The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is one of those books I instantly put on my to read-list, just because of the original title and pretty, mysterious cover. It took me a while to get around to reading it though. Anyways, I feel the totally random urge to do this review in a plus-and-minus kind of way, so I’m just gonna roll with it if ya don’t mind.
On the plus side:
- I really enjoyed the voice in which The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is written. It’s realistically teenage-y without being annoying towards readers that are a bit older (as opposed to the House of Night-books for example, which are most definitely annoying).
- Pop culture references usually bug me because they keep the book from being timeless, but they were perfectly placed and and picked in this novel. Loved the references to Harry Potter, LOTR etc!
- Learned some new vocabulary (see below) as a non-native English speaker. I really appreciate it when YA is not ‘dumbed down’. Yeah, you go ahead and use those big words, Mara! Meanwhile I’ll just … Look them up in the dictionary.
- The chapters had a nice length. Is it weird to actively like that about a book? Because I do. I love me some perfect-length chapters.
- Though I don’t have any brothers of my own, I found the relationship between Mara and her brothers to be very realistic. Everyone should have a big brother like Daniel. The same can be said for the relationship with her parents, who are – as rarely seen in YA – really involved in Mara’s life.
- The way the romance develops was refreshingly realistic. They have that hate-love thing going on. I would’ve loved that if Noah wasn’t such a skinny hipster bad boy. I’m too old for bad boys. And hipsters.
On the minus side:
- 3/4 of the book is building up the romance and Mara hallucinating every now and then. It’s only in the last quarter of the book that things get (somewhat) interesting. Some author on the cover advised readers to ‘read with the light on’. Whatever for? There was nothing even remotely thriller-y about it. The story is kind of dull, but the solid writing makes up for it.
- Noah smokes. Why does Noah smoke? Cute boys should not smoke. Never ever. Bad guys in books are allowed to smoke and then die of cancer, but the main love interest? No. Unresponsible. When a character lights up they have to pretty amazing (and obviously stop smoking) to get back in favor with me. Adrian Ivashkov (Vampire Academy, Bloodlines) is slowly getting there, but Noah Shaw still has some way to go.
- Information dump much in the last part of the book? It would’ve been better to spread the info out a bit more or at least give the reader some inkling of what’s actually going on instead of putting waaaay to much revelations in one conversation/chapter. That crap came out of the blue. And not in a ‘wow, plot twist’ kind of way. More in a ‘the author did not think this through’ kind of way.
- Ouija boards, kids going into a haunted asylum … Sigh. Then she goes to a fancy school and has a blonde nemesis! Super original! No wait, it’s not. And then her sorta boyfriend turns out to be super duper rich! Yeah, minus points for originality, Michelle Hodkin.
- I have a feeling this trilogy will turn out like The Adoration of Jenna Fox (which I loved by the way). Just putting that out there in case I turn out to be right so I can come back and gloat.
- Chitinous: Made of, pertaining to, or resembling chitin. (That definition doesn’t really help me – maybe I wrote it down wrong?)
- Par for the course: typical; about what one could expect.
- Hamartia: tragic flaw.
- Magnanimous: Generous in forgiving; eschewing resentment or revenge; unselfish.
- Epiteth: a characterizing word or phrase firmly associated with a person or thing and often used in place of an actual name, title, or the like, as “man’s best friend” for “dog.”