimately it didn't grip me enough to be particularly keen to read more - notwithstanding a cliff hanger ending.
on 23 September 2013
I've thought about this review very hard because part of my problem may be that I was expecting something more original, based on the hype.
What I didn't realise before I bought it is that three-quarters of the story is more or less located in a US high school, and it's a US high school we've all been to before. Mixed-up, sparky heroine; handsome bad-boy who's actually a good boy; gay best friend; bitchy girl who takes a dislike to the heroine and decides to get her into trouble. Now, I've read a lot of these before, but perhaps the target teen audience hasn't, so maybe that won't matter to a lot of readers.
More seriously, the ghostly/paranormal elements for the first three-quarters don't really work. Whilst we get to understand that Mara fears for her mental health, the scary stuff isn't especially scary or thought-provoking. The paranormal story really kicks in for the last quarter of the book.
At this point in the tale I thought I'd be writing a 4* review saying that it's not a bad read for teens - there are parts that made me laugh out loud (like the over-protective mother evolving into the Eye of Sauron) but it's not witty enough, original enough, or paranormal enough, to merit more stars or to recommend its crossover into adult paranormal/fantasy fiction. Hence, for adults, it would be more of a 3* read.
I'm sorry to say I felt I had to demote it another star after I'd read the last 10% of the book. Partly the woolliness shown as Mara decides what to do with her ability, but mostly because of the 'cliffhanger'. It's not a cliffhanger if the reader hasn't a clue why a random event has happened, or what the consequences might be. It came over more as if the trilogy had been written as one book, but the split into three books has been put in the wrong place. I suppose that's what you'd call a pacing error.
Will I read the sequels? I don't think so, but I would pass my copy of Unbecoming to a teenager for an easy read.
I was actually really enjoying this book right up until the part where they were wading through a swamp with alligators. It just kind of lost me with where the plot went from thereon. The beginning was very promising nonetheless. Mara is a girl who survived an accident but three of her friends were killed. In order to heal her family move but that does not really help because she has hallucinations and thinks she might be going crazy. The author plays it really well, it had a good vibe and felt realistic with a good dose of confusion what was going on there. But then in the last quarter in the book it finally takes a turn that did not work for me. I’m not at all attracted to sci-fi/paranormal things and this is kind of where the book takes you. It was not at all clear in the book jacket. The writing was good though and it has a very interesting cliff hanger that certainly piqued my curiosity, but I think I will still give the sequel a miss.
If you liked reading my honest opinion, please give me a vote so I can get closer to the top reviewers. Thank you.
on 21 October 2014
I started off really liking this but somewhere in the middle I found my interest waning :(
There was a great sense of mystery here but maybe it was the maintaining of said mystery & suspense that just proved too much for me.
A part of me nearly wishes that this was a standalone story that wasn't supernatural. I thought the PTSD angle on its own was so interesting & was been dealt with so well.
I think the other thing for me is that I didn't fall in love with Noah like everyone else did. I don't think I got to know him enough to love him. Honestly, he screamed Edward Cullen to me, which was a bit off putting. (don't get me wrong, I was a fan of Edward, but copycats kinda annoy me)
Although the chemistry between them was undeniable.
Also there were a number if inconsistencies that bothered me. I won't go into them cause I am too tired & can't really be arsed LOL
I will more than likely continue on but I won't be rushing into it straight away.
on 17 February 2014
I purchased this book because I had read some reviews on it and it seemed like a pretty interesting book. But once I read a few chapters, the story/plot didnt seem that engaging or enjoyable, perhaps it was because I expected it to be much better and have read some really good books. But I kind of forced myself to finish this book. If you're looking for a quick read or are interested in this sor of genre then I'd say go for it but I havent read the next book. Simply because I cannot be bothered and I am not interested in it. I bought it a few months ago, read it and now its lying on my bookself as good as new and has not been touched since. So overall its an okay book, but not my type really. I'd probably go for books like perks of being a wallflower, divergent, game of thrones, john green, patrick ness etc. But thats just me. >.<
on 23 August 2015
This book shows promise for the following books. I'm not normally a fan of the supernatural powers stories, but the concept of this intrigued me enough to buy the whole set. It is a good story, and an excellent way of dripping back-story to make you want to read all of it quickly to find out what happened. However, a word of warning for the discerning parent and teenager, this book does have quite a bit of bad language (use of the f-bomb quite a few times) which just seemed entirely unnecessary. A good script doesn't need it, so the 4-5 star rating is dropped to a 3, and I'm not sure that I can honestly recommended because of it.
on 18 August 2013
They say you should never judge a book by its cover and generally that's a good rule. But lately I'm beginning to see a new pattern emerge in teen books: If the cover is good, it's probably making up for the ugly soul inside. Take any book by Cassandra Clare, for instance. But in spite of seeing plenty of bad reviews on Goodreads for Mara Dyer, I decided to give it a go. A girl who lost her friends and boyfriend in an accident she can't even remember? I expected a gripping, sinister psychological thriller. Unfortunately, the book completely misses the mark.
The story takes place after Mara wakes up in hospital, recovering from a tragic accident that killed her two friends and her boyfriend. The only trouble is, she can't remember what happened. Completely distraught, she is prescribed medication and moves with her family to Florida where they hope a fresh start will be good for her. But Mara's troubles don't end there: she's now having hallucinations about her dead friends and she doesn't get on well at her new school. But then she gets involved with the school's illusive bad boy and things seem to go from bad to worse.
If the plot makes you want to read it, you're not the only one. I fell for the plot too. But let me explain why it isn't quite as good as the basic storyline makes out. To start with, Mara herself was really annoying. She refuses to take her medication, but she never consciously makes this decision so rather than it building up to a great storyline, it just provides an excuse for Hodkin to write about her hallucinations. But these hallucinations aren't even remotely thrilling or scary. Any fear Mara has after these hallucinations is momentary; she didn't dwell on them the way you or I would if we started seeing dead people. Also, we soon realise that the boyfriend that died was a pretty nasty boyfriend, so having had that experience I couldn't understand why Mara then started dating the notorious bad boy at her new school. On top of that, the whole school knows that Noah uses girls for sex and then dumps them, so WHY is Mara still interested? It's not explained at all; Mara simply goes from hating him for no real reason to loving him for no reason.
The book is full of cliches. Mara is the typical tragically misunderstood heroine, the new girl at school who finds herself inexplicably drawn to the classic bad boy/mysterious loner guy... there's even a scene where just after the new girl and the mysterious loner have started dating, he drives her to school, puts his arm around her in front of everyone in the car park and the whole school stares... and of course the mysterious loner turns out to be pretty loaded. Twilight anyone?! You've also got the gay best friend; the school mean girl who has a history with the bad boy and HER gay best friend. The plot is also a bit too predictable. I guessed pretty near the start what was revealed as a twist on the last page, a twist which is supposed to leave you hanging for book two but which made me roll my eyes and say "Of course THAT would happen..." It wasn't the only plot twist I saw coming way before it happened; Hodkin just didn't cover her tracks well enough.
Very little of real interest happens in this book, so it drags quite a bit. Then, when something finally does happen, it felt like such a farce that I was waiting for someone to jump out and shout "PUNKED!" at any moment because it was so far-fetched and unexpected that I was certain it wasn't happening. But it WAS happening, it wasn't one of Mara's hallucinations or even a practical joke. Had Hodkin built up to it a bit better, if Mara had questioned what was happening more than she did, it would have been an incredible climax.
So what DID I like? Well I really enjoyed Mara's recollections of the night everything happened. They intended to spend the night in an abandoned mental asylum so the events of that night feel like the thriller I was hoping to read. The memory of that night came back to Mara in stages which, while an interesting plot device (if a little unoriginal), felt authentic and believable. I also loved the whole idea of the plot, which is why I read it in the first place and why I kept reading even when I was bored, but I just feel Hodkin could have done so much more with it. Cut the cliches, add a pinch of tension and a dash of fear here and there and this would be an amazing trilogy. As it is, I'm left mourning for the amazing story I was promised but didn't get.
on 28 June 2015
i've had this on my to-read list for a long time and was really excited to read it. I made it just past half way before i couldn't bear to read it anymore. I really didn't like Mara. Like, at all. I disliked the male lead, Noah, even more and together they had what makes a really unhealthy relationship in my opinion! The plot just felt like it was going anywhere and it all became about the romance between Mara and Noah and not about the strange things that were happening to Mara.
on 26 November 2013
I wasn't aware that this was a trilogy when I started it...
The first half of the book is quite sedate, you think it's just about a girl with PTSD and a bit of a love story, it completely changes half way through, to something much more unusual.
If you can stick with it, this book is an OK read but the second book is well worth the patience! I have fallen in love with the characters, can't wait for the final installment.