Steph Sinclair's Reviews > The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
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Hmm...Where do I even start with this book? I guess I should start by saying The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and I have this awkward love/hate relationship. If this book were a person, it'd be the boyfriend I sometimes had fun with, but never wanted to take with me in public because I knew he would do something stupid and embarrass the hell outta me. For majority of the first half of the book, I wanted to stomp it into the ground with my pair of patent leather pumps. However, somewhere along the lines, I started to enjoy myself a bit. I'd hear a strange sounds coming from my mouth only to realize, "Oh my, that was a chuckle." In many ways, I can really see why so many people would really like this book, but I can also see why others would want to gorge their eyes out with a high school cafeteria spork.

Mara Dyer wakes up in a hospital bed one day with no recollection of how she got there or what happened to her friends who were killed in the accident that she managed to survive. Hoping for a new beginning, her family packs up and moves to Florida. As the memories Mara thought were lost start to slowly make a reappearance and dead bodies seem to pop up like daisies, she notices something is not quite right with her. She, then, struggles to keep hold of reality while trying to figure out the mystery of what really happened to her in her old hometown.

The Good:

I'll start with the good first since there are a few things I did like and I have so much more "bad" to rant about later in the review.The cover is beautiful! It has to be one of my favorite covers of the year and I get shivers just looking at it. Not only that, but the book's premise really appealed to me and is easily the biggest reason why I continued to turn page after page. It was a surprisingly quick and easy read and the writing style wasn't bad either. I really appreciated that both of Mara's parents were around, even though they seemed to dissapear at the most convenient of times. And like I said earlier some of the dialog I did enjoy and found funny. Most of the best moments for this book is between Mara and Noah, the love interest.

...okaaayyy so that's all I got for the good. Man, that's a bit pathetic. It's barely a paragraph.

The Bad:

This book had a lot of potential and for the longest time, I couldn't exactly put my finger on what bothered me about the book. If it weren't for the following issues, this could have been a 4 star read for me, possibly more.

The books biggest issues are the actual characters and all the sterotypes that come along with them. They were completely extra. The gay black guy, the extra bitchy popular girl who hates the MC for some vain, insignificant reason accompanied by tweedle dumb (her trusty side kick or fashion accessory. I can't decide which.), the bad boy who truly isn't bad (he has feelings, he's deep and likes to "fix" people), and the obnoxious, perfect, older brother.

1. Jamie.
Jamie is Mara's new best friend in Florida. He also happens to be a bisexual, Jewish, Black male with dreadlocks and a tongue ring. Oh, and he's adopted. Yes, I know. He is quite a little token cocktail, isn't he? Hodkin, you want to put a PoC or a bisexual or a Jewish person in your story? Be my guest. But, why, oh why, did he have to be all THREE AT ONCE? And if he wasn't "Black enough" let's give him dreads. And, oh noz, he isn't "gay enough" either, we must add a tongue ring! And what the hell, let's urbanize him while we are at it. Funny thing is he knows he's the token character:
“But none of this matters, because you’re not going to listen to your token black Jewish bi friend, are you?”
That is the part where Hodkin almost owed me a new Kindle. I literally had to stop reading or I was going to lose it. His characterization was poor, poor, poor. It felt like he was trying entirely too hard to be both gay and Black, neither of which I found convincing. About halfway through the book we don't see him again and I couldn't even be mad at that because I was too busy celebrating the fact I no longer had to endure his weird hip-hop lingo anymore. I realize this may have been Hodkin's attempt to add diversity to her story, but guess what?


2. Daniel.
Or as I liked to call him: The kiss-ass perfectionist. He was just too over the top to be believable. He is perfect in every way: Perfect student, perfect son, perfect brother. I can totally see why Mara was annoyed by this. Every time Mara wants to go somewhere, Daniel has to first talk with their mother about it. AND IT ALWAYS WORKS. I have an issue when one sibling seems to hold that much power in a hosehold. There is a scene in the book where he is looking at the mail and says
“What lucky institution of higher education accepted me today?” he asked, eyes on the envelopes. “Ah, Harvard. That’s nice. And Stanford!”
Wow, so not only is he a kiss ass, but he's conceded too! If I ever saw Daniel out in public with his mom, it would go something like this:
I would to tap him on the shoulder and go, "Hey, buddy. You dropped something." "Huh? What? Where?" he'd say. And I would respond, "Your lips. I see them over there dangling off your momma's right ass cheek. Go and get 'em, will ya? It's distracting."

3. Noah
Noah is the bad boy love interest of the story that has had sex with the entire female population of the school. >insert eye roll here< His character is also over the top with bad boy stereotypes. He gets away with everything because everyone loves him. He is loaded with cash money. He's ridiculously good looking with a *le gasp* English accent. He's incredibly arrogant, rude and tactless. Oh, and most importantly, he only has eyes for Mara. Of course. Once he enters the picture, Mara completely forgets about everything. *cough*the plot*cough* I suppose it really isn't her fault. After all, Noah possesses a "panty-dropping smile." Hide your daughters!


Later in the story, a small piece of me actually started to like him, but unlike Mara, I couldn't excuse his original jackassness. Nope, couldn't do it.

4. Mara (What is your real name anyway?)
I didn't entirely dislike her, but I felt she made some really crappy decisions. This story could have really taken off and gone to an interesting place if she didn't become so obsessed with Noah. There were times where I thought she would use that crazy brain of hers, but then she would turn right around and ignore the problem. There was one scene when Jamie tells her (view spoiler) When she actually talks to Noah about it, he admits it and what does she do? She just changes the subject and they never talk about it again. Then, there are times when Mara's logical skills seem to fail her all together.
What could I say? Noah, despite you being an asshole, or maybe because of it, I’d like to rip off your clothes and have your babies. Don’t tell.
Oh, yeah, Mara. That makes total sense. Or how about when you and Noah are in his room about to kiss, but you decide you don't want to kiss him (view spoiler) Yet, you think having sex instead would be safer?


Because of situations like this, I just could not connect with Mara at all. I suppose I was supposed to feel sorry for her when her teacher threw chalk at her and made fun of her in front of the entire class. Sorry, Mara.


Then the teacher gave her an 'F' for showing her up on her oral exam. She told you to sit your ass down, Mara. That means do not pass go. Do not collect your $200. It means STFO. And you wondered why you got a failing grade. Then you went off, (view spoiler), and had a psychotic break down and lost two hours of your life. Was I supposed to care then too?


5. The Plot
I think The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer ran into the same issue Incarnate did. It got so wrapped up in the romance; it completely discarded the premise of the book. When something exciting actually started happening it completely came out of left field and hit Mara in the head. I was really disappointed that we really didn't find out more about Mara's abilities. The explanation given by the end of the book was easy to guess and I was expecting more answers. And I read somewhere that this book is supposed to scare you. Lies. All lies

6. The Ending
Damn that cliffhanger. I actually finished reading the book and I'm rewarded with the worst cliffhanger possible. I started screaming at my poor Kindle Touch (which is awesome, by the way. Thanks for asking. :D). WTF, dude!

Okay, I have to stop naming things that irked me or I'll start sharp shooting a star off this review. I'll read the next book, but along with Incarnate's sequel, it's going right on my "You're on probation" shelf.

Oh, and riddle me this: How is this book considered paranormal? You go the entire book with alomst nothing supernatural until the very end and suddenly it's paranormal? That's just lazy.

Okay, I'm really done this time.

More reviews and more at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.
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Quotes Steph Liked

Michelle Hodkin
“I've already learned Parseltongue. What else is there?"
"Elvish.”
Michelle Hodkin, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer


Reading Progress

11/26/2011
13.0% "I'm finding myself confused thus far."
11/27/2011
14.0% "Asscrown. Huh. That's a new one."
11/27/2011
14.0% ""A certain unkempt bastard with a panty-dropping smile?" Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos" 8 comments
11/27/2011
22.0% ""You're not like other girls." Oh, boy. Please do not tell me we are going down that path." 2 comments
11/27/2011
25.0% "Okay, question: Is Jamie supposed to be Black or Hispanic? His jargon seems to point in that direction , but I'm unsure. He has a hip-hop lingo going on...and it's a bit irritating." 6 comments
11/27/2011
27.0% "I was going to kiss him, and I was going to regret it. But at that moment I couldn't bring myself to care. *facepalm* Mara, I hereby dub thee, Nora Grey. Arise and kiss the douche bag asshole."
11/27/2011
28.0% "What kind of teacher throws chalk at the students? Lol." 18 comments
11/27/2011
32.0% ""Slutty Gryffindor" apparel?? Lol. This book! Lmao! Quick! Where can I find it?! Lol."
11/27/2011
32.0% "And just like that, I was completely, utterly, and entirely, His. I won't say it. I won't say it. I won't say it."
11/27/2011
38.0% "What could I say? Noah, despite you being and asshole, or maybe because of it, I'd like to rip off your clothes and have your babies. You really want me to say it... " 9 comments
11/27/2011
49.0% "So, Noah is Mr. Rich & Perfect. Why am I not surprised? I'm half expecting him to split the Red sea, cure cancer, or end world hunger with that panty-dropping smile of his." 7 comments
11/27/2011
55.0% "“I’d hit that so hard whoever pulled me out would become the King of England.” Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos There are no words. I.can't.even." 18 comments
11/28/2011
62.0% "...token black Jewish bi friend... Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos OMFG. And this my friends, is where I turn off my kindle...and go the fuck to sleep." 8 comments
11/28/2011
74.0% "I feel like this plot has come completely out of nowhere."
11/28/2011
80.0% "Ahhh! Noah's bank roll! Lol."
11/28/2011
93.0% ""You want to sleep with me, but you won't kiss me?" o.O Umm...what?! Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos That makes no sense in in the context it's trying to be used in." 1 comment

Comments (showing 1-40 of 40) (40 new)

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Larissa Also reading this currently aha.


Steph Sinclair How do you like it so far? I should be starting it for sure tonight after I finish my Midnight Sun review.


Larissa It's reallllllllly slow at some parts. Also it's more focused on romance rather then paranormal. I'm not a fan of the romance that is there. I'm fairly disappointed D: So far. I'm not sure..I had major hopes for it..maybe to much hope.


Steph Sinclair Oh boy. That doesn't sound too promising. :(


Larissa Yeah :/ Though others are loving it. Maybe it's just me? aha.


Wendy Darling No. No, it's not just you, Larissa. ;)


Hayden Casey I LOVED IT.
Sorry to totally go against everything you believe. Hhaa


Larissa Haha yay I'm not alone Wendy! (:

And it's all good Hayden. I do believe lots of people will love it and some will just dislike it. Just one of those books.


Wendy Darling Hah! I think we're in the minority, Larissa. We are waaay outnumbered by Hayden and his gang of Mara-lovers.

Should we take bets on whether Stephanie will like it? Hmmm!


Steph Sinclair LOL! I'm really hoping it will surprise me. Fingers crossed!


Wendy Darling I hope it will surprise you, too. And maybe even in a good way, hee hee.


Aleeeeeza SOOO curious about your thoughts on this one. i'd bet on you being on wendy's side, though :D


Steph Sinclair Aleeza wrote: "SOOO curious about your thoughts on this one. i'd bet on you being on wendy's side, though :D"

I usually am, aren't I? Stay out of my brain, Wendy! LOL.


Wendy Darling NEVER.


message 15: by Gina (new)

Gina I am still debating whether or not to read this book...


Larissa The ending is what bumped it up from a 1 star rating to a 2 star rating for me haha, major cliffhanger


Steph Sinclair I agree. Just because of the ending, I'm intersted enough to read the next book.


message 18: by John (new) - rated it 1 star

John Egbert Great review Stephanie, and thank you for all the warnings. I don't know if I'll read this book now that I know all the spoilers, but...


Skyla Happy Go Lucky and Lost in Books I laughed, I cried, I fell off my chair, got back up and fell off my chair again. This review was pure WIN! By the way you owe me some ice for head because I hit it when I fell both times.

(What exactly is a panty dropping smile? I have met a lot of attractive men but none of them had a panty dropping smile although Andreas Janke comes pretty damn close *swoons a little thinking about him*, loved the gif with the 'Oh nos" and OMGs" that made me smile).


Steph Sinclair Italy♥ wrote: "Great review Stephanie, and thank you for all the warnings. I don't know if I'll read this book now that I know all the spoilers, but..."

You never know. It could surprise you! Or not...lol.

Skyla (Happy Go Lucky and Lost in Books) wrote: "I laughed, I cried, I fell off my chair, got back up and fell off my chair again. This review was pure WIN! By the way you owe me some ice for head because I hit it when I fell both times.

(What e..."


Hahaha! Thank you! *passes you some ice*

What's a panty-dropping smile? Maybe something like this?

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


Skyla Happy Go Lucky and Lost in Books That is a panty dropping smile. I love Flynn I want to marry that man.

(How do you put pics in? I've forgotten how)


message 22: by Rogier (new)

Rogier Great review Stephanie


message 23: by Rogier (new)

Rogier have not read it and probably nevr will/tnx 4 saving me


Steph Sinclair Skyla (Happy Go Lucky and Lost in Books) wrote: "That is a panty dropping smile. I love Flynn I want to marry that man.

(How do you put pics in? I've forgotten how)"


I know, right? And Rapunzel is some awesome because she isn't fooled by that smile. Her weapon of choice: the frying pan. I love it. Lol.

(I just copy and past the HTML code into the comment box from my photobucket account.)

Rogier wrote: "Great review Stephanie"

Thank you, Rogier!


message 25: by Kyle (new) - added it

Kyle Oh my gosh, a "panty dropping smile"?! Is that actually in the book?! Well, if it is . . . um, I guess it's . . . different than other paranormal romance smiles. XD


Steph Sinclair Oh, it's definetly in there! I couldn't believe it myself. Lol.


Rachel She kills her teacher for an F? Great....have to rewrite that subplot of mine in my own novel.


Steph Sinclair Rachel wrote: "She kills her teacher for an F? Great....have to rewrite that subplot of mine in my own novel."

Well...(view spoiler)


message 29: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten Hubbard i want you for a beta reader. #notevenjoking


Steph Sinclair Kirsten wrote: "i want you for a beta reader. #notevenjoking"

I'd love to! :D


Kelsey Miller This review is EXCEPTIONAL. And while I actually enjoyed Mara, I loved reading your review. The gifs are hilarious. *insert Charlie fangirl squealing here*


Steph Sinclair Kelsey wrote: "This review is EXCEPTIONAL. And while I actually enjoyed Mara, I loved reading your review. The gifs are hilarious. *insert Charlie fangirl squealing here*"

Thank you, Kelsey!


Radine ahaha i luv this review.i read "the good" and was like oh okay, then i read the "the bad" and im like LOL some grudge xPP ps. i'll take your review's word for it and not read it, i hate books when the girl falls for the guy bcuz their so hot, girls like that might as well just fall in luv with posters or a random guy at the mall MAYBE even more than 10-no-maybe 20 hot guys at once xPP.


message 34: by Saki (new)

Saki vow that was one hell of a review...


Danielle "And if he wasn't "Black enough" let's give him dreads. And, oh noz, he isn't "gay enough" either, we must add a tongue ring! And what the hell, let's urbanize him while we are at it. "

Cannot stop laughing! So true!


message 36: by Peyton (new)

Peyton Voorhees OMG. Is that a Charlie McDonnell "Fail" gif, or am I imagining that? :D


Steph Sinclair Peyton wrote: "OMG. Is that a Charlie McDonnell "Fail" gif, or am I imagining that? :D"

I have no idea who that is.


message 38: by Peyton (new)

Peyton Voorhees He's a popular vlogger on YouTube. I think that's actually from one of his videos, if I'm remembering correctly. :)


message 39: by Steph (last edited Mar 11, 2014 01:53PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Steph Sinclair That makes sense. People frequently create gifs out of popular vloggers. Sometimes their moments are too perfect to forget.


message 40: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Something I liked though is that she's discovering her own paranormalacy. She thinks it's just a psychotic breakdown from losing her friends. That's part of the reason it didn't seem like a paranormal book until the end. That's when Mara discovered what was going on. Her "gift".


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