I have been hesitant to read THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER, not because I haven’t heard good things about it, but because I have a writing friend who uses it as a comp. By not reading it I could separate myself from the story, and give my full attention to my friend’s MS, without constantly comparing it to Michelle Hodkin’s work.
Once I was done critiquing the MS, I quickly jumped at the chance to crack open Hodkin’s story and see if it was indeed a good comp for my friend’s work. While they were not too similar, I could see where she could draw a comparison. Strong female lead,with a compelling secret, well-developed minor characters, as well as a colorful setting.
After reading the jacket cover, I had a preconceived idea about where this story was going. Let me just say I was wrong. So wrong. This story has numerous twists, and I was thrilled to keep reading just so I could find out what happened next.
The story itself surrounds Mara Dyer who wakes up in a hospital to learn she was in a tragic accident that killed three of her friends. She has no memory of the incident. Unable to handle her reality, Mara’s begs her family to move away as she is unable to face the loss. When she reaches her new home in Florida, Mara begins having hallucinations and brief glimpses of the accident, causing her to have a tentative hold on her sanity.
Reluctantly returning to high school, hoping the distraction will chase away her demons, Mara encounters the obvious high school stereotypes (which is the only place I feel this story falters). There is the definitive mean girl, the vicious sidekick, a seemingly kind nerd, who happens to take her under his wing, and then of course the love interest. In YA today it’s extremely difficult to come up with a unique way to introduce the male lead, and here Hodkin gets stuck in the old trap of mooning over his good looks, even if she has Mara brushing him off in the beginning.
Once you get beyond the stereotypes, and get to the heart of Mara’s story, things heat up and the surprises begin. I’m not big into spoilers, but I will tell you that the last quarter of this book is fraught with tension and Hodkin doesn’t disappoint in giving the reader a very satisfying ending. The sequel, THE EVOLUTION OF MARA DYER, is due to be released in October. I will definitely pick it up to see if Hodkin can continue Mara’s story in an intriguing way.
Have you read THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER? If so, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the story and if you would recommend it to a friend.
Rating: Worth the Chase