Deadly powers and a YA romance: A Review of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin 

book review of the unbecoming of mara dyer, michelle hodkin book, novel review of YA fantasy, YA paranormal

Author: Michelle Hodkin

Genres: YA, Fiction, Supernatural

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Publication Year: 2011

Triggers: Post traumatic stress disorder, rape


Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can 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 mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

After Mara survives the traumatising accident at the old asylum, it makes sense that she has issues. She lost her best friend, her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s sister and as if that weren’t enough to cope with, her family moves to a new state in order romance give her a fresh start. But that fresh start is quickly filled with hallucinations–or are they premonitions?–and then corpses and the boundary between reality and nightmare is wavering. At school, there is Noah, a devastatingly handsome charmer who seems determined to help Mara piece what’s real, what’s imagined–and what’s very very dangerous.

My review for this book is based largely on the fact that I had no idea what this book was about when I started it. I thought it was a YA Contemporary and I was very shocked  (not in a good way) when I realised the characters had powers. However, I love books about magic and superpowers and I expected this to be bomb!

Sadly, it was an extremely annoying read.

Let’s start with the girl-on-girl hate. It was EVERYWHERE. Anna, a popular girl in Mara’s new school and Noah’s ex disliked her because Noah was interested in her. Then, the boyfriend’s sister mentioned in the blurb, Claire disliked her for some utterly idiotic reason. Also, somehow, Mara had no female friend in the entire school after weeks of being there. Her only friend was a gossiping guy who warned her away from Noah. This makes no sense. Like there was no girl in her entire class that said hi to her??? This girls hating on girls thingy is so common in a lot of novels. This book was published in 2011 so I guess that’s what was “reigning” then

There was also a lot of slut shaming in the novel. Consider this quote,

“Anna used to be the abstinence poster girl, but post-Shaw, you could write a comic book about the many adventures of her vagina. It could wear a cape.”

I was soo furious when I saw this quote!!! What was it supposed to achieve????

Then, there was the Indian (or not) heritage. Her grandmother wore a sari in a picture and her mum had a sari too but beyond that, we knew nothing about her heritage. There was no talk of Indian ancestry or if she was part-Indian; just a few mentions of saris in awkward places.

Apart from that, the romance which formed about 90%–I’m not joking, this book is a YA romance–of the book was so annoying.

Let’s start with Noah.

I disliked Noah. A lot. He was one of those “bad boys” who sleep around breaking girls’ hearts and doing whatever they like and who are still somehow good guys at heart.

He was also from an extremely rich family and liked dressing badly with torn clothes and shoes. And he was the only person in the entire novel that could help Mara. He was also the only one who “cared” about her. Even Mara’s mother who was worried about her “hallucinations” was portrayed as a worrisome person who couldn’t leave her alone and was trying to “stifle” her.


Noah also told Mara that she was different in that she didn’t care about him or what he was doing unlike “the other girls”. This makes no logical sense. There would have been at least 50 girls in the whole school. So, not a single one of those girls was uninterested in him???

Even gorgeousness can only go so far

He was also so sexist. When he and Mara went on a date and a guy gave Mara his number, he collected the napkin the number was written on then bullied the guy away. Later, he ordered for her without asking her what she wanted. Then, he beat up a boy “for her”.

Then when Anna tried to humiliate Mara with sketches Mara had made of Noah (yeah, that happened), Noah then “defended” Mara by saying they were dating and implying that they were having sex.

Want to know Mara’s reaction?

“And just like that, I was completely, utterly, and entirely.


WTF???? This part reminded me so forcefully of Twilight. How was Noah’s reaction chivalrous or good in any way??


Mara’s behavior later was better but her initial thoughts were vomit-inducing.

And now, let’s talk about Mara. She was also very annoying. She was dumb, useless and had a serious anger issue. Once when she got an F in a course, she broke her phone!!!!! She was also “in love” with Noah which was very stupid. Jeez.

Also, somehow, Noah knew how to put back a dislocated shoulder? I’m pretty sure it’s not taught in Health Education or First Aid classes

The Good

It’s hard to remember anything good about this book. The powers were cool but everything else was just…

Recommend? Well…if you like the majority of Wattpad books, this one is for you.



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9 thoughts on “Deadly powers and a YA romance: A Review of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin 

  1. Silvia says:

    WOW this sounds bad 😂 I had considered maybe-possibly-perhaps reading it since it’s on Riveted but yeah no way in hell that’s going to happen after your review and after what a lot of people have said. Sorry you had to go through this mess of a book!

    Liked by 1 person

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