Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
To be honest, this is my favourite series after Harry Potter. I just love everything about it – the writing, the story, the family, the friends, and Noah Elliot Simon Shaw. God, he is the the best book boyfriend ever, fight me.
- Indian mom and grandmother
- Biracial kids
- Black best friend, who is also bi
- Main character has PTSD
Her relationship with her mother is very similar to the relationship I had with my mother growing up, so it was very easy for me to understand what she meant throughout the book. She’s at times irritated and annoyed by her mother’s protectiveness but also loves her mother and feels guilty for being rude to her. I feel like when they are not arguing they have a nice mother-daughter relationship, like when Indi helps Mara get ready for the costume party. We don’t see much of Mara’s father, but he seems like a chill dad, since Mara finds it easy to laugh around him and isn’t always tense. You can tell throughout the book that they both really care about Mara, even if the way they show it isn’t always the way Mara wants. I do wish Michelle Hodkin showed more of Mara’s relationship with her parents more.
Her relationship with her brothers is also what I loved about this book. Daniel and Joseph care a lot about Mara, and Daniel is always trying to help her whenever he can. He makes excuses on her behalf, so her parents don’t think she’s “going crazy” entirely. They also try their best to treat her normal. I love a book that has a good sibling relationship and the relationship Mara has with her brothers is just so sweet.
As for Noah, I know some people find that he was a stalker, and being a creep towards Mara when he wouldn’t leave her alone. Yes, that part was annoying, but other than that I really love Noah. In the beginning of the book, he’s the school bad boy (or is he?), but isn’t one when it comes to Mara. He doesn’t sleep with Mara when she tries to – near the end of the book – because he knows Mara isn’t feeling entirely okay, and isn’t ready for that just yet. He doesn’t take advantage of her that way. He’s protective of her – when he claims they are together in front of the school, and fights the guys that were harassing her. Yes, some people find all that behaviour clingy and problematic because they aren’t technically together, but the way I see it is that he doesn’t do it because he’s being a f-boy or for the sake of annoying Mara, I feel that he genuinely cares for Mara. He’s annoying at times and somewhat territorial of her, but he doesn’t take advantage of her even though he knows she’s vulnerable at times, he’s not like Jude. He goes out of his way to make sure she’s okay, and also to protect Joseph – someone that he doesn’t even have to help. But he really likes Mara at this point – and knows it would ruin her if anything happened to her little brother. And he’s also super respectful towards her family, which is like, goals??
And Jamie. He is one of my favourite characters. I loved him in the beginning of the book and was so pissed when he got expelled. I didn’t know if he would return later on or in the other books, so that kept me on edge. I really enjoyed his sarcasm and way of talking. Also, can we please appreciate how he wants Mara to be okay and happy, to not get hurt by f-boy Noah, but also allows her to make her own choices, and doesn’t shame her for them?? He’s not like other book best friends, and I really really loved that about him. *cough Jacob Black cough*.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I read it in one setting whenever I read it, and I’m sure I will read this series many times in the future. As someone that has PTSD, I think the portrayal in this book is fairly accurate and isn’t overdone like some other books. You can tell throughout the book just how much she’s being affected by the trauma, and how scared she is of taking pills in fear of being labelled “crazy”. I also loved the suspense/mystery, and the paranormal touch to the book. Part of the mystery of the book is that, as readers we don’t know if Mara is actually hallucinating the things that she sees or if she’s really losing her mind and going crazy. A lot is explained when we find out that Noah has similar “powers” to Mara – but where Mara can kill, Noah can heal. #MadeForEachOther. I recommend this book to everyone that loves a good mystery and some paranormal feels.
One thing I didn’t like about the book though, is how even though the Dyer kids are biracial, Mara tries to ignore her Indian side (other than the sari she once wore). She tries to turn off the Indian music when she’s in the car, and I, a Punjabi girl, was just surprised because honey, Indian music is the best music. Turn that shit up. I wish Michelle Hodkin mentioned more of Mara’s diversity other than just sprinkling it around the book to remind the reader that yes, Mara is biracial.