Full Review : The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (The Mara Dyer Trilogy Book 1)

Series : Mara Dyer series
Volume : #1 of 3
Year Published : 2011
Genre : YA, Paranormal, Romance, Horror (Just a bit.)

Formats : eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook
# of Pages : 464 pages (Hardcover)


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.


Writing Style

The writing style is very simple and easy to follow, a kind of standard YA first person perspective. Solid overall, but no frills or really extraordinary facets. Unfortunately, I would not categorize this as a page turner until some more exciting scenes near the last 3/4s of the book.


The two main characters (and couple) are Mara and Noah, and there are various side characters like Mara’s parents, classmates, friends, ex-boyfriend, etc. Mara’s parents, especially her mother, are quite involved in the storyline which is somewhat unusual for YA. I really liked her. Also liked Noah well enough, perhaps more than most YA love interests. He’s got some spark and good humor, even as Mara is less than friendly toward him at first. It’s clear early on that there are mysterious plot points that will reveal why he is so fixated on getting to know her.

My main problem with the book was Mara. She just comes off as angsty and glum so much of the time, however justified it may be by the plot. I sense that the author may have a better-than-average grasp at making her a convincing teenager with relatable problems, but I thought she had more negative traits than positive ones. I guess I prefer more gutsy and cheerful heroines.

Storyline and Plot

The second half of this book is better than the first. The pace ramps up to an ending with an event that made me want to read the next book despite preceding issues.

The first half seemed slower paced and with a plodding emphasis on Mara’s angsty school life. She does have some worthwhile friends, but these scenes were too numerous and not that interesting.

So, one of the nicer aspects of this novel that I’ll bring up are the paranormal elements. They almost delve into horror (like a very light horror) and I’d almost say there were some magical realism vibes as our heroine sees strange and surreal visions/hallucinations and does very otherworldly things in what is otherwise a very down-to-earth, almost boring setting.

We find out early on that Mara has secrets- a terrible event left two friends her ex-boyfriend dead, and the goings-on of that night are shrouded in secrecy until we get closer to the end. Even then, I sense there is much more to that night that will be explained in the sequels.

What I’d Like To See In The Sequel

Or rather what I’m hoping it would include, the sequel was already released years ago and I’ve yet to read it as of this writing. Just keeping my fingers crossed that any of these are more prominent, if I decide to continue.

  • Far more paranormal/mystery aspects (and more characters who are involved on this side of the story.)
  • Mara becoming more capable and active. Less moping.
  • Less school stuff.
  • More fluffy romance (it’s here, but it’s fairly light and slow-growing.)
  • More of Mara’s mom, she’s great.

Overall Rating – 7/10

Why You Should Try It – This series starter explores a lot of different genres- mystery, horror, paranormal, romance. The main pairing are a little unconventional romantically (guy chases after girl, she is standoffish but slowly opens up to liking him.) Some paranormal aspects are creative. Indian/Mixed rep (Mara is half-Indian on her mother’s side.)

Critique – Mara is often sad, mopey, and gloomy- she has decent reasons to be this way but it can be a chore to read about. Some of the plain down-to-earth aspects (like her school life) can make for boring segments.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (The Mara Dyer Trilogy Book 1) (Amazon Link, Click To Read A Sample)
The Mara Dyer Trilogy: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer; The Evolution of Mara Dyer; The Retribution of Mara Dyer The 3-Book Trilogy (On Sale/Discounted Right Now)

Many thanks to all who read my review! I thought I’d try a new format with more categories that are relevant to the genre/series. Are you interested in this series or have you read it before? If so let me know your thoughts, I appreciate all likes and comments very much.

Happy reading,


8 thoughts on “Full Review : The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

  1. I used to love this trilogy, but, as my tastes as a reader have evolved, I now agree wholeheartedly with everything you mentioned in this review. Noah’s great (a guilty pleasure for me), but Mara… Mara needs help.😂 Anyway, fabulous review!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Honestly, the second book is fine. But I, personally, did not like the last one all that much. That said, I do think the second one is worth reading (though that might be my nostalgia talking)!😁

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I also really enjoyed The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, I was a huge fan of the plot and charcaters, and had such high hopes for the following books. The second book was okay, not bad, not great. The third book, in my opinion, was very disappointing, and to this day I’m not sure if I fully understood what actually happened in the second half of the book and how it all wrapped up?


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