The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer – Review // The Best, Most Twisted Thriller I’ve Read

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Book 1 in the Mara Dyer trilogy
Genre: YA psychological thriller
Pages: 452
Format: paperback
Source: bought
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was more than I’d ever expected it to be, and an extremely wild ride I loved every page of. 😀

the plot

The story could fit into multiple genres – mystery, paranormal, romance. But ultimately, I would classify it as a psychological thriller. Every chapter had me hungry for more, and with Mara, I never knew for sure what was real and what wasn’t. It had the potential to be confusing, especially with the fast pacing, but it was brilliantly managed. I loved the writing – insane, but beautifully haunting and intriguing. I’ve never read anything like this before. 😀

the characters

Mara was a very troubled lead, and understandably so. She and her three friends had gotten into an accident and she was the only survivor; hallucinations and panic attacks follow her from Rhode Island to Florida, courtesy of her PTSD. I admired her stubbornness and bravery, pitied her situation and insecurity, and felt her anxiety when she couldn’t tell what was real. I loved that she was an artist and sketched in her free time, even though it occurred less frequently as everything went downhill. I wouldn’t want to be her, but I just love Mara Dyer. ❤

I won’t try to deny it: I love Noah Shaw. Was he your typical perfect, British boy with a cliché backstory? Yes. Was he an arrogant jerk that dated basically every girl for at least a little while? Yes. Did I fall in love with him anyway? Yes. Am I ashamed of it? No. Not at all. I’ll own it. He’s one of my new favorite male leads. I mean, really – if I love Rhys and Daemon, how could I not love Noah? It’s basically impossible. 😉

the setting

The book started off in Laurelton, Rhode Island, but not very far in Mara’s family moved to Miami, Florida. The descriptions of Mara’s reality were simple and strong, but my favorites were the (very helpfully labeled) flashbacks and hallucinations, as odd as it may seem. The latter was spooky but beautiful, and the former outright crazy. I loved that Michelle blended the reality and hallucinations so seamlessly, to the point where I didn’t realize it was fake until Mara did some time later. Kudos on that.

the relationships

I loved the family dynamic in this book. Most books, save contemporaries, don’t have a family presence, but this one did. I’m so happy about it too, even if it seems odd. Everyone was genuine and loving, and had a distinct role and personality. Mara’s dad wanted to spend more time with his wife and children, but his job as a lawyer complicated that. Mara’s mom wanted to help Mara but couldn’t understand and didn’t get the full story. Daniel was the protective older brother, and Joseph the cute, amusing younger brother. I loved his interactions with Noah. 🙂

Then there’s Mara and Noah’s relationship. It started off awkward and complicated, morphed to a friendship, and from there it was a slow, reluctant romance. Those tend to be my favorite kind, and this was no exception. I can’t say a lot more without spoiling one thing or another, but I will say this much: I ship Mara and Noah so much. ❤

the twists

This book was an extremely wild ride. I was hooked from the beginning, with the Ouija board, to the end, with all of the scheming. There were so many twists, and it was made even more real and intense by Mara’s decreasing grip on reality. Over the past few days, I read about half the book. Today alone, I zipped through the other half, because that’s when everything went down. And I mean everything. It was absolutely nuts, and I was on the edge of my seat, loving every solitary page. 🙂


Basically, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was everything I hoped for and more, even though I went into this nearly blind and with low expectations. I’ll definitely be reading the sequel as soon as I can, and if you haven’t read this yet, go do it. 😉

my rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Have you read this book? Is it on your TBR? If you have read it, what did you think? I’d love to know! 🙂

I’m off to start These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner, or play Splatoon. 😉 I hope you’re all having a fabulous day/night! ❤

Until next time…

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9 thoughts on “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer – Review // The Best, Most Twisted Thriller I’ve Read

  1. Yay! I am so glad you loved this book too! Your status updates on Goodreads were hilarious, by the way!! I really need to read the last book in this series! -.- it has been ages since I read the first two, though, so I may need a re read

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You had me at “British boy”. Jokes, I love the whole premise of the book (not just the British boy) and I actually have the ebook of this but I haven’t got around to reading it yet. And thank God you mentioned that the romance wasn’t insta-love. Yours is the only review I’ve read about this book because I’m reluctant to read reviews on Goodreads from people I don’t follow as someone had, hopefully unintentionally, spoiled a book for me. Wonderful review, I’m now so pumped to read this one, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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