Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers (September 27, 2011)
Series: 1st book
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Cover: As dark and haunting as the novel, this cover is jump off the bookshelf gorgeous to go along with the jump out of your skin amazingness packaged inside.
Mini-Review: A sexy, suspenseful must-read debut!
Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is everything I want in a read-- it's sexy, suspenseful, heartfelt, sarcastic, intriguing and I've barely scratched the surface. The suspense surrounding what happened to Mara combined with killer dialog, endearing characters and pulse-inducing male lead makes for one hell of a read. Be prepared to be blown away because Mara Dyer packs a powerful punch.
I'd be friends with Mara in a heartbeat. Her voice flows naturally off the page and her witty little comments ("so we're going to do this the hard way, awesome") in her head and sometimes out loud kept me laughing long into the night. Though her relationship with her mother was strained, Mara had a well rounded family life. She got along with her brothers and knew her mother was trying to do what was best for her even if it was annoying. The question of her sanity was an interesting point in the novel and it was hard to tell what was real and what wasn't being in her point of view. There aren't too many unreliable narrators in YA fiction (or any novels that I can think of) and Mara was absolutely believable.
Mara isn't the only character I fell in love with. Both of her brothers are equal parts caring and rotten boy which I loved. Her older brother, Daniel, really is the type of big brother any girl would want and theirrelationship felt so realistic. Mara's friend Jamie was snort out loud funny. Everything out of his mouth made me giggle and I loved that Mara could match him word for word in the shock department.
All of these characters were wonderful but Noah, the male love interest stole the show. From his rebel without a care demeanor to his British accent, he was born to break hearts. And break hearts he did! Half the things out of his mouth were so wildly inappropriate I was gasping and the other half were so steamy I was also gasping... for an entirely different reason, of course. He was definitely a riddle and I could totally see why he and Mara worked so well together. Noah worked on shock factor and Mara was able to shock him back. The other thing about that I loved about Noah is I felt like I knew him before Mara started to really like him. I could see him chewing his straw and lounging wickedly on his bed surrounded by his books. What he and Mara had was based on trust and personality as much as it was to physical attraction and their relationship was electric.
I liked the mystery of what happened to Mara and her friends in the closed insane asylum and that she remembered it in pieces. It worked well chopped up and put into her new life at certain times. The revolutions are shocking and the ending happens almost too quickly to comprehend. I don't think I've ever read a book as quickly as I read the last 100 pages of this one. I was literally dying to find out what was going to happen and get some questions answered. I wish more was revealed about what Noah and Mara find out but I understand that they don't have the answers and they need time enough to find someone who does. Even though this book was a whopper, I found myself wishing it was even longer. I could have spent a lifetime in Mara's world (and more specifically in Noah's head). The vivid and beautiful writing had as much to do with this as the story did. There are such beautiful images in the story. I'll never forget Mara describing a dead man with his "bright red watermelon insides spilling out of his skull".
The addictive quality of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is hard to resist and the ending of the novel really does beg for the reader to turn around and re-read the entire thing. I could go on and on about the merits of this novel. I fall in love with everything about it. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is an absolute must-read (and then re-read again). You'd be crazy not to!