- Published: 01 February 2012
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia
- Format: Paperback, 464 pages
- Series: Mara Dyer, Book 1
- ISBN 13: 9780857073631 ISBN 10: 085707363X
- Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult
- Goodreads / The Book Depository
- Source: provided for review by publisher
- Challenge: 2012 Debut Author Challenge
When Mara Dyer wakes up in hospital with no memory of how she got there, or any explanation as to why the bizarre accident that caused the deaths of her boyfriend and two best friends left her unharmed, her doctors suggest she start over in a new city, at a new school, and just hope her memories gradually come back.
But Mara’s new start is anything but comforting. She sees the faces of her dead friends everywhere and now she’s started to see other people’s deaths before they happen. Is she going crazy? As if dealing with all this isn’t enough, Noah Shaw, the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen, can’t seem to leave her alone. But does he have her best interests at heart, or another agenda altogether?
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is well written and realised vividly. Mara’s PTSD is described so well that I freaked out right alongside her when something happened. I took up this book before I went to bed, intending to read a few chapters before sleeping. I found myself staying up until 2.30 am to finish it.
I thought Mara was going to be a whiny protagonist, something about the way she was jealous of the new girl in the first chapter. As the story progressed I saw her grow into a strong and independent person. Her visions were expertly conveyed to the reader: I couldn’t tell where her hallucinations ended and reality set in, so I was just as terrified as Mara. The odd thing about her visions is that I never thought they were visions, and when I saw that the blurb described them as such, I was left wondering why I instantly jumped to other conclusions.
Mara’s family deserves mention because I feel the author has conveyed a wonderful, caring family in them. Her relationships with her brothers and parents are honest and realistic. Her relationship with Noah, on the other hand, is complicated and prickly, and funny to read about. Noah is an awesome character: quirky, funny and in the business of making girls melt with his smile. The only flaw I find with him is that Mara’s obsession with him develops too quickly and is never fully explained.
A good book with a wonderful, totally unexpected twist at the end which has me begging for the next book in the series, I recommend it to all readers who enjoy thrillers and young adult fiction.