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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer: Mara Dyer, Book 1 | [Michelle Hodkin]

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer: Mara Dyer, Book 1

Mara Dyer believes life can't 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 strangely unharmed. There is. She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love. She's wrong.
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Publisher's Summary

Mara Dyer believes life can't 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 strangely unharmed. There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love. She's wrong.

©2011 Michelle Hodkin (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Narrator Christy Romano captures the youthful voice of the 17-year- old main character. Mara's sass, worries, and romantic longing all come alive, thanks to Romano's performance." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (182 )
5 star
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4.2 (165 )
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4.2 (162 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Oli 03-18-14
    Oli 03-18-14 Member Since 2008

    “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” ― Jorge Luis Borges

    HELPFUL VOTES
    103
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    5
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    "Not bad"

    An interesting, young adult, paranormal romance. It’s a story about damaged girl who just wants to be normal. We can all relate to that part of our teen-hood in one way or another. The romance was a bit too sugary, but the mystery kept me reading. I will, however, wait until the third book comes out to finish the trilogy.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kimbacaffeinate 02-18-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    20
    20
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    Story
    "Twisted, dark, romantic, frustrating, and suspense"
    What made the experience of listening to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer the most enjoyable?

    Part mystery, part romance with a paranormal twist and its unreliable narrator this was one heck of a crazy ride. Hodkin delivered a pull your hair-out read that left me scratching my head and screaming for more.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I am not sure if The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was a mystery, suspense thriller or romance with paranormal elements. The tale goes back and forth between the two having me on edge one moment and swooning the next. Whom could I trust? What the heck is happening? Is Mara crazy? Mara begins to regain memories of the night her friends die and slowly we begin to understand, or at least I thought did. Noah is a curiosity, he is involved and the discovery was nerve racking. Between moments of uncertainty and disbelief we have a somewhat normal romance, and while I enjoyed the romance it also made me crazy because hello, WTH is happening? Hodkin kept me on the edge and even when I thought I knew she kept me second guessing. Her writing style is descriptive, and she gave me a panoramic view of events as they unfolded. I could smell the swamp, feel the dampness in the abandoned building, taste Mara’s fear and visualize the dirt floor of the shed. The tale unwinds unevenly, giving us moments of frenzy and then dragging in parts. One minute it is a thriller and the next I it was like I walked into the middle of a contemporary romance. The tale ends in a cliffy that threw me so hard I actually went back and listened to the last two chapters again fearing I missed something.


    What about Christy Romano’s performance did you like?

    Christy Romano did a great job as the narrator. She gave Mara and Noah their own unique voice. The only time I heard her break from character was in Mara’s bedroom when Noah revealed his secret. Mara’s monotone narrative added to my sense of uncertainty.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The Reading Date CA, United States 02-05-14
    The Reading Date CA, United States 02-05-14 Member Since 2011

    I'm an audiobook addict and blog about books at The Reading Date. My favorite genres are YA, New Adult, Fiction & Memoirs.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    128
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    "Uneven mystery romance"

    The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer came out in print two and a half years ago but is just now making its audiobook debut. The plot of Mara Dyer centers on a big mystery, and the reader is left in the dark as much as the title character. You don’t really get a lot of answers in the first part of the trilogy but flashbacks/dreams/visions provide some pieces of the puzzle. The mystery part of it was interesting to me, though I can’t say I completely bought the romantic side of the book.

    Because Mara Dyer has this high concept mystery, the reading experience is a little confusing as you’re trying to pieces together what the heck is happening. I had to consider Mara Dyer to be an unreliable narrator as I questioned what was real and what was not in this book.

    I wanted to know more about what was happening to Mara, but the romance with Noah Shaw started to take over the book. Noah Shaw is the guy every girl wants- he’s wealthy, has a British accent, is cocky and smart and gorgeous, and of course Mara’s the only girl for him. If you buy into the romance you will probably love this book.

    I listened to the audiobook, performed by Christy Romano, who is an actress and the voice of Kim Possible. She has not performed in too many audiobooks but the author saw Romano in a play in New York and thought her voice was a perfect match for Mara.

    Romano’s voice sounds age appropriate for Mara, and she has good comic timing to deliver the humorous lines. Romano is talented at accents, and especially uses a convincing male British accent for the voice of Noah. There were some technical issues that distracted me at times such as re-recorded dialogue and some misinterpreted lines. Overall I enjoyed the performance though and thought Romano was a good pick. The audiobook also includes a couple chapters from the second book in the trilogy.

    This is one of those books that readers seem to love or hate. I zipped through this book fairly quickly and was entertained, though I’m not going to jump right into the sequel just yet either. I am really curious about the mystery though and how it’s all going to work out.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sara 03-31-14
    Sara 03-31-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    5
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    0
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    "Surprising"
    If you could sum up The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer in three words, what would they be?

    Really, really, good!


    Any additional comments?

    I really enjoyed this book. The title caught my attention along with the cover art but the story definitely held my attention.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelsie Norfolk, VA, United States 03-03-14
    Kelsie Norfolk, VA, United States 03-03-14 Member Since 2013

    Listening to audio books whenever I am not around humans. Which is actually very very often.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Pretty fun to read, excited to see what's next!"
    If you could sum up The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer in three words, what would they be?

    dark, alluring, explosive


    Any additional comments?

    This was a pretty cool read. the reader did a great job getting all of the personalities within the story. I laughed, freaked out, swooned and anxiously awaited parts while trying to figure out what was happening to Mara. Noah was a great building character, loved his personality along with Mara's family. This book was really fun. Excited for the next one!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. Moran Ottawa, ON Canada 01-31-14
    P. Moran Ottawa, ON Canada 01-31-14 Member Since 2012

    CanadaPat

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Give this one a pass"
    What would have made The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer better?

    If I hadn't read it.


    Has The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    She is the worst narrator I've experienced with an Audible book so far. I think she ruined it for me as I spent so much time feeling annoyed with the truly awful reading that I couldn't concentrate on the story. Her voice had the inflections of a 16-year-old forced to stand up and read a book she hates in front of the class. Bored, impatient, let's-get-this-over-with tones. I know this is a YA novel, but it deserves a much better reader than this.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment in a very weak plot and cardboard characters. And constant annoyance at the reader.


    Any additional comments?

    I will never purchase another book read by Michelle Hodkin. She could ruin Stephen King for me.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Betts Tacoma, WA 07-30-14
    C. Betts Tacoma, WA 07-30-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Not Sure About Mara Dyer"

    Just finished listening to book 1, and I'm really torn. There were things about it that I genuinely enjoyed. The story started strong. Mara is smart and funny, and I enjoyed getting to know her. Her story was interesting...living through a terrible ordeal that she cannot remember. But then the plot seemed to really lose focus. Maybe it will wrap up nicely after the 3rd book, but the 1st book was all over the place. The end is super annoying. I'm all for a cliffhanger ending, but this book just ended...practically mid-sentence. When the Audible voice over said "You've reached the end of the book", I thought, "Surely it said the end of the part not the book, and I just need to download the next part!?!". Nope, it was the end of the book. I suppose the preceding scene was suppose to be the ramp up to the end, but it was really anti-climatic and disappointing. I did go ahead and purchase book 2, as I'm interested to see if this all comes together in the end.

    I was similarly torn with the narration. When the narrator was speaking for Mara, she was usually great. Sometimes her reading was rushed as though she was trying to just get all the words out, but for the most part, she was enjoyable. HOWEVER, she was downright CREEPY as a 17 year old British heartthrob. I mean EWWWW! The hunky love interest sounded like a nasally 12 year old. Just awful. The narration of Noah was so off and distracting that I would actually recommend reading this one instead of listening to it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Buje, Croatia 11-25-14
    Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Buje, Croatia 11-25-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Absolutely addictive"

    Sometimes, a book you least expect to like takes you completely by surprise. Sometimes, even though you respect their opinion, you disagree with some of your most trusted friends. For me, this is one of those times.

    The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer wasn’t at all what I expected. I was warned about the romance, about the heroine, about the plot and about the romance. I was told that the story makes little sense, that the romance is forced and unbelievable, that the love interest is just another version of Edward Cullen and that the heroine is simply too unmemorable, and occasionally even too stupid to live.

    I must say that I respectfully disagree.

    The fact of the matter is that I found the plot to be compelling and absolutely addictive; well planned, well written and incredibly suspenseful. Mara is a completely unreliable narrator, a detached, slightly unhinged, completely broken girl who hallucinates more often than not. We can’t be sure what we’re seeing, not when we’re seeing it through her eyes, and like her, we must question everything, from her friends and family to her sanity.

    In addition, it must be said that I actually like Edward Cullen, and strangely enough, I rather like Noah Shaw as well. His previous romantic entanglements made me uncomfortable at first (as they were meant to, I’m sure), but as I learned more about him and witnessed his devotion to Mara, I started genuinely liking the boy.

    It was actually Mara, not Noah, who gave me pause more than once. She came perilously close to the very definition of anti-heroine on several occasions, in a way that truly put me on edge. However, despite my discomfort (or possibly because of it), I appreciated Hodkin’s excellent characterization, her insightfulness and her willingness to take her characters to pretty uncomfortable places, well beyond the limit of morally and socially acceptable behavior. Mara wasn’t the only one who questioned her sanity. I questioned it constantly and there were moments when I thought she really should be put away, for her own safety and the safety of others. This is Michelle Hodkin’s true strength – she makes us love and fear a single character, be understanding and understandably wary at the same time. Mara is not a heroine in the traditional sense, but it’s quite easy to care for her nevertheless.

    This story’s only true flaw, in my opinion, is that it doesn’t offer any sort of explanation for Mara’s apparent hallucinations. I’ve developed a very thick skin when it comes to cliffhangers, but at least some answers would have been most welcome. As is, I was left with hundreds of questions, very few answers, and a deep sense of dread that will likely stay with me for days to come.

    Christy Romano narrated the book beautifully and added so much to the experience. Her pacing is a bit faster than normal, but it suits this story perfectly, and her voice only amplifies the overwhelming tension of the story. Mara’s emotions, as well as her strange detachment throughout the story, were clearly reflected in Romano’s voice. In addition, she did a fairly good job with Noah’s accent – she didn’t sound native, not quite, but even in that she was more than good enough.

    After the crushing cliffhanger we were left with, I have no choice but to continue the story right away. Please excuse me while I go hide in the darkest, quietest corner of my house with Freya (my phone) and headphones for company.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Arizona 11-05-14
    Amazon Customer Arizona 11-05-14 Member Since 2010

    Tonya

    ratings
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    52
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    Performance
    Story
    "did not like the reader"
    Would you try another book from Michelle Hodkin and/or Christy Romano?

    Yes, Michelle Hodkin.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Christy Romano?

    I don't know. I really like Emma Galvin, but she has done other similar books, so this might be overkill.


    Did The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer inspire you to do anything?

    Yeah, read the next book!


    Any additional comments?

    I read this book (not audio version) a couple years ago. This is one I would recommend reading over audio.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elma 10-29-14
    Elma 10-29-14
    ratings
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    1
    1
    Overall
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    Story
    "Spectacular!!!"
    If you could sum up The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer in three words, what would they be?

    An Unexpected Plot.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It's unlike most of the YA novels that are in the limelight such as The Hunger Games and Divergent series. It was a refreshing, witty read. I wasn't able to stop listening to the story!


    Have you listened to any of Christy Romano’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, I haven't listened to any of Romano's other performances, but this one was a fantastic performance. I loved the way she gave different personalities to the character's and flawlessly breaking from a British accent to an American accent and vice versa. I was so immersed in her narrative voice.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Definately!


    Any additional comments?

    Thank you, Christy Romano! You're voice and skills were perfect for this book for I enjoyed it all the way through!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 16 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • J
    Kensington, South Africa
    5/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Strange, and not really in a good way"

    What a strange book this is. Many friends have raved about it but I'm afraid I'm not a fan.

    Between not being able to find much to like or admire in the heroine, the weird smoker hero, the largely improbable plot points and character reactions (even within the suspended reality of the book's own universe) and some truly bizarre moments (obscene versions of the Velveteen Rabbit, Dr Seuss and Curious George, anyone?), it just didn't do it for me.

    My reaction may have been colored by the narrator - bad British accent, rapid fire delivery, and a flip, offhand, casual tone/expression that makes some of the more (melo?) dramatic lines sound so wrong, and makes the protagonist more irritating than engaging.

    I suggest you read it, and make up your own mind.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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