The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
I have to admit this book lives up to all the hype it's been getting. It's an amazing story that was immensly fun to read. I loved the idea that we as the reader are really not sure what is going on, if Mara is really killing people or if she is just psychotic and seeing incredibly scary, intense visions. Even at this point after finishing the book I still find myself thinking about Mara.
Characters: Mara and her family unit are very connected. You can feel the love and the understanding that they hold for one another. They are so comfortable with who each person is, they all hold a certain place in the story and amazingly they all get along! I cannot remember the last time I read a book that involved family where the characters did not bicker or hold something against each other. The family structure was a breathe of fresh air to me and I loved every one of them. Mara is not the only one going through some hard times, they all go through this together.
Then there is Noah who I had a hard time with. I actually really appreciated the fact that Mara kept telling him to go away and tried to keep away from him. She is having a hard enough time at a new school making friends when Noah starts following her around when she's obviously not ready for a relationship and she pretty much tells him so. I am not team Noah just yet, I need a little more convincing to see what more he may be hiding, not that I don't see him and Mara being a great couple, just not convinced completely yet with their relationship.
Story: What I loved about this story was the eerie what is going to happen next bubble that surround it. As you are reading along, some of the visions that Mara has really jump out at you, you litterally think "WTF was that?" You as a reader get mixed up into this weird mixture of what is reality and what is a psychotic vision. They are completely crazy and fantastic at the same time. They are what really kept me reading at such a fast pace. I had so many questions and no, they are not all answered. The ending was another OMFG reaction that you want to scream "how can you leave it like that?" knowing that I have to wait until who knows when to get the next book.
The relationships between the characters were very curious to me as well. I really was at a loss when Jaime disappears from her life, he was so much of the first half of the book that it was a noticeble disappearance and I really missed the level of discussion between the two characters. When Jaime dissappears from the book, Noah starts to fill in more of those spots but like I said above, I'm still not a big fan of Noah and I wanted that other male figure to help talk Mara down from her anxiety. Now, her brother fit into that role nicely, but in the second half of the book the brother also takes a less prominant roll. It just focuses on Mara and Noah, and personally I don't think Noah is a good fit for her, he seems very dangerous to me and for somebody in Mara's condition, I am very wary of where they are heading. Noah seems to add to the anxiety and psychotic episodes than helping her heal.
Overall the things that I didn't like very much about the story, really make the story. The weirdness I felt between these characters obviously play a bigger role in the continuation of the story. There are so many questions to be answered and the ending had me dying, seriously not fair for authors to get away with such things!
I was seriously thinking of rating it 4 stars because of what I felt was a separation between the first half of the story and the 2nd half. But the fact of the matter is, if you finish reading a book and want to pick it up immediatly after your finished and read it again, I have to give it 5 stars. I have heard this book referred to as a "mind screw" and couldn't agree more.
Somebody point me in the direction of more books like this, and lets hope that Michelle Hodkin decides to keep writing, for many years to come.