Giselle's Reviews > The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
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's review
Aug 16, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: arc, own

I think this was probably my most anticipated book in the past months, and I also think that was it's downfall. You really look forward to a book. Everyone is saying how incredibly awesome it is. Nothing could ever be as good as this book - except maybe Daughter of Smoke and Bone - so how can it possibly live up to my already extreme expectations? Well... not like this.

Mara Dyer - Oh Mara Dyer, you had such an awesome beginning. A mysterious and creepy letter to set the mood. A strange event no one could explain or remember. Mirroring hallways. Disturbing hallucinations. Then Edward from Twilight pops up. Well hello there - I know Mara and Bella sound similar, but sorry, wrong book buddy!

Other than being a 17 year old who speaks several languages, gets straight As without ever paying attention or having to study, has loads of money, an incredibly big house, and no girl who's ever been able to get under his skin until the new girl arrives - the new girl who falls unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him - he's very original, right? If this wasn't enough to convince you, he composes music. That's right! We've got an impostor!

*End rant*

I have a soft spot for thrillers and creepy stories. Always have. My best birthday was when my mom brought me to see Carrie 2 when I was 14 (which was horrible btw, but still, it was Carrie!). So I still quite enjoyed that part of the story. The part where Mara pictures someone dead, and the next day they're found exactly like she pictured. The part where Mara sits down to drink a glass of water, and what seems to be 5 minutes later, 4 hours has passed. The creepy parts were very well done. I was thus still entertained for the most part. The last 100 pages or so is what pushed me off the cliff. I wasn't fond of the way it ended, at all. I thought it could have been much more… again… original. I felt like Hodkins took the easy way out. I had so many cool theories and guesses on what was happening with Mara, and they were all worthless. There wasn't really anything to guess, it was just very plain.

*I guess I wasn't done*

Now, has anyone ever wondered why we needed to have a homosexual jew, crocodiles, and an abused dog in this story? Or any one story? Let's also not forget the case her father was working on, which was put there as a bonus "twist" to the story, but seemed incredibly out of place and unnecessary. It felt like I was reading several plots/novels all mushed in together to give us this jumbled mess.

I was going to give this one three stars because of the eerie factor and great beginning - it was actually getting 4 before the last hundred pages. But after having written this, I can't. The bad clearly trumps the good in this book.
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Reading Progress

August 16, 2011 – Shelved
September 26, 2011 – Shelved as: arc
October 4, 2011 – Started Reading
October 5, 2011 –
page 82
18.14% "well so far I'm really enjoying this."
October 7, 2011 – Finished Reading
February 8, 2012 – Shelved as: own

Comments (showing 1-43 of 43) (43 new)

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Giselle Won this on a blog. So happy been waiting for it forever! :D

message 2: by Sashana (new)

Sashana Seems like you have the best luck.

Ariana wow, congrats and happy reading.. I can't wait to read this too ;)

Giselle Thanks And yes Sashana I've been lucky with this one and Shatter Me/Legend (which was 1 giveaway). I've been tweeting for the Mara Dyer one every day to get extra entries though. I was really hoping to snag it.

Ariana Those are 3 books that I'm dreaming to read as soon as possible. I'm really happy for you :)

Giselle Well... here goes.

Wendy Darling Hah. Good luck, Giselle!

Masako Lin Very curious to see what you think of this! So far it's been a mixed bag of reviews :-/

Ariana Yep, good luck... another disappointing book *sigh*

I stopped reading last night because it reminded me too much of some bad books I've read in the past, but as stubborn as I am I think I'll finish it, even only to say how much I hate it :(

Giselle Yeah I thought it was a book everyone loved by the reviews I saw before Wendy read it. Now everyone hates it! Shame on you Wendy!!

Amanda the book was good!

Ariana Well, Giselle, don't pay attention to us, maybe you'll like it.. I wish I would as well :(

Giselle Well at least now my expectations are not as high so maybe that'll help.

Bethany (youngbooklove) I'm reading Mara right now - I really didn't care for it until about halfway in, now I'm totally addicted! Almost done..

Giselle I'm at page 130 or so now. I find it pretty intriguing and a bit disturbing (in a good way). I'm very curious that's for sure!

Wendy Darling Hey, I just call 'em like I see 'em. I'm not stopping anyone from reading it if they want to. If you enjoy it, all the more power to you!


Giselle Haha I hadn't realized you didn't see ;) It seems to be one of those love it or hate it books going by reviews I've seen.

Giselle Wendy, I just re-read your review (i seem to take more in when I know the characters/story). I'm just starting the part where she's getting together with Noah. I didn't expect this to become another "twilight" did you notice the scene where they arrive at school in his car and everyone is watching is pretty much the same as in Twilight? Anyways, I may not like it as much if the paranormal/creepiness of the story kind of gets in the background. That's what makes this so great - not Noah. Also, it was very hard not to read your spoilers! Haha

Bethany (youngbooklove) Giselle, I saw that you compared this book to Twilight, I could not agree more! This is a seventeen year old boy (who, as far as I know isn't a 100 year old man in a 17 year olds body) and he can compose music, speak several languages, not take notes or study but still get a 4.0, has gobs and GOBS of money, is perfect looking... I am wondering if Edward is just going by another name these days.. still love the book though. :)

Giselle Haha yeah and a few parts in the book were remarkably similar to how it happened it Twilight. I described the arriving at school scene but there was another scene that I found similar I just can't recall which one now.

But yes, Edward has definitely changed names and went around the YA scene.

message 21: by Sashana (new)

Sashana You guys are scaring me here. I'm not sure if I want to read this anymore.

Giselle I'm still enjoying it regardless of the unoriginality of the romance, because the creepiness of it is still intriguing. It all depends if the reveal is an eye roller or not.

message 23: by Ariana (last edited Oct 06, 2011 02:16PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Ariana :)) i don't know if to come back to it now...
But the cover is so great, at least it would look nice on the blog LOL

Giselle Ari wrote: ":)) i don't know if to come back to it now...
But the cover is so great, at least it would look nice on the blog LOL"

True! At least there's that! If it starts to suck I'll remember that to motivate me to finish it.

Wendy Darling Heh, I'll see how you feel when it's all over. Don't go pointing fingers, they might get nipped when you're not looking.

Giselle Wendy Darling wrote: "Heh, I'll see how you feel when it's all over. Don't go pointing fingers, they might get nipped when you're not looking."

Yeah probably :P we usually do have similar rating so we'll see. Shame though, story had great potential. And that cover.. :(

Wendy Darling I know, I know. Those covers will be our downfall. But really, if you end up enjoying this more than I did, I'll be very glad for you. I'd never wish a bad reading experience on anybody.

message 28: by Megan (last edited Oct 07, 2011 11:27PM) (new) - added it

Megan Giselle, what are some of your favorite creepy, eerie, horror novels? I'm also a big horror fan but it seems as if so much horror is heavy on the gore/shock factor ~ which I'm totally not into. That is, it works better in scary movies than scary books, IMO

Wendy Darling Aw, sorry Giselle. It became a really frustrating reading experience for me, too. :(

Btw, I totally forgot that he also composed music! Ugh. Angela were just talking about how there was so much stuff crammed into this book, we just couldn't cover it all in any one review.

Giselle Megan: Honestly I've never come upon a great horror novel. I really enjoyed the Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy. Alex Kava writes some great thrillers (adult).

Wendy: I also forgot to add in my review how the romance took over and the creepy took a back door. I couldn't cover it all either =S

message 31: by Megan (last edited Oct 08, 2011 07:39AM) (new) - added it

Megan Well, damn Giselle that is a shame! If you are interested two collections come to mind ~
20th Century Ghosts is an awesome collection. And Poe's Children: The New Horror: An Anthology has a lot of good ones too. Although Poe's is more dark fantasy than horror.

But yeah, creepy novels are hard to come by :( I loved loved loved Forest, hated Dead Tossed Waves and actually just started the final installment last night.

Giselle Oh thanks I'll check those out! I hope you like the finale of Forest. It was my favorite of all three. Mostly because it was really exciting and full of action. Lots of zombies in it for sure! ;)

message 33: by Megan (new) - added it

Megan Lots of zombies is music to me ears, lol!

Arlene Sorry you didn't care for this one Giselle. Very honest and thorough review. :)

Giselle Thanks Arlene. Plenty of people enjoyed it. I was expected more creepy and less romance.

Sarah: I loved Twilight too, actually! ;) I'm just annoyed that everyone is trying to duplicate it. But give it a try I'm definitely in the minority here.

♥Rachel♥ Giselle, I think I fell victim to the extra hype behind this book as well. I liked this book, but not nearly as much as I thought I would. And I didn't like how we are left in the end. Great review!

Giselle Thanks Rachel. I wish it was more interesting in the end. The big mystery reveal. Maybe she'll fix it in the next books. I'm not holding my breath, though.

Megan NAILED IT! I just finished this book and I was sitting here trying to think of what to write in my review when a thought hit me like a Mac Truck, just go look at other reviews, pick and choose several sentences from others and throw them together, voila Megan's Review! I think I may now just write, "Please refer to Giselle's review!"... I'm 100% serious btw!

Giselle Megan wrote: "NAILED IT! I just finished this book and I was sitting here trying to think of what to write in my review when a thought hit me like a Mac Truck, just go look at other reviews, pick and choose seve..."

LOL. Copy paste this review to quote, and write "Ditto"

message 40: by Petra (new)

Petra I object, sir. I wouldn't mind reading more crocodile stories. Provided they are well-crafted, of course.

Shahd I agree that this book promissed more creepiness and horror(my fav genres) but turned out to be more of a romance. I liked that but still, i was greedy for more visins and hallucinations. I too had high expectations for this book.

Karen Swartz At first I adored this novel - I loved the same creepy events you mention. And then it wrecked. I kept thinking "What the hell happened?" I was willing to put up with romance and the completely unbelievable Noah until the book tumbled into being all about the romance. It came to a screeching halt so they could inch up to but ultimately not have sex. And then Mara started in on how she was too dangerous blah blah blah. I was so disappointed.

Jenny I just finish this. And boy, what a total disappointment for me. :(

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