Stephanie's Reviews > The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
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's review
Apr 17, 12

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, high-school, realistic-fiction, ya

high school & up

Mara is traumatized and rightly so. She and her friends snuck into a condemned, creepy, former insane asylum to spend the night. At some time during the night the entire building falls down and Mara awakens in a hospital three days later. Her friends Rachel and Claire are dead. The body of her boyfriend Jude hasn't been recovered from the rubble yet. Mara convinces her family to move away from the trauma and they resettle in Florida. Mara is becoming increasingly worried that she will need to be committed to a mental hospital: she is hallucinating and having horrible nightmare/memories of the night her friends died. She also seems to be falling for a boy who has charmed his way through the entire female population of the school.

I really, really loved this book. In fact, I was reading on my lunch 20 minutes (lunch hour? what's that?) and wound up picking my kids up two minutes late. It was from recess though, so they (the kids) really didn't mind. I was just so close to finishing and I really wanted to finish it. For the last few chapters, I was biting my lip waiting to see what was going to happen. The writer is really good with the suspense. The entire time it was hard to figure out if the genre was realistic fiction with a splash of fantasy or fantasy with a splash of realistic fiction.
The pacing was great and I love Mara. The way she attempts to deal with PTSD and convince her hovering mother that she's okay. The drama of falling for the school's "love 'em and leave 'em" bad boy is something I bet all too many girls can relate to. I also adore the character of her first friend in Florida Jamie. He was great. I sincerely hope he is in the next book.
A warning for high school librarians: there is some language that will upset parents. Nothing that I would consider actually vulgar. It is just a few instances of some medically accurate terminology that will shock and offend. The regular, everyday cussing (not that there's a bunch) will probably not bother parents at all.

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