The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer, By Michelle Hodkin

What’s This Book All About?

A psychological/paranormal novel based on the life of Mara Dyer, this book had a very interesting synopsis, in addition to winning a lot of acclaim, both popular and critical. Though it is definitely a young adult fiction, it has a different approach, when compared to others because it revolves around paranormal themes like superstition and spirits.

The Bigger Picture

After surviving a near fatal accident that killed two of her friends, Mara awakes in a hospital, with no recollection of how she reached there. However, when she is discharged from the hospital, her life and sanity both begin to crumble due to a series of strange incidents, hallucinations, weird dreams and accidents just to name a few. When Mara meets Noah at her private school and they begin a new relationship, she starts to piece together the mystery of the night that changed her life forever.

The writing in this book is pretty impressive as it manages to draw the reader into the story without much effort. The author has successfully managed to create an air of suspense in the book. She builds the tension slowly until you feel that delicious creepy chill run down your spine, until she brings you down gently, only to start the process all over again. For me the writing style of the author is one of the biggest positive standouts of this book. Another thing that I really enjoyed in this book was the paranormal aspect of the story. As Mara is diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, she suffers from regular hallucinations and nightmares about her friends and the night of the accident. Because the story was told from her point of view, it offers a very different perspective about people suffering from mental illness, which makes it a very commendable affair.

What let me down in this book was that I did not really connect to the characters. Don’t get me wrong. I liked Mara and Noah, to an extent even Jamie but there was nothing in their story that made me connect with them, on anything but a superficial level. Though I know that there are two more books in the series and that maybe the characters will evolve, I do feel that the first book should have offered at least some kind of character depth to the readers.

As this is an young adult fiction, romance is an integral element in this book. Though it was cute and heart touching at places, I really can’t decide how I feel about it. In fact, I have very mixed feeling about the romance depicted in this book. I guess, each person will have to read it and decide whether they liked it or not.

Final Verdict

For a debut author, this is definitely not a bad attempt. 

All in all, despite its flaws I did enjoy this book.  Maybe I was just in the mood for a book like The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. Though there are some aspects of the book that I did not like, I would still recommend this book to those who enjoy young adult fiction with a paranormal twist. In addition, I still look forward to reading the next part of the series, which means that this debut novel by Michelle Hodkin was a good effort by author.