Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer- Michelle Hodkins

3.5/5 Stars

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)- Michelle Hodkins








“So,” he said, his eyes meeting mine again. “You’re a smuthound with daddy issues?” the corner of his mouth turned up in a slow, condescending smile.

I wanted to smack it off his face. “We’ll, you’re quoting it. And incorrectly, by the way. So what does that make you?”

His half-smile morphed into a whole grin. “Oh, I’m definitely a smuthound with daddy issues.”

“I guess you nailed me, then.”

“Not yet.”

“My god, you’re like the plague.”

“A masterfully crafted, powerfully understated, and epic parable of timeless moral resonance? Why, thank you. That’s one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said to me,” he said.

“The disease, Noah. Not the book.”

When I started reading this book I thought it was going somewhere entirely different but as the plot evolved I was really disappointed. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer would be a fantastic horror film. Seriously. The mounting tension, the suspense, the mystery, and just the right amount or gore and creepy make it perfect for a truly great horror film. I’m not talking B-movie or blockbuster trash but something terrifying in a completely real, non-paranormal sense. Then I got almost all the way through and thought why??!! . Read as a girl who may have murdered her friends because she may or may not be psychotic and hallucinating…golden. Could have easily gotten at least 4.5 stars. Like many of the reviews on Goodreads the added paranormal-ish elements took away from Mara’s unique story.

Mara Dyer is broken. Or at least she thinks so. After the tragic death of her friends in a building collapse, Mara is the only survivor and her amnesia only furthers her anguish. Wishing she knew what happened that night in the condemned insane asylum, Mara is far from comforted when the hallucinations start. Visions of her dead friends haunt her every waking moment. She thinks she hears them calling her name, she sees them on the streets, and even when she looks in the mirror their bloody eyes stare back at her. Knowing that she might be certifiably insane, Mara thinks that maybe a change of scenery will help and she persuades her parents to move. The Dyer family ends up in sunny south Florida just in time for a huge murder trial. Forced to attend a snobby private school, Mara is convinced she won’t fit in. On the first day when the hallucinations escalate, she questions her sanity once again. Her brother Daniel is a pre-Ivy senior who instantly finds a place with the nerdy overachievers and it seems Mara is destined to be an outcast. Already the popular kids stare at her with disdain but their harassment doesn’t really increase until Mara catches the attention of the school’s notorious heart throb and playboy, Noah. Noah is charming, gorgeous, and nothing like the reputation that proceeds him, too bad no one else knows it. As Noah and Mara get closer, the stress of the bullying from her classmates, the hallucinations of her dead friends, and the pressure from the trial and a string of strange deaths seem to suffocate her. As everything gets more complicated bits and pieces of what happened in the insane asylum come back to her. As the answers to her past slowly fall into place Mara doesn’t know who she is anymore or what she is capable of. When the truth comes out will she be able to live with it? Or will it only confirm the sickening suspicions of her crumbling sanity?


  • Noah and Mara have instantaneous, infectious chemistry that will warm your heart and bring a smile to your face. Their playful banter is fueled by witty sarcasm and sexual innuendo. Every touch, every glance sizzles with electrified attraction.
  • There are moments of sinister, horrific uncertainty that cause the reader to question what is really going on. The fact that you can never be quite sure of what is reality, what bloody,violent images are real or imagined keeps you on your toes. You will start to wonder if the narrators tot is unreliable, if Mara is really as unhinged and unstable as she believes, or if your sympathy for the character is clouding proper judgement.
  • The opening scene is brilliant. It combines the perfect blend of mystery, terror, and foreboding that draws you in and keeps you turning pages for more.


  • The bullies are overly clich├ęd and the high school is your typical stereotype filled palace of angst and jealousy.
  • The supernatural inclusions were unnecessary and seemed a bit like something stuffed into the plot as an afterthought.
  • Descriptions are severely lacking. More detail into what Mara, and her family members look like would have been useful instead of focusing on the features of Noah, and the popular kids.
  • The plot is somewhat random and forced. The inclusion of the murdered teen and Mara’s father’s involvement in the trial detracted from Mara’s story and was more of an annoyance than a functioning subplot.

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Happy reading all, sorry I’ve been a bit behind with the holidays and such,