Monday, September 5, 2011
Mara Monday Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Series: Mara Dyer #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Mara's life changes forever the day she awakes from a coma to discover her best friends are dead and her memories of the accident that killed them are gone. Something strange happened that fateful night, but no one has any answers -- except, perhaps, a beautiful boy who is just as broken as Mara herself. As Mara struggles to piece together the events that led to her friends' deaths, she's drawn into a terrifying world of nightmares and confusion, kidnappings and hallucinations. And as the bodies start piling up, Mara begins to doubt everyone and everything -- including herself.
Dark. Sexy. Hilarious. Mysterious. Heart-pounding. Hair-raising. In short, this novel is incredible. In her unforgettable debut, Michelle Hodkin crafts a spine-tingling tale of death and desire that will leave readers clamoring for more. Mara Dyer is the best kind of heroine -- cynical and witty, biting and deeply flawed. Her struggles with insanity are enthralling, and her search for truth gripping. In her upside down world, it's impossible to tell what's real and what's just a terrible nightmare.
Mara is sharp and sassy, refusing to let anyone walk over her -- whether it be her controlling mother, the school's requisite Queen Bee, or even snarky boys with British accents and smoldering looks. Noah Shaw had me at "British accent." He is simultaneously sexy and infuriating, a bewitching combination that will leave readers (and Mara) befuddled. Though he possesses the casual arrogance of the drop-dead gorgeous, he has more than a few secrets of his own, revealing a sweet vulnerability that makes him utterly irresistible. Noah's hauteur is a mask -- one that crumbles in the face of Mara's unflinching directness. They have both met their match, and their delicious dynamic will leave readers ravenous for more.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer features some of the best flirtatious banter I've ever read. Noah and Mara are intellectual equals who can keep pace with one another's rapid-fire minds (and mouths). Their smart and snappy repartee will have readers writhing with laughter even in the midst of this psychological nightmare. The back-and-forth is constant, an unexpected contrast to the hidden horrors lurking just beneath the surface. Thankfully, Hodkin steers clear of the unbelievable love-at-first sight, instead letting their love/hate chemistry burn its way into an undeniable attraction. Noah and Mara are like fire and gasoline, and Hodkin ratchets up the sexual tension until readers are ready to explode.
It's impossible to know what's coming next in this twisting, turning thriller of a romance. Hodkin keeps the answers both Mara and readers so desperately desire just out of reach, making the search for truth all the more tantalizing. As Mara quickly discovers, not knowing is the scariest thing of all. The darkly surreal atmosphere will keep readers on the edge of their seats while the twisted, voyeuristic deaths will leave them reeling. Mara's trippy psychological episodes are an emotional thrill ride, all culminating in a mind-blowing conclusion that will leave readers stunned and begging for the sequel NOW.
Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this novel at BEA for an honest review.
Part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge.
Come back September 12 for 2 Truths and a Lie with Michelle Hodkin + a preorder giveaway!