The Unbecoming of Mara Dryer By: Michelle Hodkin



I had seen this cover many times as I browsed my library and the bookstores. The cover was interesting, following a kind of trend of pretty girls in floaty dresses. So I thought I’d give it a chance, though it wasn’t as good as I was hoping.

Quick Summary: Mara wakes up in the hospital with no memory of how she got there, barley a scratch on her. She later learns that her best friend, her boyfriend, and his sister were all killed in a building collapse where she was found. Moving away to begin a fresh start with her family, Mara believes she suffers from PTSD. Hallucinations of her dead friends, of voices that aren’t there, begin to haunt her as well as the missing memory of what happened that night. At her new private school, thing begin to change. She meets a dashing British boy who seems to have a strange fascination with Mara, but even more strange-people begin to die around her. Mara begins to doubt her sanity as well as what all these strange events mean.

So, even as a teenager I got a little tired of book with this premise. Ordinary girl who feels like an outcast, extraordinarily  handsome boy takes an interest in her-but he has a secret, and it turns out she isn’t ordinary at all! But wait, there’s more-she also can’t do anything on her own as soon as she figures she isn’t special. I digress, onto the specifics.

I enjoyed the book at first, intrigued by the paranormal aspect, curious to see what Mara couldn’t remember about the night her friends died. Is she really killing people, or is it all just in her head? It began to get a little boring though with the introduction of Noah. He is a wealthy playboy with good looks and a snarky attitude. Mara is inexplicably drawn to him even though she doesn’t want to be. Mara seems like a strong independent person, though insecure dealing with the deaths of her friends and the PTSD. Yet once romance is involved she always claims not to need saving but in the end she does. It’s…a little disappointing. This is why I go back and forth with Mara. Sometimes she’s in your face, throwing comments back, and trying to discover things on her own while dealing with an overbearing mother with a degree in psychology. Yay Mara! Now let us turn boy obsessive hate/love thing going on while also failing in some cases of common sense and giving in to things when she already decided against them. Maybe it is just that Mara, or her peers and siblings, never really come of as teenagers. More like abstracts and cliche’s.

I did like that you slowly find out about what exactly happened that night, what is going on with Mara and her blackouts, her visions, and PTSD. Her elder brother does come off as caring, concerned, and helping her out with the overbearing mom. He is a little too perfect  but you can get a sense that he really seems to be the only one who actually cares about his sister. There are some good one liners or conversation bits between Mara and her brother or Noah that made me chuckle out loud. The writing style wasn’t bad either, it didn’t have too much prose and flowed easily for an easy read.

So overall, nothing really special here, nothing that really stuck with me. It seems to be a book you either really love or just feel blase about the whole thing. One thing that I had an issue with that made me feel disappointing in the author is a blog post (that I believe has since been removed thank heavens) about people giving bad reviews about her book. She felt that some of them were too rude, too harsh, and untruthful or overly aggressive. She rants, swears, and is generally unbecoming and childish. I am glad it has since been removed because it makes her look bad as an author. Putting anything out there you are going to get trolls and bad reviews, some with merit and some not. Keep it to yourself in the future to save face and look like you are above it all.

Beyond that, I am not going to finish the series, but I may try some other books by her if they come out. Like I said, the concepts and writing styles are something I like, and perhaps with a different novel I will enjoy it more.

2.5\5 stars.


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