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Paranormal Romance ~ The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin ~ #eclecticreader and @bookdout

on March 3, 2016

Wow. Have you read the reviews for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin? This book, published in September of 2011, had it all going for it. It has a gorgeous cover, that is one reason I was drawn to the book in the first place. I even classified it under “Covers” on my Goodreads (GR) shelves. I keep that one for those books that are so gorgeous or eye catching, and it just is a fun shelf. It is a paranormal romance with elements that can also be categorized as horror. There are plenty of other shelves this book can be found on… YA lit, chick lit, fantasy, supernatural, mystery, just to name a few. The rating on this novel is high, it has a 4.11 rating on GR with 107,271 ratings as of this date, and a 4.6/5 on Barnes & Noble. As I combed through the reviews on GR, I found two things out pretty quickly. People either really, really loved this book, or they really, really hated it. There was not a lot of gray or in between. As someone who loves a good YA book, chick lit, paranormal romance, etc., I had high hopes to say the least. I was, and was not, disappointed, let me explain.

In The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the novel starts out with a very creepy tone, and promise of exciting things to come. “Mara,” as she goes by with advice from her attorney, is a high school student with what she says is a “body count.” This novel is an explanation of her life from where things start to go wrong and get strange. Mara has a best friend named Rachel, and when a new brother and sister come into town, they insert their lives into Mara and Rachel’s. Claire, the new girl clings to Rachel and becomes very close, while Jude, her brother, begins to date Mara for a couple of months. The first month was great, but during the second month, the “honeymoon” appears to be over.

When Mara wakes up on day in the hospital, she finds that she has no recollection as to how she came to be there. She learns that she was in an accident that killed her friends Rachel, Claire, and Jude, but left her with really no more than a bruise. How this is possible no one knows, except for Mara, though she cannot remember anything about the night that she was spared.

To help Mara cope with her PTSD, and needing a change to help her ease back into the real world, she and her family move from Rhode Island to Miami, FL. Her mother is able to move her counseling practice, and her father is able to pick up a new case right away as a prominent lawyer.  Mara’s two brothers, Daniel (older) and Joseph (younger) accept the change with no problem, and are happy to move to accommodate their sister. They are all enrolled in a local private school.

Mara does not know that she will make a wonderful new friend, and also find love in this new town of hers. If you had asked her if a love connection was possible, she would have never believed you, but an annoyance turns into a friendship of sorts which turns into love. Add to this a huge mystery, a growing number of deaths, and strange hallucinations, and you have a great novel with a lot to live up to.

I  enjoyed this book. I really did. I listened to it on audio, along with reading it on my kindle. The narrator did a wonderful job and I thought she handled the English accent nicely. I thought some of the language was unnecessary, especially the strong language that was used. Not exactly quantity, but if you rated them on the offensive, several Highly Offensive curse words were used. Not that I am a prude by any means, but I just feel that while sometimes a curse word just fits the situation, some of the ones included could have been left out. Be more creative than that. I am all the time.

I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars. Why? Well, I did not really feel invested in the characters or the story. It was good, but it was just something that was nice to listen to at the time. I did not have to think too hard, it was just a pleasure read. I felt by around 30% I knew what was going on, and even my thoughts, while partially on point, were even more creative than the author’s. This book was just okay for me. I have a friend who is reading the second one, The Evolution of Mara Dyer, and she said she likes it even more. She gave the first book 3 out of 5 stars as well. So, I trust her judgment.

I am one of the few people who gave it three stars that I saw. Many people DNF (did not finish), or barely made it through. I enjoyed it enough that I will happily read the next two in the series.

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