Oct 21, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin review

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

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.
Pitch from here.

(I’m going to start working on my reviews’ structures next time around. Sorry if it’s too hard to follow.)

I loved the cover, and the promotional stuff I’d seen/read all really caught my attention. But, I was a little let down.

To break down what parts I liked and dislike:
First two chapters: liked
Next fifty chapters: blah
Last seven chapters: loved

So, out of fifty-nine chapters, I only liked nine of them. Doesn’t sound real good, does it? Well, let me explain.

The beginning, I really liked how present Mara’s voice is, and what happened in the first two chapters. Having ‘fun’ with friends, and then what happened months later. But Mara’s voice didn’t appeal to me after a while. Too much of ‘blah blah blah’ and not enough of what was going on.  It was at the end that I really started liking the writing, due to the fact that something actually happened.

And, being the Grammar Nazi/writer, my opinions on a few of the grammar bother me. Like all caps with someone’s yelling. This is a place that calls for italics. At least, that’s what I’ve been taught. This appears much more professional in my opinion. And then there were quite a few places where I found run-on sentences (which I tend to write myself) and lack of proper dialogue formatting. There were a few times where I felt like writing in my book, which I never have done nor what to ever do.

There were a lot of things that annoyed/confused me.  The first little annoyance was the love interest: Noah. He is a British boy who doesn’t really play by the rules. He is rich, and he can speak two other languages fluently. He carried around thousands of dollars at one point. And he’s beautiful.  Many times, the word beautiful was used to describe little aspects of Noah, which got real annoying. Then he acts like a real jerk at some points. Oh, and Mara has to hate him for some reason. AND she thinks she’s the slut when she starts dating him. That utterly confused me, being that sluts are thought to be girls who go out with multitudes of guys, instead of one. Unless I and hundreds of other teens at my school are wrong.

Another thing was plot holes. Or what appeared to be plot holes. There were many times where I had no clue how much time had passed, and then points where I was pretty sure that it was one time, only to find out it was another time.  That irked me a lot. Time consistency was not real present.

There were quite a few predictable places. Like when Mara envisions a person’s death. After the first one, I could predict that the next death would happen. The only thing that took me by surprise was one little fact toward the end of the story. Not the huge one at the very end of the story, but a chapter or two before that. I was rarely surprised by anything which bothered me. I want to be taken by surprise, rather than know what happens next. (I guess I could come up with an excuse for this, but I’m not too sure it’d be reasonable.)

At the beginning of the story, I liked a lot of characters. By the end, I only liked two: Jamie and Joseph. Mara’s brother got annoying halfway through the story with the rude things he said to Mara. Mara was annoying for being so idiotic when it came to so many things. Noah got real rude too, but I started to warm up to his sweetness toward the end. Mara, though, still annoyed me. I might check out the next book just because of Noah.

Then there’s the mean girl that comes with every private school. I have friends in private schools, and I’m pretty sure they don’t have the classic high school movie’s mean girl clique. But that’s what Anna is.  I hate this stereotype, especially since I’ve grown up in one of those places where one would think that this stereotype would be present, and it isn’t.

Now, the beginning of the story was all info. No plot—at least, not really. Not until the last few chapters where things picked up. I guess it was good to actually ‘build’ Noah and Mara’s relationship (which still wasn’t too good at the beginning), but it was otherwise blah. The most character changes were in the last chapters, which were the few good ones.

What I’d tell me to do is read the first two chapters, maybe ask me about the middle part about how Noah and Mara get closer, Mara thinks she’s insane, and … that’s really it. Well, after that, then read chapter 52 on, because that’s how much of the story seemed really necessary. If this were to be just a contemporary mystery/romance, I’d say the story was good. But because this has a paranormal aspect, it goes down in my opinion.

To tell you the truth, something compelled me to keep reading after the first 100 pages, and I’m kind of glad. The good part of the story was at the end, and I really enjoyed it.

Overall, I’d recommend this, but warn readers (depending on what genre they like) about the middle section. It bothered me, and I’m pretty sure you could skip that section after receiving a brief summary (if that’s even necessary) and still understand the last bit of the story.

The fact that this somehow kept me reading probably makes me want to give it 3 out of 5. Some characters were good/okay, the good ideas were hidden between the bad, and the end of the story really hooked me. 

1 comment:

  1. What I liked most about this book was the fact that even though it was written for teenagers, the vocabulary was not dumbed down. It was excellently written and it had a plot line that was not the same as most teen books. Yes there was the average drama of high school romance but it had a twist with it.