Monday, September 12, 2011

Review and Giveaway: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
~Michelle Hodkin

Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publish Date: September 27, 2011
ISBN-10: 1442421762
ISBN-13: 978-1442421769 
ASIN: B004IK988I
  • From the author's website:
  • Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.  It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.  There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.  She's wrong.
Mara Dyer wakes up in the hospital and can't remember how she got there.  Her parents tell her she was in an accident and the three friends she was with didn't survive. They weren't in a car accident though, they were in an abandoned building and it collapsed.  Mara begs her parents to move:  she doesn't want to be around the memories of her dead friends when she can't even remember what happened.

The family moves to Florida, and Mara and her older brother Daniel are enrolled in a fancy private school: Mara's a junior, Daniel's a senior.  Mara immediately begins having hallucinations - her class is  the building where her friends died, when she looks in the mirror she doesn't see her own reflection, she sees her dead friends.  She's having a hard time dealing with the hallucinations, and the snooty students aren't very welcoming either.  As if that wasn't enough, people are dying and she thinks it's her fault but she doesn't know how or why. Top it all off with nightmares of the night of the accident and Mara is having a very difficult time acting normal.

Then Mara meets Noah - he's gorgeous, British, and popular, and he seems to be interested in Mara.  Mara doesn't want to be interested in Noah, but he's very persistent. Once she decides to confide in him, together they try to unravel what's been happening to Mara.

My thoughts:
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer left me feeling unbalanced and off-center the entire time I was reading.  The hallucinations, the mysterious deaths, and the nightmares all make for a dark but riveting story.  There's much more going on that I can possibly include without spoilers - Mara's father is involved in a court case involving a young girl who was murdered, Mara's injury during one of her hallucinations miraculously heals, she's missing large gaps of time, and her nightmares slowly reveal the events of the night of the accident.

During all the strangeness though, a sweet love story develops between Mara and Noah.  I like how instead of continuing to close herself off, Mara accepts help from Noah. I hate it when characters refuse to accept help even though they need it, and Mara definitely needs it.  I enjoyed the tension between Mara and Noah - the flirting and lightness that randomly erupts between them is a nice counterpoint to the darkness of Mara's dreams and hallucinations.

There are a few loose ends:  There are two surprises at the end of the story; the one at the very end left me with a few questions about the motivation of certain characters that I can't go into without spoilers.  The reveal near the end leads me to wonder if this book is a stand-alone or if it's the first in a series - the ending is open for either.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a deliciously dark treat for the imagination by debut author Michelle Hodkin.  Once I started reading I did not want to put it down - I will definitely be keeping an eye on this author in the future.

 My Rating:

The Giveaway:
I am giving away my personal ARC of THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER.  To enter, leave a meaningful comment about the book or the review.  Must be a GFC follower, extra entry for tweeting about this contest (must include link).  Open to everyone, ends September 26.  Caught in a FAB Romance is not responsible for books lost or damaged in the mail.

Book received from the publisher at ALA.


  1. Thanks for the review! This really does sound like a book I would love. I love books that keep you guessing and put you in a different mindset which is what it seems like you were describing.

    It really does seem like Ms. Hodkin gave this one her all and I will be looking for all of her future titles as well! :)

    Thanks for the review and giveaway. Waiting for this book is downright killing me!

    amber.hrkns at gmail dot com

  2. Thanks for the review. I am putting this one on my wish list.

    Lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  3. Not an entry, though I do think I'd want to read it, but still. I should read more YA like this

  4. A great review thank you. I did wonder about this book. I don't mind dark & disturbing.


  5. That book had one heck of a cover to live up to ... glad to see it did the job. Definitely going in the TBR pile!

  6. Thanks for the review! This book sounds great. I love dark and mysterious books!

    TheOneRing111 at gmail dot com

  7. I love the premise of this novel, but I am a little worried that all the buzz has built it up so much in my head that I'll be disappointed once I finally do read it. Any comforting words?

    angelidgcruz at gmail dot com

  8. The story has a really interesting storyline. It sounds like it will have many twists and turns and I'm curious to see how everything plays out. Also how Mara will handle her grif and heal.

    Cambonified (at) yahoo (dot) com

  9. I really like how you were unbalanced by the book. AND I'm a sucker for romances that sneak up on me. THANKS for the review and giveaway!

    I'm a follower.

    I twittered:!/taffylovell/status/113677982626889728


  10. I've heard so much buzz about this book and it's definitely highest on my to-read list for September. Though I never knew Noah was BRITISH before reading this review. (I have a thing for British boys.) So excited to read this! Thanks so much for this giveaway!

    I follow you on GFC ( - infalliblyyours or Munnaza )

    and I tweeted this:!/yoursinfallibly/status/113681088693551104

    = 2 entries


  11. Old GFC follower: Jayjay

    I'm dying to read this for gawd sake! I need it!!! thank you for the chance! *cross fingers*

    fallendream03 AT gmail DOT com

  12. Oh my gosh, every single review I've been reading about Mara Dyer has made me want to read it even more -- and this is no exception! I have a huge thing for guys with accents (especially guys with accents AND attitudes, because we all know that bad boys are hottest LOL) so I know that I'm going to love Noah too! :)

    I'm pretty sure there's supposed to be another book, and I'm really glad for that! If this book is anywhere NEAR as good as you make it sound, I know it's going to be amazing!

    Thanks so much for the amazing review and giveaway, Patti! :)

  13. I've heard so much about this book. Small elements of the descriptions remind me a little of "The Adoration of Jenna Fox," which I absolutely loved! I'm hoping Mara is just as intriguing...

  14. Don't enter me, I don't think I would ever read it. But thanks for the review, very intriguing.

  15. Mara Dyer is my most anticipated fall release. Noah is amazing!

    Thank you so much for the giveaway!

    lindadao2060 at yahoo dot com

  16. Thank you very much for this chance! I need to read it!

    New GFC follower: literary b!tch

    Extra Entry!/dliterarybitch/status/114964642635321344

  17. the cover already is fascinating me. it's beautiful and at the same time it kind of creeps me out :) your post is making me curious about the book. i've never read a thriller/fantasy whatever book before. so i would like to try it out.

  18. I just can't wait to get my hands on this book. Sounds amazing.

    I tweeted!/hootowl1978/status/115552084144824320

    I follow via GFC as Jessy

    hootowl1978 at gmail dot com

  19. I am desperate to get my hands on a copy of this book!! Thanks for giving me a chance :)

    GFC follower

    I tweeted:!/jwitt33/status/115575944315543552

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  20. This is a great review. I'm intrigued by your feelings of being unbalanced and off center after reading this book, which must be incredibly powerful or emotional to provoke such feelings in a reader. I really like the idea of a dark, uneasy read.

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    GFC: Aeicha @ Word Spelunking
    I tweeted here:!/WordSpelunker/status/115658438347993088

    wordspelunker at gmail dot com

  21. I've been seeing this book all over the place and read some great reviews! Would love to read it soon :)
    GFC cherry^^

  22. Darn the GFC isn't working now :( subscribed email instead will try again tomorrow

  23. I love unreliable narrators and this is something that I've been wanting to get my hands on, especially with all the rave reviews I've read.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    GFC - Yen
    Tweeted -!/yenhex/status/116106868367179777
    aonoexorcists at gmail dot com

  24. I have read a few reviews about this book now and they are quite diverse which makes me want to read this book even more.
    Thanks for hosting this giveaway :)

    GFC - Nimue

  25. I just love the blurb of this book - sounds like a good mystery.

    Thank you for making it international.

    baychriz at gmail dot com

  26. Now following on GFC (cherry^^) finally working :)

  27. Oh My God, i am sooo excited to read this book!! Gosh your review makes me want to read it even moooree! Gaaaaahh! i really wish i can win this thingg! :D

    My GFC name is: Farah M.J. Elmajdoub

  28. Okay so I have this thing for British guys in books and I had no idea that Mara was one of the books that had one!! I can't believe this but I am even more excited for it now then I ever was! Thanks :)

    GCF follower (Kare)

  29. This book has literally been on my mind every single day. I am IN LOVE with the cover.. ive never seen a more beautiful cover.. EVER. The synopsis is just so freakin EXCITING! and the reviews its been getting.. just let me read it already! september 27 is finally close!
    also, isnt the title of the book just amazing?

    GCF: Juhina


  30. Thank you so much for sharing sounds like a great book can't wait read this one! Great giveaway thanks for the chance!
    GFC follower/latishajean
    Tweeted too!/latishajean/status/117013703563558912

  31. I've already heard great things about Noah. I cannot wait to read this book now. I've been looking forward to it because of the amnesia angle, but it just keeps getting more and more interesting. Fingers crossed for a win!

    GFC: Rubita


  32. Thanks for the giveaway. I've been wanting to read this one. Can't wait for it to come out!

    imabookshark AT yahoo DOT com

    Mickey @ imabookshark

  33. Tweeted it!!!/imabookshark/status/117031700910981120

    imabookshark AT yahoo DOT com

    Mickey @ imabookshark

  34. I would love this book for my own blog-I love the cover and the synopsis and I love the reviews! edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom Thank you so much for the chance! GFC Krystal Larson

  35. tweeted!/Icecream1891/status/117092170619555840

  36. This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for entering!