The ornate script on the board twisted in the candlelight, making the letters and numbers dance in my head.
"Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger. She wakes from a coma in hospital with no memory of how she got there or of the bizarre accident that caused the deaths of her best friends and her boyfriend, yet left her mysteriously unharmed. The doctors suggest that starting over in a new city, a new school, would be good for her and just to let the memories gradually come back on their own. But Mara’s new start is anything but comforting. She sees the faces of her dead friends everywhere, and when she suddenly begins to see other people’s deaths right before they happen, Mara wonders whether she’s going crazy! And if dealing with all this wasn’t enough, Noah Shaw, the most beautiful boy she has ever seen can’t seem to leave her alone… but as her life unravels around her, Mara can’t help but wonder if Noah has another agenda altogether…"
I have major mixed feelings about this book; on the one hand, it was a creepy, delicious, well-written, YA book, but on the other hand, it could have gone a whole other direction and probably been better for it. The romance was really, really annoying; I'll get to that later. For now, let's focus on the things that I really did like about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.
It was recommended to me when I asked for recommendations for books similar to Code Name Verity. Now, obviously, the two plots are nothing alike, and the setting is complete different, but the narration is kind of similar. Both books are very high-stakes, and both books have unreliable narrators who withhold lots of information. There's also a very gripping mystery element to both books.
The basic plot of this book was certainly very scary and compelling. I kind of already knew what had happened at the accident after not very many pages, but I did want to find out more, and I certainly wanted an explanation for the strange things in Mara's life. The writing was also incredibly suspenseful, as paranormal YA is wont to be. I could barely put the book down, even though I found myself rolling my eyes at some of the things that happened. At Noah, for example.
Anyway, I was very skeptical about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer; I actually expected to put it down after a while, disgusted by its YA-ness. But I didn't. I raced through the book; it was one of the most suspenseful and disturbing books I've read in quite a while.
Yeah, the romance was annoying. But just like Mara, I found myself being attracted to Noah in spite of myself. I didn't like it one bit, and I have a feeling Noah in the flesh would be even harder to resist. So I can't say that I blame Mara for falling for him, just that I wish the author would have done something different with the romance. Noah is also kind of controlling, and that I hated. Yeah, he helps Mara a lot and sticks up for her, but that doesn't mean that he's not kind of evil. And he enjoys messing with her. A lot. I really did not like that aspect.
Still, I didn't hate The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer as much as other people did. It's certainly entertainment rather than art, and I doubt it will be remembered fifty years from now. But if you're looking for a read that's interesting, disturbing, and yeah, has an attractive guy in it, this is the book for you. I won't say that I regret reading it, only that I should really be a bit more selective with my reading. Books like this really aren't worth my time. This was definitely a guilty pleasure, even though it's not a particularly pleasant book.
Anyway, I did not like the ending, which didn't tie anything up. It was basically a ploy to make everyone who's at least halfway interested in the book read the sequel. I probably won't, if I can resist it. But the ending was such a cliffhanger!
Rating: 3.5 stars.