Monday, 1 July 2013

Mara Dyer #1 and #2 - Michelle Hodkin [Review]

This review may contain spoilers.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (#1) and The Evolution of Mara Dyer (#2) by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #1)


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.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #2)


Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.

She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.
They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?


The only thing I can say after finishing the 2 Mara Dyer books is: What the h*ll is going on?
If I should describe this series in one word it's confusing. Nothing is what it seems and you never know what is real and what isn't. Is something paranormal happening or is Mara just crazy? Everytime you think you know something, it turns out to be something else. The books are pretty creepy and I got the chills multiple times during reading.

I'm not sure in which genre these books belongs. They're not paranormal, they are not exactly horror, yes, there is some romantic stuff, but to call them romance novels, no. Perhaps mystery is the best name for the series' genre, or maybe a physiological thriller.. I really don't know.

Mara Dyer (the narrator's pseudonym since she can't remember her real name) is the sole survivor of an accident which killed her 3 friends. Only it wasn't an accident. Mara has the power to kill people with her mind, or so she thinks. She meets Noah, who has the power to heal people. He seems to be the only one who understands her. 
In book 2 the mystery gets bigger and bigger and when her supposed-to-be-dead ex-boyfriend Jude shows up nobody believes her. She is admitted to a mental hospital and even there she is not safe. Is what she is seeing real or not?

First of all I loved the characters. The main characters, Mara and Noah, are very complex and layered, piece by piece we find out more about them. They are both very dark characters with pretty big problems. I love that the writer doesn't try to sugercoat them or make them seem less dark than they are. 

Mara is a very intriguing character. She is not a trustworthy narrator, but that is what makes the book so good. She seems pretty strong and put together for what is happening to her. She hallucinates, she has disturbing dreams, she sees dead people in mirrors and she can kill people with her mind, and still she comes out of bed every morning and does not whine about it. Everytime you think you have figured Mara out, she does something weird. You don't really know her at all and you want to find out who she really is very badly.

Noah at first seemed like a typical arrogant bad boy. But slowly we find out he carries problems of himself and he has powers too. He is the only one who believes Mara and he supports her through everything. He is the bad boy who only uses the bad to cover up his problems and is actually very caring. That is my favourite type of YA male character:) In book 1 he is still pretty much a mystery, but in book 2 we come to know a lot more about him and his powers. He is smart, funny and caring, what's not to love? I would love to read his POV in the next book.

I liked the character of Daniel. I thought he was a bit weird at first, pushing his sister to spend time with the womanizer of the school, but mainly in book 2 he was very supportive of Mara. These books are one of the few in the YA genre that actually acknowledge the fact that the main characters have a family, who are often non-existent. I like that, it makes the book more realistic.

Mara's friend from school Jamie brought the necessary humour to the books, which lightened the dark mood a bit. In book 1 he maybe seemed a bit too forced in to give all minorities a place in the book (he's homosexual, black and Jewish..), but in book 2 he was a lot of support to Mara and he became a piece of the whole mystery.

I loved Mara and Noah's relationship. They have much chemistry and there was no instalove or love triangle or anything, fortunately. Their relationship was realistic, since they fell for each other because the other is the only one who understands and is supportive, not because of appearances. Their powers are the complete opposite, she kills and he heals, I am curious to see if that has any meaning. Their romance does not overshadow the actual story, but the moments they do have are really sweet.

The books are very fast-paced. Once you start them you don't want to put them down. On every page there is a new mystery, a new question and you just have to read along. The twists are very unexpected and the story is captivating.

The cliffhanger at the end of book 2 is killing me! I want to find out what is happening so bad, but the third book is said to be delayed until June 2014...

I would definitely recommend this series if you like creepy mystery books. If you always want answers to all your questions quickly and if you are scared easily, than don't read it.

Favourite quote:

“This was the boy I loved. A little bit messy. A little bit ruined. A beautiful disaster. Just like me.

Stars: 4 out of 5


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I absolutely love these books and I can't wait to read book #3. Great review!

    I think I consider them some kind of psycological thriller... but well, it's actually really difficult to give them an exact genre (:

    You can find my reviews here: The Unbecoming, The Evolution

  3. I haven't read these before. I am kind of on the fence, ya know?

  4. I think the books can definitely be classified as psychological thrillers, but they're a bit of a mix of everything. Horror, paranormal, romance, possibly even sci-fi... it's a very unique series! The characters are one of the best parts, though. Mara is kickass and you know how I feel about Noah, haha. Mara's brothers may be my favorites, though, because the family dynamic is just so sweet!

  5. These two are my favorite books!

  6. Oooh nice! I have been debating about these books recently, and their constant appearance in the blogging world is starting to get me curious. Better late than never, right? This combo review definitely has me more intrigued. While usually I'm a paranormal reader, I do like the weird and unexplained. The thrillers! Even if there's nothing paranormal going on, but it sounds like there is a bit since Mara and Noah have these strange abilities. To me that equals to a dose of the paranormal if the characters aren't completely normal in the average human sense!

    It's starting to look like I might have to add this series to my TBR mountain. And just when I thought I was getting a handle on dismantling it! Great review!

  7. I really liked these books because it's on the verge of paranormal and a normal thriller, it keeps you guessing what the reason behind their powers is and if it's even real:)

  8. i don't even know, somewhere it was classified as para-romance so... but they are so amazing I just can't even deal with it!


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