Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Normally, Jenn from Lost in a Great Book and I would have our wrap-up post with a link-up for your reviews on this month’s readalong.. however since Jenn has moved a little bit further away for work, we are more limited to when we can get together for brunch to discuss. Therefore, the review to close up this August readalong is today, but our brunch wrap-up post with link-up will be on Sunday or Monday.


Mara wakes up in the hospital after an accident that kills her friends. She has no memory of the incident and in fact, isn’t even sure of what her real name is. When her family relocates to Florida to get away from the tragedy, she tries to fit in at the private school that her and her brother are enrolled in while dealing with the flashbacks and nightmares. Attributing them to PTSD, Mara is reluctant to take meds or go through therapy until her hallucinations keep coming more and more frequently. What she uncovers about herself and her involvement with the accident leaves Mara and her new love interest stunned.

To be honest, I didn’t know too much of what the book was about. The book jacket synopsis is mysteriously vague and the gorgeous cover gives the impression of something to do with water. I don’t often like going into a book with no idea of what was going on but it worked out well in this case. I liked the mystery aspect to the plot and the uncertainty of what happened with her friends coupled with her eerie hallucinations kept me hooked. I’m conflicted on my thoughts of Noah, the love interest. While I am often partial to the bad boys, a lot of his actions seemed so contradictory & over-the-top to his bad boy label that I found myself rolling my eyes at times. The extravagance of his gestures sometimes seemed a bit contrived and I found the tour of his house a bit “Edward Cullen-esque” in its opulence. That being said, Noah is quite the charming character and, cheesy or not, he’s an interesting one to keep your eye on.

While I did really enjoy the story, one brief detail stuck out at me right from the first page that I couldn’t shake the whole way through. The book begins with a “handwritten” letter from Mara Dyer indicating that her lawyer asked her to pick a name since she couldn’t remember anything. So it’s established before the story even begins that Mara Dyer is not her real name. But right from the first chapter where she’s playing with a Ouija board pre-accident with her friends, there is so much emphasis on the fact that Mara is her name. I kept waiting for something to tie in that first handwritten page with the rest of the story since there was SO much attention to her name, whether it was how people pronounced it or how her parents were Mr. & Mrs. Dyer. I kept hanging onto that the entire way, wondering how that was going to loop back around with the way the story was going.

Setting that aside, however, I thoroughly devoured this book. I couldn’t put it down and needed to keep reading until I found out what was going on. Sometimes, you just have eto suspend your disbelief and enjoy an entertainingly creepy read. One good thing about waiting so long to get to this one is that I don’t have that long to wait for the sequel!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ (4/5 stars)
Available: September 27, 2011
Sequel, The Evolution of Mara Dyer available: September 23, 2012
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon


  1. Great review!! I really loved this book. I tend to really like creepy psychological reads. They keep my brain going crazy. I tend to read into things too much sometimes though and if I don’t just let them go I can really ruin a book for myself. Like you said, just read and enjoy!! :)
    Amy @ Book Loving Mom recently posted..Review: Shade by Jeri Smith-ReadyMy Profile

  2. I never noticed the whole name thing about Mara! I must have just grazed over that part while I was reading! I agree about Noah though… much as I wanted to love him I found him a little too much like the typical bad boy. I’m excited for the next book though!
    Natalie S. (@tobeshelved) recently posted..Book Review: The Perks of Being a WallflowerMy Profile

  3. I really liked this book! I can’t remember the parts surrounding her name … I have been planning to reread this one when the sequel comes out .. I think I’ll need the recap!

    The cover for this one is absolutely GORGEOUS! No doubt about that. :)

    Great review, Michele!
    Kristilyn (Reading in Winter) recently posted..Discussion: To Friend or Not To Friend (Is It All A Popularity Contest?)My Profile

  4. You and I are opposites in terms of what we want to know when going into a book! I love knowing as little as possible, so I was really excited when I read the synopsis for Mara Dyer.

    Glad you enjoyed it though! Can’t wait for book 2!

  5. Great review! I LOVED this book. I agree, I kept wondering about the name thing, too… Ah well. I can’t WAIT for the sequel.
    Ang @ The Next Chapter recently posted..Musing Mondays 29My Profile

  6. I just figured the name(s) were changed throughout. Like, if her name was really Jessica Smith, then the Ouija board spelled out “jessica” and her parents were Mr and Ms Smith etc. It’s the principle I apply to fantasy books set in other worlds. 😉

    But I do have to wonder about why she needs a lawyer and a new name (though, by the end of it I think we get a pretty clear idea!)
    Shannon (Giraffe Days) recently posted..Review: How to Marry a Millionaire VampireMy Profile

  7. I totally forgot about the letter in the beginning. That is really strange… But I did really love this book! I love mind boggling reads with a bunch a crazy stuff happening! It just made me read even more eagerly and I ended up devouring it in a day!
    Awesome review! :)
    Addie R. recently posted..Cursed by Jennifer L. ArmentroutMy Profile

  8. I met Michelle Hodkin last year, and she has a fascinating story of how Mara Dyer came to be (mainly that she felt absolutely compelled to start writing this book). I’m not usually into creepy-weird books, but after meeting her, I feel like I absolutely have to read this! Really appreciate the review, and I’m excited to see what you and Jen have to say after your brunch!
    Tiff @ MostlyYALit recently posted..Belles by Jen CalonitaMy Profile

  9. I just couldn’t put this one down either! I read it in a 2 hour car ride. It was really good! It’s one of my favorite paranormal romances. :) I loved how it was filled with mystery! There were definitely many unexpected things that happened. I can’t wait for the sequel so I can find out what happens next!

    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian
    Krystianna recently posted..Update on Things + Sneak Peek at What’s in Store on the Blog!My Profile

  10. YES! I kept flipping back to the letter just to keep reassuring myself that I was reading it right. So when I went into the book I kept thinking okay okay but when are they going to tell us she doesn’t remember her name and then the book ended. Sigh, I hope she explains this in the subsequent books.
    Ann (@TeaAndText) recently posted..Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle HodkinMy Profile


  1. […] “I couldn’t put it down and needed to keep reading until I found out what was going on. Sometimes, you just have eto suspend your disbelief and enjoy an entertainingly creepy read.” Just a Lil’ Lost […]

Leave a Comment


CommentLuv badge


Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox: