Tatiana's Reviews > The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
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Jun 06, 11

bookshelves: 2011, why-the-hype, ya, romancelandia, tres-annoying
Recommended for: fans of "Hush, Hush"
Read from June 05 to 06, 2011

Well, let me get this out of the way - The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer has nothing whatsoever in common with The Adoration of Jenna Fox, even though their publisher-provided plot descriptions are almost identical. What it is similar to is the infamous bestseller Hush, Hush, but it is just a tad less offensive. So, if you are a fan of that novel, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is your next natural reading choice.

I'll attempt to refrain from excessive ranting here, but, goodness, this novel is just as bad (or as good, depending on how you look at it) as Hush, Hush.

First, there is this wonky, messy and too often nonsensical paranormal story line that is, naturally, all but abandoned to concentrate on romance later in the book. Mara wakes up from a coma to find out that her 3 friends have died in an accident which she miraculously survived. She doesn't remember the circumstances of it, but something strange starts happening to her. She seems to be seeing ghosts everywhere, people around her are dying, she keeps losing chunks of time. Things are so bad with Mara, that her parents consider sending her to an asylum for psychiatric treatment. But eventually they all settle on helping her deal with the trauma by moving to Florida. Here during her first disastrous day in a new private school Mara meets, you guessed it, a scorching hot bad boy named Noah Shaw.

Of course, he's been around the block and allegedly dated every girl in the school. Of course, he is loaded. Of course, Mara is the first girl he ever cared about, cared enough to announce her his girlfriend and, oh my, drive her to school! Where have I seen this before?

What follows is exactly what you'd expect, a "romance" that is pretty much an exercise in sexual innuendo, douchebaggery and you-are-mine/i-belong-to-you mumbo-jumbo. I got sick of the constant alluding to "nailing" or "knowing what I put in my mouth before swallowing" very quickly. To be fair, unlike Nora, Mara does not just quietly take suggestive and offensive remarks thrown at her, she can return them as well - the "swallowing" line is hers. Plus, Noah doesn't try to kill her.

I suppose some female readers will find this sort of dating attractive, amusing, hot even, but for the life of me I can't work up any love for the male lead who is described by Mara's new best friend as a guy who uses and discards his girlfriends "like condoms" (allegedly).

What else is there to expect? In a Becca Fitzpatrick-like fashion, Michelle Hodkin fills her book with nonsensical things like a teacher (in a posh private school!) throwing stuff and insults at her students, or fortuitous situations where our lovebirds find themselves in various beds with no adults around (of course, there are super-duper paranormal reasons why the two can't go all the way), or one-dimensional characters - Mara's blonde mean girl arch-nemesis who turned a complete slut after dating our hero and an obligatory best new black Jewish bi friend (much better and more inventive than that obligatory best gay friend, right?)

Pardon me while I go roll my eyes at this mess some more.

P.S. I dare you to explain what exactly happened in this book.
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Reading Progress

06/05/2011 page 100
22.0% 4 comments
06/06/2011 page 260
56.0% "Skim-reading to the end."

Comments (showing 1-50 of 143) (143 new)


message 1: by Cassy (new)

Cassy I like this cover! It reminds me of the one for Imaginary Girls (plus new opening to HBO's Big Love).


Tatiana These water covers are very popular right now. And yes, they are pretty too. What's inside is unclear though. I've read some reviews of Imaginary Girls and I have a feeling it won't be a winner.


message 3: by Cassy (new)

Cassy I agree. They are eye-catching, but I ultimately won't be reading either of these books. Unless, of course, you rave about this one - then maybe I'll consider it :)


Tatiana LOL. We'll see. I try to be very selective about what I read, but still, if an ARC comes my way I just can't stop myself:)


Emily May Oh good, I'm glad you're reading this. It'll help me make my mind up about it.

The goodreads description makes it sound a lot like The Adoration of Jenna Fox, which I really liked.


Tatiana I've been going back and forth about The Adoration of Jenna Fox for years because of the mixed reviews. Maybe it is time to read it finally.


message 7: by Megan (new) - added it

Megan Wow the description really does sound like The Adoration of Jenna Fox!


Emily May Oh dear... I'm interested to see what this review brings.


message 9: by Cassy (new)

Cassy I'm with Emily. You use one star ratings sparingly!


message 10: by Ann (new)

Ann Oh wow. Interested in reading your review of the book now.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Whoa! that bad?


Crystal uh-oh =(


message 13: by Alyssa (new) - added it

Alyssa Oh no. I feel a lovely rant coming on...*shivers in anticipation*


message 14: by Angie (new)

Angie REALLY?????? WOW!


Tatiana I thought it was pretty bad. Hope my upcoming review won't disappoint:)


message 16: by Nomes (new)

Nomes loved the review

i am not disappointed in any way as it wasn't on my wishlist anyways (i read the first chapter and thought the prose and hook was somehow trying too hard to be edgy or cool or something...)

i am disappointed in how certain YA releases get all the hype though. most hyped books i read really let me down or have me rolling my eyes. the rest i can't even be bothered reading.

thank god for the hidden gems of (actual 5 star quality) books that i find from recs on goodreads ~ would not want to rely on whatever book is being pimped out as the Next Big Thing.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Great review, a friend was supposed to send this but I might have to decline. Thank goodness for reviewers like you who save us from some really bad YA.


message 18: by Kristen (new)

Kristen It's too bad--I guess books like these are a good reason to not judge a book by its cover. Because the cover is SO PRETTY!


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

I think that your 1 star reviews are some of the more amusing to read Tatiana.


Tatiana Reading my fellow GR-ers reviews have saved me from reading a lot of rubbish. I am happy to pay back and take one for the team, occasionally:)


Amelia, the pragmatic idealist umm, grossness. Definitely no longer bummed that I didn't get an ARC of this @ BEA. I totally agree with you - douchebaggery is so not charming, not romantic, but apparently it sells, and apparently there are all sorts of girls who will love Noah Shaw.
Thanks for saving me a whole lot of time and energy :)


message 22: by Lisa (new) - rated it 1 star

Lisa Great review, Tatiana. Thanks for the warning. :)


Vinaya Is it a sad indication of my overall personality that I didn't give a sh*t about this book before, but now I really really want to read it? I need to work on this unholy fascination with trainwrecks. O_O


message 24: by Dominika (new)

Dominika Yeah, thanks for the warning! That sounds soooo bad. Glad I can skip reading this one then.


Tatiana Vinaya wrote: "Is it a sad indication of my overall personality that I didn't give a sh*t about this book before, but now I really really want to read it? I need to work on this unholy fascination with trainwreck..."

Vinaya, I am sure you won't be the only one. And someone will think it a great find. Haven't we all been there?


message 26: by K. (new) - added it

K. Boo! What a let down and I was actually intrigued...these YA novels will be the death of me.


Jillian -always aspiring- *facepalm*

Another one bites the dust. . . I will be moving this book to my "to read if I'm bored" shelf because I really, really don't think I could handle a Patch-like love interest. I don't need any repeats of that.


message 28: by Sue (new)

Sue Tint I love this line from your review:
"(of course, there are super-duper paranormal reasons why the two can't go all the way)"
That sums up A LOT of YA romance :)


message 29: by Milly (new) - added it

Milly Loved the review as well T! Saves me time and headaches!


message 30: by Trish (new)

Trish Doller I had no idea this was paranormal. Pass.


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

This book was SO annoying. I hated it. Skimmed it and then sent it back.


message 32: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca I hated Patch and Hush Hush went into the DNF pile thanks to him. I guess I will be avoiding this one.


message 33: by Yani (new) - rated it 5 stars

Yani I just have to say I did not like Hush Hush at all, and I liked this book, ALOT!


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

"douchebaggery" hahaha cant wait to use it.


message 35: by Emilie (new)

Emilie thank you for saving me from this one. i have many similiar complaints about the book i just finished.


Tatiana Richard wrote: "do you still have the ARC? I'd buy it off you."

I have given it away.


Mariya thanks for the review, now I know what to expect. =DDDDDD


message 38: by Sunnykimmy (new) - added it

Sunnykimmy Hmm The adoration of Jenna Fox wasn't one of my favourite books, so the fact that The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is nothing like it might be a good thing. Now I'm wondering what I'll think of this one,because it seems to have mixed reviews.


Angela @Tatiana: I finished this earlier this afternoon, and I couldn't agree with you more. I'm waffling between 1 and 2 stars, but I think it's going to fall into the one-star range. I could have a rant all and up down this book right here, but I don't want to be spoilery to those who will still read it. I still must say, though: (view spoiler)

Okay, so maybe I fibbed a bit about holding back the rant. My apologies.


message 40: by Tatiana (last edited Aug 30, 2011 06:18PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Tatiana Rant on, my dear, rant on:)

(view spoiler)

Hope to see your review soon.


Angela Tatiana wrote: "Rant on, my dear, rant on:)

[spoilers removed]

Hope to see your review soon."


Heh, thanks. I needed to get out some of it to someone who would understand my frustration. I want to write a review of it very much, but I am falling sorely behind as of late and the start of a new semester doesn't make it seem like my reviewing time will increase in the near future. I will try, though! :)

And, yes: (view spoiler)


message 42: by Kendra (new)

Kendra Thanks for the review! Whenever I see something compared to Hush Hush or similar, I run in the opposite direction : )


message 43: by Vi (new)

Vi Vi Black. Jewish. Bi. Wow, he/she's triple-Othered. Three opportunities for fail stereotypes.


Shannon (Giraffe Days) So glad I read your review before getting this (I'm a sucker for pretty covers - when will I learn?). I never did read Hush Hush for precisely those reasons.


Katie(babs) I want a YA where the guy is a beta virgin for once. Making the love interest of the heroine as a sexy man ho douche bag is so belittling to the reader, especially young girls who think they can hook up with a "bad boy" tween and change him for the better.

At least Edward from Twilight was a virgin. *sigh*


Tatiana Seriously, when is this glorifying of man hos going to stop? What is so attractive about guys with no respect for women and commitment issues?


message 47: by Cory (new) - added it

Cory Katie(babs) wrote: "I want a YA where the guy is a beta virgin for once. Making the love interest of the heroine as a sexy man ho douche bag is so belittling to the reader, especially young girls who think they can ho..."

I write beta-virgins. But their female/male love interests aren't douchebags. I blame Breakfast Club, and Grease, and Dirty Dancing, and Marlon Brando, and Shakespeare.


Katie(babs) Cory wrote: "Katie(babs) wrote: "I want a YA where the guy is a beta virgin for once. Making the love interest of the heroine as a sexy man ho douche bag is so belittling to the reader, especially young girls w..."

I so need to read one of yours then!


Katie(babs) Tatiana wrote: "Seriously, when is this glorifying of man hos going to stop? What is so attractive about guys with no respect for women and commitment issues?"

as old as time. Look at old school romance. Heroine was pillaged, raped and abused by the hero and she falls in love with him. Christine Feehan's latest is like that. Just wait for my oh so lovely review about that book!


Tatiana I've noticed that myself, Katie. All the rapy hero cliches swiftly moved from adult romance to YA romance. I wonder if it is because so many grown women (including me) read A LOT of YA.


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