Welcome to my blog. I often think I was born with a book in my hand. I have always enjoyed reading, but more importantly, talking about books. This blog is partially about reviews, but is really a forum to talk about what I'm reading, and express all of the thoughts and feelings that there simply isn't room for in a professional review. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on your favourite books as you follow my reading journey.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer: An Attention-Grabbing thriller

When sixteen-year-old Mara Dyer wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of how she got there or why she's there, you would think that things couldn't get much odder than that. But you'd be wrong. Mara has no recollection of what happened the night her friends were killed, but she can't shake the feeling that there is more to the accident than there appears.

Thinking that a change of scenery might help her to get past the accident, she convinces her parents to move to Florida, where she enrolls in a private school, and immediately catches the attention of bad-boy Noah Shaw.  Noah is rich and gorgeous, but his reputation preceeds him, and Mara is initially resistant to his advances.

There is also the matter of her purported Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, which she believes is responsible for the visions she keeps having of her dead ex-boyfriend Jude. Mara is certain that if she could just unlock the memory of what happened that horrible night everything would start to get back to normal. What she doesn't realize is that sometimes knowing is worse than forgetting, and that her life will take a turn for the strange.

For a book not releasing until the end of September, Michelle Hodkin's YA debut has certainly been generating a lot of buzz. After reading it, I can see why. It's an edge-of-your-seat thriller that not only leaves you wondering what will happen next, but provides many "what the *BLEEP*"moments that you won't see coming.  In fact, I often found myself having to resist the urge to skip ahead  because the suspense was that intense. I particularly loved the author's use of flashbacks to the night of the accident, and they work beautifully to heighten the tension.

The characters were interesting and diverse, and I particularly loved Mara's brother Daniel, who is the epitome of the cool big brother. Her younger brother Joseph plays a fairly minor role, but does have some really adorable quirks, and feels like he's someone's real little brother. Noah, the love interest is a very complex character, and you'll have to decide once you read it what you think of him. He absolutely has the "playboy" reputation, but there are hints that perhaps it isn't entirely earned or deserved. The more Mara gets to know him, the more likeable and human he becomes.

The part that bothered me about the novel, and I'll preface this by saying it might not have if I'd understood from the beginning that it's not a stand-alone, is the ending. While there was plenty of action throughout, and the pacing was sound, about three quarters of the way through the book, an event happens that seems to come from so far out of nowwhere that I had to go back and re-read the preceeding chapter in case there was something I glossed over. (Which I didn't). From that point on, it was like a floodgate opened, and there were several more bizzare occurances that were obviously not going to be resolved by the end of the book.

I have heard that the author has a plan, and ultimately everything will make sense, so if you decide to read it now, be prepared to be left with a lot of questions and a long wait until the next one. Otherwise, ignore the hype, wait until book 2 is available, and read them together when you won't have to suffer like the rest of us, waiting to find out what happens next.

On the whole, this is a highly-enjoyable read that will suck you in and keep you reading under the covers with your flashlight long after you should have gone to bed.