Review Blog

Mar 29 2012

The unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

cover image

(Mara Dyer: 1) Simon and Schuster, 2012. ISBN 9780857073631.
(Age: 15+) Mara Dyer wakes up in hospital with her memory gone. She can't remember how her boyfriend and her best friend were killed or why she was left unharmed. Her doctor recommends that she start over in a new town and a new school. There she meets the mysterious Noah and strange things begin to happen around her. Can she really see other people's deaths before they happen?
'My name is not Mara Dyer, but my lawyer told me I had to choose something. A pseudonym.' With this beginning line Hodkin writes a hook to get the reader involved and questioning whether the heroine of the story really has a body count that is her responsibility. She furthers the suspense with the appearance of Noah, who Mara is not sure she can trust.
A mixture of thriller and paranormal, this book kept me reading to the end. Sometimes the mixture didn't quite ring true and I was left wishing that Hodkin had stuck to either one or the other of the genres, but it was suspenseful enough to keep me reading. Although Mara's insecurities and self-involvement were annoying at times, her relationship with her brothers was a highlight of the book. Noah, the main love interest is an enigma, and I am sure that this aspect will appeal to teenage girls, to whom this book is aimed.
Ending on a surprising note, the author left me reeling and I will have to read the next in the series to see where it goes. There is a website dedicated to the series, where there is a trailer and the first chapter of the book.
Pat Pledger

Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 shortlist
CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 shortlist
School Library Association Information Book Award 2017
2017 UKLA Book Awards shortlists
International Children's Book Day 2nd April, 2017
Branford Boase Award 2017 longlist
Children's Book Award 2017 shortlist

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Books for boys