Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

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.

Even before BEA, buzz about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was circulating. Several of my fellow book bloggers came home with ARCs and the rave reviews spread like wildfire, so I asked Shanyn of Chick Loves Lit if I could borrow her ARC. Honestly? I’m not sure if I agree with all of the hype it’s getting. While Hodkin’s debut has a lot of interesting ideas, it was somewhat lacking in execution.

Even though it’s nearly 500 pages long, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was an incredibly fast paced read. For the most part, I didn’t mind the plot. A couple of plot points seemed fairly similar, and I had to wonder if some of them could have been cut. It also seemed like there were times in the novel when I was thinking, “Okay, I need to get an answer now” and Hodkin would just throw more questions my way. This is book one of a series, and I wonder if part of the reason Hodkin provided so little answers was not because she thought it was vital to the story, but because she wanted to sell not only The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer but the later books in the series.

The characters in this novel were simply meh for me. I liked Mara just fine, but I need some answers about certain aspects of her character, because otherwise I can’t connect with or understand. Without these answers in the next book I’m not sure if I’ll be able to enjoy this series. I’ve also heard a lot of bloggers rave about how awesome Noah is and honestly? I don’t get it. Sure, Noah could be a gentlemen. However, it also seemed like he became fixated on fixing Mara in so many ways that he sometimes lost sight of the good in her. Hodkin at least left room for her characters to grow, and I think this is an indicator that she has talent when it comes to character development, and that a lot of my issues are just nit picky.

The kicker in this novel for me was the writing. My pet peeve in writing is frequent (like once a chapter frequent) repetition of certain phrases, and Hodkin was guilty of this. I didn’t even think some of the phrases she used were accurate descriptors. But like I said, I read an ARC of this book, so maybe it’s changed in the final version.

I gave myself a few weeks to process after reading The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer before writing my review, and I’m glad that I did. The plot of this book is so crazy that I can’t decide if it’s over the top or brilliant. However, I think Hodkin’s craft needs a tad bit of honing. I think with a little less repetition and a few more answers, I could really love later books in this series.

Disclosure: I borrowed an ARC of this book from a friend.


  1. I guess we can't all love the same books! I personally loved every aspect of the book, but I'd heard not everyone loved it. When I heard that I couldn't imagine what someone wouldn't love about it so I'm glad to read a review of someone who didn't love it and get a better idea of why. Sorry it wasn't as good for you though!

  2. Hmmm, I got an arc from BEA, but haven't read it yet. I appreciate the things you pointed out, and even though you said you may be nit picky, a lot of readers are (like me). So repetitive phrases are one thing that can be a deal breaker in a book. I am curious however to read it, but I'm glad you pointed out a few things so that I can be prepared.



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