The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed the creepiness and suspense of the story as Mara tries to unravel what happened the night she and her three friends were trapped inside an abandoned asylum when it crumbled killing her friends and leaving her relatively unharmed, at least physically. Mara struggles with trying to piece together events and hold onto her remaining sanity while at the same time hiding how bad it is from her concerned mother who isn't altogether fooled. Meanwhile, Mara is also coping with finding her place at a new school, dealing with a "mean girl", improving her plummeting grades, and deciding whether the hot guy is just a player or if he is really into her. So she's got a lot going on for a girl with a damaged psyche, all of which makes for an engrossing story...at first.
About midway in, I noticed some inconsistencies and things that just didn't work for me in the story. It sometimes felt as if the author was shoving things into the plot without really adjusting the rest of the story around it thereby making it feel a bit disjointed. Also, Mara doesn't question things that are obviously very, VERY suspicious and strange (
I did like the love interest, Noah, for the most part. But he, like many people in the story, was too conveniently perfect. She had a best friend that was a black, jewish, bisexual genius (I know this because it was mentioned in the book almost verbatim)who helps her ace all her classes AND stand up to bullies. She has a big brother whose main concern is looking out for her with never a complaint even when it interferes with his new girlfriend (actually his new girlfriend even helps Mara out), a little brother who is always happy and never annoying and who reads the Wall Street Journal and gives stock tips, and finally a love interest who is a gazillionaire who lives in a mansion and rescues dogs and drives a prius and although formerly the schools biggest player with the worst reputation he is now completely and utterly devoted to only her making her his first "official" girlfriend. (Has anyone ever watched John Tucker Must Die?)But despite all of that, I actually did like him anyway. But these are definitely things that affected my enjoyment of the story as a whole.
I've heard several people say that either they guessed where the story was going or they didn't guess where the story was going, but I'm still at loss as to where the story went. I don't think there was much resolution and I'm left with more questions than answers, but not enough to motivate me to read the second book. I felt let down by the ending, it was almost anti-climactic with all of the building of suspense throughout the story and then I was left just mostly unsure. There was a bit of a plot twist at the end, but not enough to pique my interest in the second book. Overall, I liked the story, but didn't love it.
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