THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER

‘Thinking something does not make it true.
Wanting something does not make it real.’

Rating: PG-13 for romantic themes and some horror, as well as unexplained elements.

Official Summary:

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.

Not exactly clear, am I right? It’s very vague, but you might take a chance on it if you saw it at the library. I took that chance, and here’s what really happens:

A teenage girl, Mara, comes to the realization that she has a terrible special ability. Mara and her family have just moved to Florida in hopes the relocation will help Mara heal from the accidental death of her best friend, Rachel. Continuing deaths, however, make Mara realize that she is at the center of all the strange fatalities and may have even caused the death of her own friend. Noah Shaw, an eccentric and intelligent boy, that Mara meets in Florida, holds his own secret that might help Mara control her own ability if she makes the right choice.

Slightly less vague, but I don’t want to give you too many spoilers.

My thoughts: This is a caution book. The source of Mara’s powers remain unexplained, and the results of it are rather gruesomely described (causes of death are near-horrific, and though well-written, are not suitable for younger readers). The PG-13 is an all-around rating, but primarily for the violence, the graphic pictures Hodkin’s words can paint in your mind. There is also a small amount of swearing (Noah Shaw is a bad, bad boy).

Also to be noted is the romantic themes in this novel- they’re pretty close to the surface and a major point in the character and plot development. That means that there are some…tense moments, but nothing past kissing, which is nice for those of us who don’t appreciate the lax morals thrown at us in most YA novels. However, Noah Shaw has a bad reputation, and it’s commented on several times from girls he’s ‘wronged,’ shall we say. One of these girls is the ‘Queen Bee’ who, (because there always has to be one of these nowadays) totes around a hulking male sidekick who just happens to be her ‘G.B.F’ (Gay Best Friend). Thanks, modern society where a person’s sexuality is a B.F.D (big fat deal). Anyway, that’s not too prominently discussed more than a passing comment by another kid at the school Mara attends, but it’s still there.

The big caution: At one point at the very beginning, during a flashback, there is a discussion of Mara and her friends using a Ouija board, a BIG no-no. There is no further discussion of that later in the story, though. The only other issue that is a caution point is when Mara and Noah attend a seminar where the speaker promises to ‘help find answers.’ She demands answers from him, and he cons $5,000 out of Noah and gives Mara a drink that is supposed to help her, a mysterious liquid. When Mara goes back to confront the man the next day, the shop is gone.

This was a really gripping book, but there are some things you have to take into consideration when deciding whether it would be an appropriate book to read. I don’t want to make decisions for anyone else, only help them to be well-informed.

Questions? Comments? Other books you want to have reviewed? Leave a comment below!

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