Friday, October 19, 2012

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin [Review]

Description: Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

Verdict:  Hype turns me off.  Way off.  I don't want to read something that everyone says is the most awesomest thing since Twilight or The Hunger Games.  Which is why I put off reading it.  Until I was finishing up a book, looking for another and stumbled upon this twitter conversation.  And while I'll agree that it isn't that scary, I did sleep with the light on last night, but not consciously on purpose, I think... but definitely a great Halloween-month read. (and the second book comes out on Tuesday)

Anyway, the thing that most impressed me about this story was not it's plot, though that was weird and twisty and slightly off, but its characters.  Mara, her brothers Daniel & (especially) Joseph, Noah, Anna... they were nothing new.  But they were.  They had personalities.  They also had typical teenaged reactions to situations.  It's an odd thing to notice I suppose, but I didn't just notice, I appreciated.  Noah wasn't your typical bad boy gone good.  Mara wasn't your typical troubled new girl.  Joseph?  Definitely not your typical little bro.  But they were.  They were typical people reacting in real ways to situations, not fighting against who they were on the page to reach a point in the plot.  And that is a hard thing to achieve: to make the characters jump off of the page and make them, for risk of sounding hype-ish, come alive, with uniqueness and individuality (to the point where a lot of the time no dialogue tags were needed), but still go where you need to in the plot.  Rare.  Beautiful.

I usually write my own plot sketch for a review.  I didn't for this one because it's what made the experience powerful for me.  Not knowing any more than that ^ right up there.  So I won't ruin it for you.  But I will recommend it to you.  Don't listen to me or the hype you've heard about this book.  Pick it up and make up your own mind!

Parents:  There are strong themes in this one: murder, accountability, responsibility, rape, kidnapping.  Strong language.  Mention and patronage of Santeria, though brief and not repeated.  Intense sensual moments but no sex.  As always, you discern what's appropriate for your loved one.