Sunday, October 2, 2011

Investigation: Mara Dyer--"B student with a body count"

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
By: Michelle Hodkin
Reported by: Officer Helms

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.

-Summary from Goodreads

I'm torn. The two sides of my brain have completely different opinions on this book. So I decided that I'm going to... write two reviews. Now, they'll be two reports "condensed" into one, but if you want to hear the opinion of my consciousness, the one that reads a book and just... reads it, without critically analyzing writing tactics, then I suggest you read the report labeled "The Mara side of town." If you wish for a report that delves past the surface of the book and its words, then do read "The Daniel side of town." Or you can read both. But I'm warning you: It will sound like two different people wrote the reviews.

The Mara side of town

First off, isn't the cover just gorgeous? It propelled me to research the book and get blown away by the incredible amount of hype the book's been given. And wow, did it live up to my ridiculously high expectations. 

The characters were incredibly well developed. Mara is sarcastic, witty, and held together by the thinnest of thin threads. Her brothers are hilarious, and I loooove Daniel--next time my brother brings a girl home, I'm gonna say, "Pleased to make your acquaintance."  And then I'm going to get her phone number and go all Joseph and call it "networking". 

Then there's Noah. Holy marshmallow (yes, I say that), Noah Shaw is one guy that will make your blood boil and your heart lurch. He can whip out serious one-liners and, once Mara finally opens up to him (which I love--no insta-love here!), their romance skyrockets and zooms out of space. 

And the plot. I went into this book having pretty much no idea what it's about. There were scenes that made me pause and think over, because I had no clue where the story was going. At all. I had ideas, (which turned out to be correct!) but the one question that I had that was never answered, the only thing that left me a bit dumbstruck, was HOW. I have predictions, but, man, that second book couldn't come out any later. 

And no, I'm not going to say anything else. Because I want you to dive into this book blind, too. It's one wild ride. 

The Daniel side of town
I named this report the Daniel side of town because Daniel's the genius brother. The one that corrects grammar mistakes and is accepted to every school he applies to. The one that will look deep and beyond to the spots that almost no one else looks for.

Mara Dyer left my subconscious a confused mess. The story branched out in all directions and I guessed what Mara could do from the first chapter, so I thought all along the big, surprise ending that everyone was talking about would be the explanation of HOW.

Alas, I was wrong. I kept waiting, waiting, and waiting some more, but it just merely confirmed my suspicions and skidded my predictions to a halt. This is a trilogy, so I understand why that big question was left unanswered. However, I wish that maybe the big WHAT could have been revealed as the surprise ending, then, instead of being hinted at often inconspicuously numerous times. Keep in mind, though, that that's solely my own opinion, since I usually figure out plot twists way early on. 

The characters were interesting, but if you look past them, they don't seem very real. The whole story has an eerie feel to it despite its modern setting. Some characters feel like mannequins--there to experiment, but not to actually participate. And the one revelation that did surprise me in the end didn't make me jump out of my seat. Perhaps that is because the character was just a mannequin before.

Overall, I (or maybe just my subconscious) was a bit disappointed. I'll be reading the second book, but I hope it gets better. Or maybe I should just stop over-analyzing everything.  I do have the tendency to do that...

And that's it. What did you guys think of this book? 

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