The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Synopsis:

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.

Author: Michelle Hodkin

Pages: 452

Rating: ⭐ ⭐

 

I was initially drawn to this series by the wonderful cover art. Let me make this very clear; the cover art is the best thing about this book. This book was just downright awful. This book revolves around the premise of a cliched romance. VERY predictable. Mara is warned about Noah, the English bad boy who has slept with every girl in the school, but guess what? She still falls for him. He could have anything he wants, but he wants Mara, the plain jane main character.

This book is filled with bad character stereotypes. Jaime, the bisexual black friend who warns us about the many flaws of Noah Shaw. Anna, the popular blonde girl who immediately has a dislike for Mara, with her gay sidekick, Aiden. We also have the perfect, protective older brother Daniel. And, of course, we have Noah Shaw which is a whole other story.

Noah Shaw is the epitome of bad boys. Noah is the English-accented pretentious boy with absentee parents. He is the boy who knows the answers to everything. He is the perfect boy who can get with anything he wants because “everyone” loves him.

“Can I help you, Mr Shaw” 

“I’m auditing your class today, Mr. Walsh. I’m in desperate need of an Algebraic brush-up” 

“Uh-huh,” Mr. Walsh said dryly. 

He has the reputation of sleeping with the entire girl population of their school. But, he wants to date the plain jane main character because she isn’t like other girls he’s dated. I felt like this book relied heavily on the development of it’s characters, but the character arcs were lacking and very stereotypical.

Writing a paranormal book involving mental health is difficult. It is very hard to balance the two without adding to the stigma associated with mental health. Without the balance, the character(s) will appear to be ‘crazy’. That is exactly what this book portrayed. Mara is the girl who no one believes when it comes to the unusual circumstances in her life. Mara is the girl whose parents are very cautious around her, heavily babysitting her at times. There are a few times where we overhear conversations between her parents, discussing her mental state and how scary it is. People with mental illnesses are people like the rest of us. They should be treated the same, as you would a friend, neighbor, etc. Coming from a person with bipolar disorder, I found it to be very offensive.

I could go on and on about the shortcomings of this book. The misogynist nature of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer bothered me the most. The only reason this book did not receive a one star rating from me is because despite everything, it has piqued my interest to know how Michelle Hodkin will pass off what is happening to Mara. What excuse can be used to alleviate the offensiveness of her writing?

 

 

 

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