Mon, June 27, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin Review

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
By Michelle Hodkin

September 27, 2011
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 464 pages

Mara Dyer doesn’t believe 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 strangely unharmed. There is. 


She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love. She’s wrong.

— Amazon.com description

This book has been buzzed about and shrouded in secrecy and has whipped everyone into a tizzy. Which is so fun, no?

So here’s my summary: Mara was in this awful accident that totally traumatized her. She moves to a new school to start over and meets a smarmy-yet-cute loner dude.*

His name is Noah, and I see him as a mix between Logan Echols from Veronica Mars, Ryan Philippe’s character from Cruel Intentions and Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl. He’s bad, but secretly sweet and misunderstood, and maybe Mara can inspire him to change, etc. Girls love that type of hopeless positive thinking. Bonus: English accent.

Their sexual tension was great. As was the book’s overall tension! I mean, this is what I’d describe as a psychological thriller. Mara’s memories are all blocked, and she’s got to put the pieces back together to solve the mystery of what happened to her.

I loved it. Until about three-fourths of the way through.

The terms “Gatorgate” and “Strange Ending Disorder” have been thrown around (mostly by Rachel). Let’s just say something happens with alligators, and after that…I didn’t really like it anymore. I had a million questions and no clue what was going on.

So what do you do about a book that you really enjoyed for three-fourths and are puzzled over for one-fourth? Is it still a success? I don’t know. If you’ve read it, let me know what you think — I hear the ending might be rewritten for final publication. (Update: I have just been told this is just a rumor. Ignore me.)

Anna Reads young adult book blog

*Loner dudes always make for great stories – just ask the Forever YA girls; they will go on about this if you want them to.

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: michelle hodkin, paranormal, romance, thriller
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20 Comments

  1. Melanie said:

    I keep seeing tweets about the ending of this book. I really need to read it soon so I get what people are talking about, but I'm nervous that I won't like it. It does seem like the ending is almost universally disliked, so that'd be very interesting if they decided to change it for the final printing. Will be curious to hear what is decided on that front.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

  2. Stephanie (PoetrytoProse.com) said:

    I keep seeing iffy things about the ending, to the point where my excitement for the book died a little, but you pulled me back in with the Logan mention. I'm very much looking forward to meeting Noah. Thanks for the review!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

  3. Lenore Appelhans said:

    Aww! Those poor gators! Did you see the pic I posted on twitter of me in my Mara Dyer t-shirt in front of a gator? GATORGATE FTW!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

  4. We Heart YA said:

    Hm. Yeah. We're not sure what you do in a situation like this… It kind of depends on whether you feel the author just couldn't hold it together and wrap the book up right, or if they "cheated" you as a reader by setting up the wrong expectations. In the case of the former, we usually feel bad for the author; in the case of the latter, we usually feel upset.

    How interesting that the ending might be rewritten for final publication… That would be a great sign that publishers and authors are really paying attention to feedback.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

  5. Ginger @ GReads! said:

    You captured my thoughts perfectly. I loved the majority of the book too, then it took a turn for just completely weird & confusing. However – Noah totally made that weirdness worthwhile!

    P.S. It wasn't a car crash 😛

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

  6. Em said:

    Haven't read this one yet, but keep hearing about these gators…makes me want to rewatch Adaptation (Spike Jonze & Kaufman brothers film) which is probably quite different from Mara, but has the mid-way gator change up thing in common. Anyway, glad you liked at least the majority of the book!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

  7. thelibrarianreads said:

    Wow really, the ending might be rewritten. Not sure how I feel about that. I've heard so much controversy/buzz over this ending I really want to read it myself! If it gets re-done will another blogger be kind enough to lone the original for comparison?

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

  8. Jen (Makeshift Bookmark) said:

    We've already discussed this at length, so you know Gatorgate didn't bug me and I pretty much understood the majority of the crazy that happened. However, I do see your point!

    Also, the ending won't be rewritten (I asked Michelle Hodkin, because I was flipping out.) Apparently there will just be some changes within the storyline that will not interfere with how it ended. Just FYI 🙂

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

  9. Miss Remmers said:

    I'm so excited about this book. I hadn't heard of anything about the ending until your review so I'm really excited to see what happens!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

  10. April (BooksandWine) said:

    Pretty much I agree with this entire review.

    GATORGATE!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

  11. Mrs. Heise said:

    I actually loved this book in it's entirety! It was the shocking twist at the very, very end that threw me. Although the gator part was a little weird, I think it actually set up the spark needed for Mara to start understanding what was going on with her and what role Noah played in it. She needed a shocking, real thing to start the events that led to her learning what was going on (or so she thinks). There were definitely a lot of paranormalish reveals and twists in the last part of the book, but it made other things make more sense for me.

    You can read my complete review/thoughts for another perspective here on my blog
    http://heisereads.blogspot.com/2011/06/unbecoming-of-mara-dyer-by-michelle.html

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

  12. Amy @ bookgoonie said:

    Thanks for the honest review.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

  13. Julia :) said:

    I REALLY want to read this. Its right up my alley because I absolutely adore psychological thrillers. I've read in a ton of reviews that the ending was a little confusing and weird though. Isn't there a sequel? Hopefully it will all wrap itself up in the end! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

  14. Ashley said:

    Huh. Most people I've heard from really only have positive things to say about this book. Interesting to know the end wasn't as great. I'm a little… done with paranormal lately, but maybe I'll give it a shot. Who knows. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

  15. thelibrarianreads said:

    @Jen (Makeshift Bookmark)

    Ahh, cool. Thanks for the update…Everyone has been buzzing about this ending it's become why I want to read the book so much, lol.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

  16. lisa [the nerd] said:

    i love that you said smarmy. also, i can't WAIT to hear what you think of Audrey,Wait!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

  17. Lynn Marie said:

    UGH I so don't know what to do about this book! I think I'm going to wait until it's on the shelves finished and eventually get it 🙂 It's kind of intimidating me! Great over all review though!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

  18. Miss Page-Turner said:

    Alligators, are you kidding?! I really wanted to read Mara Dyer, but the ending sounds more than strange. I am so curious now!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

  19. literarymusings said:

    Thanks for the review! This is definitely a book that I will pick up when it comes out.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

  20. Meaghan said:

    I actually LOVED this book. The alligator thing was a little weird but it actually sorta makes sense if you finish the book. Sure there are a ton of unanswered questions but a lot of them get answered in the second book. This was one of my favorite reads this year. Maybe try reading book two….I know you secretly want to read more about Noah.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, June 27, 2011

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