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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

4.1 (159 )
5 star
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4.1 (143 )
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4.2 (140 )
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3 star
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2 star
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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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    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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
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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.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sara 03-31-14
    Sara 03-31-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
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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
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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
  •  
    Samantha CONROE, TX, United States 08-06-14
    Samantha CONROE, TX, United States 08-06-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I am on the fence on this one..."
    Any additional comments?

    The book was actually very entertaining; it had me guessing the whole time and it kept me hooked all the way to the end. Technically, that would be enough to give it 5 stars. Except for one major issue I had with the book: Noah. He is definitely interesting and complex. However, there are two things I did not like about the dude. See below...

    1. He is a whore, and I mean whore with capital W. He sleeps around with so many girls and leaves them jilted because he only does it for fun (girlfriend is not a word in his vocabulary) and has no care in the world for anyone's feelings but his. I'm sorry but when a guy is notorious for having sex and 'discarding girls like condoms' (that's an actual line in the book btw) not only do you lose my good opinion but you totally gross me out. And no, being hotness personified, with an English accent to boot, won't save you.

    2. He smokes. Enough said.

    So yeah, I was a bit turned off (no pun intended) by Noah and the fact that Mara had no qualms about this. Sure, she has plenty of monologue where she reminds herself of this but it's all halfhearted and forgotten the minute she lays eyes on the dude. *sigh*

    Aside from that, I did like it and I do recommend it to those who like romance and mystery/suspense.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Betts Tacoma, WA 07-30-14
    C. Betts Tacoma, WA 07-30-14 Member Since 2013
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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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nereyda SAHUARITA, AZ, United States 05-13-14
    Nereyda SAHUARITA, AZ, United States 05-13-14

    Mostly YA Book Obsessed!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a twisted story!"
    Any additional comments?

    This is another one of those books that has been on my TBR since before it was released. I fell in love with that gorgeous cover and immediately added it to my TBR. Unfortunately, this is about the time my reading, and therefore my TBR, exploded and this book got pushed down. Still, every time I saw this cover, it made me want to read it. Not only is the cover beautiful but it also makes you do a double take and think. Is he trying to pull her out of the water…or is he trying to pull her in??? I still can’t figure it out…

    The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was nothing like what I was expecting! Half the time, I had no idea what in fuck was going on but (I’m pretty sure that was the point) I still loved it. I usually haaaaate not knowing what’s going on because it drives me nuts. But for some reason, it just works with this story. I’m still lost on some parts which I’m sure the answers will come in the next book. My big question: who is Mara Dyer??? She starts off the book with a letter saying ‘her real name isn’t Mara Dyer’, but this is what we know her as throughout the whole book. Even in the ‘before’ scenes her name is Mara. Her family’s last name is Dyer. So what is the deal with this name thing??? Then we have that scary ass Ouji scene is one of the flashback scenes where the board spells out MARA, and they all turn to look at her and they were calling her Mara earlier…but that’s not her name???? I know we’re getting the answer in on of the next books but the theories are driving me crazy. Mostly because I don’t really have any…

    After losing her best friend and boyfriend in an accident, Mara and her family move to Miami to start fresh. Mara attends a new prep school where she meets the infamous Noah Shaw. I even knew about Noah Shaw! Noah is the school bad boy and Mara is not taking any of his crap. She calls him an asshole the first time they meet and I couldn’t help but go ‘awwwwwww.’ Noah isn’t one to give up easily and the more he goes after Mara, the harder she starts falling for him. I get why so many people are crushing on Noah, because he is totally crush-worthy. He has that whole arrogant-but-sweet guy thing nailed. I loooooooved his chemistry with Mara! The fact that it had a slow build up, made it so much more enjoyable. I was so happy that this was such a mature YA book. Mara and Noah acted and talked like normal kids their age which is a huge plus for me. I was surprised and loved all their conversations filled with sexual innuendos and was so excited when Mara said she was going to ‘freak the fuck out.’ :)

    I would sometimes forget that this wasn’t a contemporary book because a lot of times it felt like it. In the first half, Hodkin would throw in weird and scary incidents that would remind me ‘Oh shit, something else is going on! Something big!’ At about the 70% mark of the book, we really get into more of the paranormal parts of the book and I was soaking it all in just waiting for the bomb to drop. Even though I had no idea what was going on most of the book, the mystery and Noah and Mara’s relationship were so good that I didn’t even care. I loved how Hodkin tied everything together and that ending left me wanting more! I’m excited to read the next book!

    Audiobook Comments: I love going the audiobook route for books that have been on my TBR for a long time. I listened to this sample many times and was already kind of in love with the narrator. I just love her tone for Mara’s voice. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that Noah’s character was British. I haaaaaate British accents (all accents in general). Unless, you’re Ed Westwick, a British accent does nothing to me. When I read books with guys with British accents, they all sound like Ed Westwick in my head. Unfortunately, I couldn’t picture Ed’s sexy ass voice as Noah because his voice was so different. For the next book, I’ll be actually reading it instead of listening to the audio. Christy Romano was an amazing narrator! A YA narrator that sounds like a teen, horray! She pulled off Mara’s ‘I don’t care’ and smart ass attitude so well and she did such a great job with all the characters. Even though I wasn’t a fan of Noah’s voice, she nailed that British accent! I know I’m in the rare minority when it comes to accents so this would be a good book to try on audio if you’re like me and have had this on your TBR forever…

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Myrtha 02-13-14
    Myrtha 02-13-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointed..."

    The book has a good start, And the narrator has a clear, brisk voice that kind of pulls you on.
    So, you have the typical high school crowd, the cute-most coveted boy (with the plus of an english accent) with his entourage of beautiful but empty-headed and-of course- mean girls and here comes our heroine who is-of course again- not that kind of beautiful,but sooo very special. And thus the clichés begin and the adventure begins...Except that if you want to follow this adventure you must forget all kind of logic and common sense. I'm very aware that if you embark on a YA fantasy, normalcy doesn't apply, which it is as it should be. In this case though let's just say that contradiction is the key word...Alas the idea is not bad,but is so full of clichés and not real behavior like THE DIALOGS: OMG! I really don't want to be mean, but it is a mixture of Yoda and Shakespearian speech, which in itself is not disagreeable if sparingly used considering our speakers are 21th Century teens. But use it too frequently and you will start sighing and shaking your head.
    So, although I finished the book, I won't buy the sequel and in good conscience I can't recommend it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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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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