The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

4/5 Stars
Published by Simon and Schuster Books
Published September 27, 2011

Synopsis: Mara Dyer believes life can't get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. Turns out, it can. One night, an asylum, four friends, and one accident that will change her life. There must be more to the accident Mara Dyer can't remember that left her friends dead. There is. After everything she's been through, she doesn't believe she can fall in love. She's wrong. After waking up that day in the hospital, Mara and her family move from Rhode Island to Miami, Florida in hopes of putting the event behind them. Mara realizes, there is no escape.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was highly recommended to me by multiple friends. When I finally picked up the book, I was hooked and ended up reading the entire trilogy in three days. As this being Michelle Hodkin's debut, I would say it was an excellent first release. It was well written and had a distinguishable plot the moment the book began. The dialogue of this book is witty, sarcastic, and snarky, all of that of a teenage girl. 

Hodkin provides us with a character who is not your stereotypical, happy-go-lucky girl. Instead, she gives us a teenager who is intelligent and sardonic, which is one of the reasons why I connected to her easily. Haunted by her past, Mara suffers post-traumatic stress which leads to her character being very unreliable and not the most sane, but that's what adds to the entertainment of the story. She is vigilant and analytical; always processing the information she receives and thinking thoroughly about a situation - in this case, the asylum accident. Underneath all the uncertainty and diffidence, there is a strength and righteousness that drew me into her character. 

Despite her prolonged paranoia, Mara is able to open up to some characters in the story. The most important one being Noah Shaw. Noah Shaw is the notorious bad boy of Croyden, but his personality goes far deeper than that. He's got a really great way of speaking that captivates you and leaves you wanting more. Underneath that bad boy, insta-crush facade, he is charming, flirty, and funny. However, he demonstrates arrogance, self-appraisal, and verbal facility. He is very protective of Mara despite his knowledge of her being a ticking time bomb and continues to stick it out by her side. The relationship between Mara and Noah is very edgy and fun, which made me constantly go back and reread parts with the two of them together. 

Michelle Hodkin has a very engaging writing style. It is a lovely balance of descriptive, humorous, and suspenseful, but also sarcastic and intelligent. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer blew my mind and crawled underneath my skin, making me itch for more. This story took a lot of double takes because it was so mentally stimulating, but it was hard to put it down to take a breather. The striking descriptions and suspense left me breathless and paranoid; I felt exactly what Mara did - hope, worry, and confusion. As the story begins to unfold, you begin to realize that not everything is as it seems and the twists and turns will leave you terrified and stunned.

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