Simon & Schuster BFYR, September 2011
young adult paranormal/horror
ARC received from publisher (thank you!)
Mara Dyer moved to a new town to get away from the accident she can't remember. She didn't move to discover more killings, or to be haunted by her past, or to develop powers, or to fall in love. So, of course, she does.The cover:
Like so many covers recently, the atmosphere evoked is perfect, but the actual image has nothing to do with the novel. The way the title takes up the whole cover is appealing and underused, to me.
Knowing nothing going in except for the extremely vague blurb distributed everywhere lowered my expectations against all the hype. Good thing, too.
The beginning is as typical as can be: girl starts new school and catches attention of school mean queen + king, while also catching the attention of resident playboy. Resident playboy promptly sheds his player habits JUST for the new girl in town. Plus, there are some eerie Twilight-esque passages, which kind of killed the whole romance for me. I'm sure you understand.
But! We can't forget the awesome horror aspect of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. Hodkin isn't afraid to describe her gore in sensory detail and drop some scary switches between reality and hallucination. This results in a deliciously frightening read -- excluding the lengthy, pace-slowing romance sections -- but makes Mara a little difficult to relate to, since she's either freaking out or making out.
The various powers complement each other neatly, but do feel scattered and still developing; hopefully Hodkin deepens them in the sequel. Oh yeah, and there's definitely a sequel. Cliffhanger, man. Cliffhanger.
Rating: 2.8 out of 5