I have a huge pile of books that I’ve read and not reviewed, and I apologize, because I know you don’t know what to think about YA until I tell you. I’ve lately been reading Anna Karenina, partly because it makes me feel like a smarty-pants, and partly because I won’t feel any guilt not reviewing that. Also, it really helps me get sleepy before I go to bed. True story.
But even though I’d much rather be watching British tv shows on Hulu and eating crackers right now, I am forcing myself to tell you about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin.
I met Michelle briefly in line at BEA for a signing, and then I saw her again at NCTE in November. Unbecoming is her first novel, and it was just released in September, and I’d like to mention for the record that it is the only book that I actually purchased at NCTE, instead of acquired gratis. I PAID FOR IT. BECAUSE I WANTED IT THAT BADLY.
I even got Michelle to sign it, and gleefully reminded her of that time we waited in line for Lev Grossman together, which she gracefully pretended to remember.
Anyway, I was really wanted to like the book, and luckily I do, because otherwise it would be so awkward next time I run into Michelle.
Mara Dyer isn’t her real name, but you’ve got to respect her need for privacy since she tends to murder people accidently. It takes her a while to figure this out though, at the beginning, she can’t remember anything.
When Mara wakes up strapped to a hospital bed, she doesn’t know where she is or how she got there, or what happened that night three weeks ago when three of her friends were killed in the collapse of the town’s old insane asylum. She only knows that her best friend Rachel is dead, and no one knows what happened except for her. Inconvenient since she has no recollection of that night.
Grieving and troubled, Mara convinces her family that she won’t be able to recover in her hometown, surrounded by people staring at her and whispering about the mysterious deaths. So instead the Dyer clan moves south to Miami. Her father, a lawyer, gets involved defending a man accused of murdering a 15 year old girl, her mother hovers over her constantly, and Mara can’t shake the constant hallucinations and visions of her dead friends that plague her.
Not helping is the appearance of Noah Shaw. Sexy, incredibly rich, lady-killer Noah Shaw. With a reputation for bedding every girl in the school (and leaving them in the lurch), Mara has no intention of becoming involved with him. But when he helps her rescue an abused dog, and then protects her from the school mean girl, Mara begins to soften against her better judgment.
Mara’s love life problems are nothing compared to the fact that people keep mysteriously dying after altercations with her. She gets in an argument with the abused dog’s owner, he cracks his skull open in a fall. Her Spanish teacher argues with her, she chokes to death. Mara can’t ignore the fact that these people are dying in just the manner that she previously imagined….and worse yet, she’s starting to remember what happened the night Rachel died…
It turns out that Noah has some paranormal secrets of his own, and maybe he can help her solve her mysteries. Provided that she doesn’t accidently kill him first.
I can honestly say I really enjoyed this book. I’m sure I will be passing it around Rampant Reads soon enough. I didn’t share all the plot lines in my summary, because there is a fair bit of mystery and surprises that I wouldn’t want to ruin for you. Suffice to say, this book will have you invested from the beginning, and leave you with even more questions about Mara and her powers. Unluckily for me, I didn’t realize when I started this book that it’s a series. I’ve really been lamenting series lately, because I cannot STAND waiting for the next installment. You’ll hear more about that when I tell you about The Clockwork Prince. Soon maybe. Right after I eat these crackers.