Cait's Reviews > The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
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** spoiler alert ** This review can also be found at my blog, Cait's Corner!

Laides and Gentlemen, gather 'round! welcome to......*trumpets blare* Cait's Review of Mara Dyer!

The profound, prolific, and purely dramatic prologue. *lights dim and a single spotlight focuses on me; a narrator's voice comes out of the loudspeakers*

Cait doesn't think The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer can get any more terrible than reading Twilight and having no memory how she read that without imploding.

It can.

She believes that there must be more to this book with the beautiful cover that left her friends squealing and biting their nails in anticipation and left her mysteriously excited.

There isn't.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's read about this book, she can't not instantly fall in love with it.

She's wrong.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is everything I hoped it wouldn't be, and even more. Not the good kind of more, but the oh-dear-God-please-no-make-it-stop-I-can't-take-this-anymore- kind of no. Now having said that, though, I really can understand how some people would like this book; the writing is fine and there are actually some good quotes like:

I twisted my arm to curl him behind me and he unfolded there, the two of us snuggled like quotation marks in his room full of words.

Mara does have some pretty good quips and comments especially at the beginning of this book; I actually did gigglesnort a couple of times.

Can I just say thank God or else this would have been a full-blown rant, for sure

The pacing is actually pretty fast; I went through this book a lot quicker than I ever thought that I would, and it did, for the most part, hold my attention. However, it held my attention for almost all the wrong reasons. Here, let me explain:

First up, everyone, we have our maestro of this disaster, Mara DYER (hint, hint, people about her speshul-ness)

I know that I've said that people have been insane before, but this girl literally is one of the most insane characters that I've ever read about. Until at about this point in the book I at least had a small grasp on the belief that she hadn't totally lost it, but, at these lines, I totally abandoned any support for this character. I know that some books are meant to have the MCs bust a nut, like Katniss from the Hunger Games, but Mara's break with reality was not believable and somewhat scary/absurd especially because we're supposed to believe that she's not insane. :

"This must be very difficult for you."
You have to admit, the paranoia was humorous. What could the detective possibly know? That I thought Morales should die and she died? Crazy. That I wanted the dog's owner punished for what he did to her and he was? Laughable. Thinking something does not make it true. Wanting something does not make it real.
"Yes, it is very difficult." I said, nodding again, making the hair fall farther over my face to mask my insane grin.
"I'm sorry for your loss," he said. My shoulders trembled with the attempt to stifle my laughter.

Back it up, you crazy-ass bitch. I will kill you if you come one step closer.

How in the hell am I supposed to defend and believe in the fact that she's not insane when she does things like that? There are also other times ( I believe 4-6 other times) to support this where she just stands somewhere for up to two hours and has no idea what she did there and why she just stood there for so long. Her "ability," which I will talk about later, should not attribute to any of these "episodes" that she has. I can't even comprehend any of what she does; it's all so random, and put in the worst situations that make me anything but like Mara Dyer. I wouldn't touch that girl with a ten-foot pole if I saw her in real life. Call me cruel, but after you kill someone then you start maniacally laughing about it; about how funny it all is, then I will not be friends with you or even equate myself with you. Ever.

Oh, and another thing that really annoyed me? How much she complained about her "perfect brother" this and "he should be less perfect" that. All she ever does is gripe about how perfect he is, and not in a joking manner either. She means it as in the teenage angst why does he have to be so perfect while I'm not kind of way. You know what, Mara? Your brother has been nothing but kind, gracious, and covering your sorry little ass every step of the way! Let me list them, here:

1. He talks and convinces your mother several times to let you come out and hang out with people your age, while your mom thinks you're too mentally unstable to do so and, frankly, I agree with the woman
2. When he does convince your mom he has to promise to not leave your side and basically alienate the rest of society; even the girl he really likes, to stick by you to make sure you don't go crazy and start laughing manically by yourself in corners about killing people.
3. He drives your sorry ass to school every single day even when you're being depressed and in that typical Bella Swan kind of "oh, woe is me my life sucks I hate everyone" moods which, by the way, happened a lot.
4. He is constantly out for your best welfare, and apologizes to you right away if he's done something, in your definition of it, "wrong". Most of the time it isn't even his fault and really shouldn't apologize to you, but he swallows his pride anyways.
5. He's basically the prefect blend of being attentive to your needs and not being over protective (like your mom is) and still letting you still do your own thing without judging you.

So, why in the hell are you whining about how perfect he is and wishing he do something bad in his life to lower himself to your sorry level? Without him, you'd have probably killed yourself by now. You wouldn't have been able to do half of the things that you did without him! Just for once, be grateful for the amazing gift your brother has given you by staying with you through thick, thin, and always has you covered. I just......I just.....*snaps*


I would rather have read a book just about Daniel and his girlfriend than read about you.

Also, whenever Mara's with her family, she's on this constant, never-ending loop with them. Their dynamic never changes even after several tragedies, and it's just so.......stagnant. It goes something like this:
Mara's mom freaks out. Mara gets mad at her mom for freaking out for perfectly good reasons . Daniel walks in. Daniel tells Mara something important about life and helps her. Mara makes a snide comment about him being "perfect". Mara feels oh-so-sorry about Mara and Daniel and mom. Mara sleeps. Aaaaannnnd repeat.

In short: Mara is annoying, selfish, self-centered, and insane. I'm not one of those kind of people that tends to enjoy that kind of writing, characterization, and repetitiveness. If you truly do and are the .0000000000000000000001 percent that enjoy that then, by all means, go for it.

And now, we have our illustriously lame, ineffable man-whore, Noah!

But you've had sex with people before!" (Mara)
"That was just for fun" ( you fucking little man-whoreish bastard Noah)

Nothing more needs to be said about.....about that. I have thoroughly insulted you with French insults, now.

Okay, just one more thing. By saying that comment am I not in any way against sex. If you want to do that with a person and you're just doing for "fun" then by all means. If you are, however, with a girl and tricking them into believing that you are some chaste saint, even though you've had sex with the entire female student body; going through them like used condoms, no less, then you can still say stuff that and have them still like you; then that's just messed up. Again, I'm not going to stand by your relationship, or with you as a person if you go around saying shit like that to a girl. Especially if all you want to do is "fix" said girl; take her on as your little project to make into the person you want her to be. Saying you want to help and fix someone is fine and cute if used sparingly, but when the person messes up that you're trying to help and you take is as your own failure because your obviously didn't "fix them enough" that's when it becomes a problem. Mara is her own person and should be treated as such no matter how much I may dislike her. She needs to be able to change herself, not you change her for her. That's not how it works or should work. This quote, actually, is the only time I ever agree with Mara about Noah.

" Is that how you see this working? I'll screw up and you'll take care of it, right?" I was just another problem that could be solved if only we threw enough time or practice or money at it. At me. And when I failed, he would just blame himself.

Otherwise, though, Mara was about as dull as a fruit fly when it came to their relationship.

I already talked about Mara, though, so back to Noah!

I guess the one thing left that I would like to delve into about Noah was how Hodkin changed the normal dynamic (view spoiler) Now in this book that's the opposite; (view spoiler) I can imagine Hodkin sitting in a chair if I interviewed her going
Me: So, Hodkin I would like to talk to you about Mara.
Hodkin: Yes, yes, sure! About how much you loved her?
Me: Uhhhhhhh we' I actually had some problems with-
Hodkin: Sure, yeah, right. Did you notice how I made Noah the one with the healer powers?
Me: That wasn't my question but, yeah, sure, if you want to talk about that I-
Hodkin: Wasn't it awesome! It's so different and cool!
Me: Well, actually, I do agree with the fact that it is different if you do it correctly, but I felt like there wasn't enough of a backbone to it, and the only time he used it was on Mara, (many times just to find out if she was lying when he asked inmate questions) and he really didn't seem to focus on helping people. Or anyone but himself, really. He didn't even notice Mara sometimes. He just wasn't much of a healer, so it didn't really work for me.
Hodkin: .......
Me: ..........
Hodkin: ...........
Me: .........
Hodkin: ........
Me: You still alive in there, Hodkin?
Hodkin: .......
Hodkin: ........
Me: ......
Hodkin: ..........
Me: *blinks*
Hodkin: But....but he's sooooo hawt! The rest doesn't matter!
Me: Uhhhhhh......
Hodkin: He's such an awesome healer! It's soooooooo different!
Me: Goodbye, Michelle Hodkin.

And last, but certainly not least, the poorly-written, non-preferable, plot!

Although I said this book was a quick read, it wasn't a fun read. There were so many in-between points where it was just an endless repetition of the same exact scene, but just slightly different. She probably could have cut a solid quarter of the book if she or her editor had noticed. I understand that there has to be a certain word count to publish a work for certain publishers, but if you can't get enough words in then you probably shouldn't submit it, or, if it's just that good, you'll submit it below the word count and they'll just like it that much. I would really rather not have to re-read the same lines or plot threads about ten times in one book. It's just not.......not what I want to do when I spend ten dollars on a book, obviously.

Oh, and there's a quote on the back of this book where an author who is supporting this book said at points you need to "hide under your bed covers" so, I tend to assume that that means there will be some scary/gruesome parts in this book. Was there? NO. There was never a single point in this whole novel that made me feel like I needed to hide or was going to pee my pants. The three times when people do die are not in any way terrifying; one is just a normal news report and we are only given details that her body is "horribly mutilated" and hear about a picture that was leaked on the internet. That's all. The two deaths we do actually see first hand are not overly graphic, and any other scenes that I would have expected to be scary weren't. It was almost over-dramatized, in way. Mara freaks out and becomes absorbed with soooo many small, insignificant things, that any horror or scariness disappears. When you read this book, expect a slightly darker theme, harsher language (there were actually a couple of fucks in there!) but that's it. Don't go into this having your breath catch in suspense or fear. Not gonna happen.

Like I said earlier, I really can understand why people would like this book. The common tropes like sleep-in-bed-with-your-love-interest-without-the-parents-knowing, and everything else that I listed is a lot more subtle than other novels like Halo, Hush, Hush, or Fallen, but my main point? It's. Still. There. Having said that, the masochist in me will read the next book; hopefully there will be more character development and the plot will get going. I beg on my knees crying I hope that it will get better, but doubt it. If there's a main thing I would say to this book it would be this, in the end:

Now here's a non-boring picture of the Doctor!

In the end, go ahead and read this book, but do so cautiously. You may be like me and hate it, you may be like some of my other friends and enjoy it. This review is just going out as a general warning to be careful.
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Reading Progress

10/30/2011 page 1
0.0% "Alright.....let's see where this one goes....." 4 comments
11/01/2011 page 10
2.0% "*strolling along reading this book when I get to....* A fucking Ouija board scene?! [image error] Oh dear Lord....."
11/01/2011 page 30
7.0% "Uhmmm okay. Random hospital scene is random, but.....I guess I will roll with it for now." 1 comment
11/02/2011 page 50
11.0% "Aaaaahhhhhh and here is our love interest. Noah Shaw. The outrageously hot, smooth-talking, man whore. Grah! [image error]"
11/02/2011 page 60
13.0% " she's friends with a black, outspoken, bisexual man with dreads.[image error] I'm sorry, but he's just a little bit too.....stuffed. I can only handle so many stereotypes in one person." 14 comments
11/03/2011 page 90
20.0% "I'm sorry, Mara, but there's no way in hell that just because Noah met you that he'd stop becoming the man-whore who's slept with almost all of the female student body! [image error] For real, Mara, for real." 11 comments
11/04/2011 page 220
49.0% "I feel like Mara's family is constantly on repeat. Mara goes home. Mara has an "episode". Mara's mom freaks out. Mara gets mad at her mom for freaking out. Daniel walks in. Daniel tells Mara something important. Mara makes a snide comment about him being "perfect". Mara feels bad about Mara and Daniel. Mara sleeps. Aaaaannnnd repeat. [image error]"
11/04/2011 page 250
55.0% "Soooo.......why am I reading this book, again? Basically all I'm doing right now is banging my head on the book going: [image error]" 4 comments
11/05/2011 page 320
71.0% "Okay, so this book is really getting worse. Seeing on the news that, right after she wishes the alligators were dead, that they're all dead? Wishing for two people to die in horribly gruesome ways and both happening exactly as she wanted it to right after? She's still not getting it?!?!?! [image error]"
11/05/2011 page 390
86.0% "I.......I don't understand. This whole section was like inception. She had a dream, inside a dream, inside a dream. I don't know what was real or not. I'm so confused, and not in a good way, either. Gah. That was a total waste of thirty pages." 2 comments
11/05/2011 page 392
87.0% "Ahhhhh. So we finally get down to the meat of this story after only.....393 pages. Noah is super-speshul healer boy! I'm sure Hodkin is probably going: HA! I made the boy the healer when it's normally the girl! That's sooooo different! And I'm going to respond to that with: sure, if you do it right. Which you're not. [image error] Sigh." 2 comments
11/05/2011 page 400
88.0% "Ahhhhhhh and we have the lie-in-bed-with-the-love-intrest-without-your-parents-knowing scene. This is so fucking boring and predictable. Excuse me while I watch the Doctor do some crazy hand moves, which is far more entertaining: [image error]" 1 comment
11/05/2011 page 430
95.0% " "But you've had sex with people before!" "but that was just for fun" I can't........I can't..... *seizures from the stupidity of that statement* [image error] I am so glad that this book is almost over..." 1 comment
11/05/2011 page 440
97.0% "BHAHAHAHA good job, Mara, having the woman you made shoot the other guy shoot your dad, too. Most authors don't actually have the MC seriously injuring people she loves because of her own amount of sheer stupidity, but you actually did it, Hodkin! Snaps for you. [image error] *gigglesnort*"
11/06/2011 page 452
100.0% " I was Jude. Jude. In the police station. Five feet away. Jude was still alive. Aahhhhhhh and the plot thins. Of course on the last page. But do you know what's even better? I'M DONE WITH THIS BOOK! [image error] Aren't you guys excited for me?!?!? [image error]"
02/09/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-31 of 31) (31 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

You must read this! But I can you tearing it apart pretty easily, so I really don't know >.>

Cait Well, Hana dearest, I've seen some pretty mixed reviews about this book, so I'm kind of happrehensive, but I'll try my hardest to go into with an open mind! :)

message 3: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 14, 2011 10:17PM) (new)

Good :) From what i've seen you either love it or hate it.

Cait :) I'm probably going to get this book sometime next week; I want to get a couple of books in, first, that I know is going to be good before I try to tackle an iffy one.

Steph Sinclair I can't wait to see this review. I did have this on hold for me at my library, but I cancelled it because I also had it on my kindle, which of course is now broken. -_-

message 6: by Becky (new)

Becky Hmm. This book looks really promising to me, BUT my current TBR list is super long. *sigh*

Sanette I too am looking forward to your review on this. It is next on my reading list once I struggle through the second half of Prophecy of the Sisters which I hope doesn't bore me to death. My problem is probably that I picked it back up after finishing the Iron Knight and it's pretty hard to concentrate when your still thinking about Ash and the Nevernever.

I hope Unbecoming is a good book, I had high hopes for it.

message 8: by ranne (new) - added it

ranne Oh my, that bad?
Cool gif. XD

message 9: by Sanette (last edited Nov 06, 2011 10:45AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Sanette Wow... that horrible? It was next on my list. That sucks!

Wendy Darling Hurry up, Cait. We're waiting.

message 11: by Cait (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cait Workin' on it, Wendy! I've had an hour-long presentation on the Iliad that I've had to do for a project so I had to put this review on the back burner yesterday. Hopefully I'll get it done today, though!

Annabelle Marie Veronica I'm waiting on this one eagerly, Cait(:

message 13: by Cait (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cait I know, I know, I'm trying to get it done! I've just been held up on this Iliad project and then I had school and volunteering and couple of other things. Sigh. Working on it!

message 14: by [deleted user] (new)


message 15: by Lexie (new) - added it

Lexie Is it weird that really negative reviews actually make me want to read this?
It was the same with Hush, Hush. Everyone says how terrible it is; it makes me want to see for myself. Even if it causes permanent brain damage.

message 16: by Surin (new) - rated it 1 star

Surin I'm so glad you brought up the point of Noah healer! I mean the guy didn't convince me at all he was a healer esp since he was screwing girls and throwing them around like used condoms. That to me doesn't sound very believable for a guy who supposedly can 'feel emotions' and 'fix people'. I feel like telling Noah "How bout honey, you fix all the girls you screwed and messed around with to only break their hearts?!" <_<

Wendy Darling Hah, you may want to spoiler-tag some of your review, dude. Nicely done.

message 18: by Cait (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cait Ohhhh yeah, I might. Let me go do that! And thank you!

Steph Sinclair So, you know, I'll be reading this one soon. LOL.

Great review!

Annabelle Marie Veronica Beautiful review, Cait!

Jasprit great review Cait I have never laughed that much ever before when reading a review :)

message 22: by Lissa (new)

Lissa When they say it will make you want to hide under the covers, they don't mean because it's scary. They mean because Noah's soooooooo hot that you just can't help yourself...

message 23: by Cait (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cait Jasprit wrote: "great review Cait I have never laughed that much ever before when reading a review :)"

Thanks, Jasprit! Glad I could make you laugh!

Annabelle Marie Veronica wrote: "Beautiful review, Cait!"

Thank you, Annabelle!

Stephanie wrote: "So, you know, I'll be reading this one soon. LOL.

Great review!"

Well have fun with that one, Stephanie I'm sure it will make you scream in agony I'm sure you will have fun!

message 24: by Cait (last edited Nov 09, 2011 05:57AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cait Lissa wrote: "When they say it will make you want to hide under the covers, they don't mean because it's scary. They mean because Noah's soooooooo hot that you just can't help yourself..."

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh (view spoiler) I seeeeee! It's so much clearer now!


message 26: by ℐεssιcα (new)

ℐεssιcα ❀ Your gifs are hilarious :)

Sarah Marie I really do like this book, but I agree with you about the characters. Most of the time I kept thinking if I hit them with a stick they might not be so stupid and self-centerd. I was also hoping this wouldn't be paranormal and Mara was just killing people because she's unstable... I think she's unstable both ways... but it wold make for a good Lifetime movie.

message 28: by Angelica (new)

Angelica You are too funny. I honestly had no idea what this book was truly about until I read your review and now I'm not sure if I'll read it or not.

Amanda I'm going to give up reviewing books I dislike and instead link to your reviews - this one had me laughing half a dozen time ;)

message 30: by Indrani (new)

Indrani i like this book a lot but I still adore ur review!!! u & sarcasm r besties!!!

Shauna My best friend has the collection of these books and bothered me until she was blue to read them. I am currently still on the first book. This is the longest I've ever taken to read a book because every time I pick it up and try to read it, I get bored of it. The beginning was magnificent but eventually went downhill, and fast.

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