Books · Reviews

Halloween Review – The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Spoiler-Free)

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Hey everyone! Hope you’re all doing great ๐Ÿ™‚

Today I’m reviewing The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, a book I’ve heard so much about and that most people seem to really love. I didn’t know much about it, except that it was weird and creepy. So, perfect for a Halloween Review!

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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

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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.

To be honest, I went completely blind into this book. I had no idea what it was about, except that it was the story of a girl named Mara Dyer. Specific, right?

But from the very beginning, I was hooked. I am very picky when it comes to first-person POVs (and I’ve been reading tons of them lately, it seems) but this one pleased me for the most part. Mara is an interesting character because she’s sort of an anti-hero – she’s neither good nor bad, and her morals are a bit twisted. Her decisions and her choices are also constant reminders of how flawed human beings can be.

There was the occasional moment when I would roll my eyes and shake my head, thinking she was being too much of an idiot teenager, but then had to remind myself she was seventeen so what if she kept thinking about this guy’s face and how perfect it was? Been there, done that, after all.

Still, I could have done without some of the clichรฉs presented in this, even if they weren’t too much of an eyesore and didn’t spoil the whole experience.

I loved her family and how “normal” and present they were. Sometimes in YA, we don’t get to see the main characters’ parents or siblings much, or see them interact with one another, and I really liked that for a change. Her brothers were two of my favorite characters, as well as her mom who was just so real and imperfect. Her dad, although less mentioned, was also super sweet. They were all very supportive and made such big sacrifices for Mara, it made my heart swell. I also adored her friendship with one of her classmates.

I thought the author portrayed trauma and its aftermath quite well, too. One could almost get inside the mess that was Mara’s head, feel her anxiety and how distraught she got, and really understand what she was going through. Which wasn’t pretty.

Now, the love interest. I mostly liked him, yet felt he and their relationship were a bit problematic at times. There were some very cute moments that made me go all mushy, but there were others that made me a bit uncomfortable as well. Some strong instalove vibes also kept me from embracing the pairing fully, although I did find I had warmed up to them a bit more towards the end.

Lastly, I didn’t see any of the plot twists coming, which was a major relief. The story is full of them and we are given subtle hints about what might transpire – I was mad with curiosity! Things are explained in the end, though, and they all made sense. There were still some loose ends left but I’m sure they’ll be tied up in the sequels.

Overall, I really liked this book (partly audiobook) and how it gradually unfolded into a full-blown paranormal romance. The ending was particularly unexpected and I’m dying to find out what happens next!

2 candy corns 4

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~ Check out my previous Halloween Reviews ~

Thank you so much for reading and until next time!

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I hope you enjoyed my forth Halloween Review! Have you read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer? Please let me know your thoughts below ๏ฝก^โ€ฟ^ ๏ฝก

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76 thoughts on “Halloween Review – The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Spoiler-Free)

  1. Great review! โค I think sometimes it's good to go in blind and have no expectations. I have to confess and say I did laugh a bit when you said sometimes you'd catch yourself rolling your days at her being a typical teenager. I feel bad, but I literally do that all the time ๐Ÿ˜› It makes me feel so old!
    I'm pleased that you enjoyed this book and that you found the twists unexpected. So often you read a book and you know EXACTLY what's coming up. It's refreshing to be taken by surprise!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jazz! ^_^
      I try to go blind into most books (although I do like to be prepared for other things hahaha) as I think the reading experience gets exponentially better. Good thing my memory sucks so bad I forget most of the stuff I read about certain titles!
      Oh yeah… I feel old too ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ But at least I’m not alone… I guess I just expect too much from these younglings ๐Ÿ˜› (Need to remind myself also that by reading YA I should be expecting it and must not complain!)
      Thanks, it was great to be surprised ๐Ÿ™‚ I had a few suspicions but never really got it completely right. So yay!
      And I agree, some books just make you want to throw them across the room because of how boring and cheesy and predictable they are. Glad this one wasn’t the case!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Youโ€™re welcome! Hmm the only ones I can think of are We Were Liars, Beautiful Malice and One of us is Lying. I really liked those three, but maybe youโ€™ve already read two of those because theyโ€™re really popular ๐Ÿ˜œ

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Woohoo, another great review. I like books that contain paranormal things in them, and I also like a main character that isn’t your usual run of the mill character. And if the book has a great twist at the end, that leaves you gasping for even more, that is even better. I have so many things that I still need to read though. I think by the time I hit 80, I moght be done with everything lol (that is if I don’t keep adding new books to my list lol๐Ÿ˜‚). Terrific post and Happy Halloween to you ๐ŸŽƒ๐ŸŽƒ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! Oh yeah, these types of characters are right up my alley so I was super pleased to read her POV ^_^
      Yes, the last few pages revealed the big twist and I was like “WHAAAAA” and struggling so hard not to check out the sequel because I wanted to write an unbiased review hahaha
      You and me both! My TBR grows every day and I always seem to reach for books that are not on it ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚
      Thank you once again, dear friend, and a very Happy Halloween for you too! ๐Ÿ˜Š I hope you have tons of fun and candy by the buckets! ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฌ

      Liked by 1 person

  3. WOW!! โค โค I LOOVE YOUR BLOG MAKEOVER. Spooky. xD

    ''so what if she kept thinking about this guyโ€™s face and how perfect it was? Been there, done that, after all.'' HAHAHA!!! Yess. Yessssss. Sometimes we, readers, NEED TO CHILL when it comes to cliche'd teens because well, we were QUITE LIKE THEM at some point. *blushes at all the embarrassing things AND people I USED TO LIKE* EEEEEEEKKK!!!

    GREAT REVIEW, Sophie. โค I AM DEFINITELY READING IT. ADDED TO MY GOODREADS straightaway. *grins* ๐Ÿ™‚ โค

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha thank you! And yeah, I went a bit overboard on my Halloween obsession ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚
      I KNOOOOWWWW! The adult in me just keeps being all like “I’m too cool for this shit” but my God, I was worse than this girl, I’m sure. Still, reading about it now can feel so cringy hahahaha
      Thank you so much, Rain! โค โค Oh yasss girl, I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it!! Hopefully, you'll enjoy it even more than I did ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Like

  4. This sounds like a great paranormal romance! I think I’d seen this title a few times but had no idea what it was about until now. That’s cool that the protagonist had normal and present parents โ€“ definitely not something you often see in YA. A shame there were some clichรฉs and issues with the romance, but on the whole it sounds like it was suspenseful and surprising. Did it actually end up being very creepy/scary, or not so much? Definitely has a creepy cover!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was certainly a very nice read! Interesting that you seem to have a similar impression as I did hahaha
      It looks like this one remains as mysterious as the author intended it to be, which is quite cool.
      Yeah, I really liked that! Family dynamics are something I love reading about and they add such a nice little touch to the story. In this case, they even played a significant role in the plot, too, which was great ๐Ÿ™‚
      It was quite suspenseful, indeed! The romance does take a bit chunk of the book but it wasn’t like I didn’t enjoy it – I just felt a bit icky about it at times. Like when you know something’s not quite right but you still find yourself inexplicably drawn to it? Yeah, that’s what the boy in this book made me feel like. The main character was also a bit too starry eyed for my liking, but oh well. I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt and hope they get better with the sequels.
      Hmm I wouldn’t say this was scary but definitely creepy and surprising. I was not expecting the story to take the turn it did, that’s for sure! Are you planning on giving it a go?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I might give it a go – from what youโ€™ve said it sounds good, and Iโ€™m intrigued by the mystery and the surprising turn! (And I know that feeling of being drawn to a romance even though itโ€™s not quite right, but I way prefer that to not being drawn to it at all, so thatโ€™s good it was still enjoyable). My only hesitance is that my TBR is so full of books Iโ€™m dying to read that I wonder if Iโ€™ll ever get to this one… but I will add it anyway and hope for the best ๐Ÿ™‚

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        1. Definitely ๐Ÿ™‚ I like a good solid romance but I will sometimes be in the mood for something a bit less substantial and more of a guilty pleasure. And there’s nothing wrong with that!
          Oh, I understand your dilemma completely… I was SUPPOSED to read other books, including ARCs and review requests, yet I ended up filling my month with spooky stories instead xD The bookworm heart wants what the bookworm hearts wants, right?
          I hope you enjoy it once you get to it!

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely review, Sophie! I love how you highlighted all of the book’s low points while still maintaining a positive view. You mirrored my thoughts exactly. ๐Ÿ˜€ There’s so much about this book that is cringe-worthy, and yet it’s such an addicting read.

    The first book is the best one in the entire series, in my opinion. I managed to finish the trilogy, but it gets progressively worse in the last half of the second book. I hope you enjoy it more than I did. D:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Alicia! โค Yeah I always make sure to include those just so people don't think it was flawless or something hahaha Every good story needs its lows, too, I think! Would be boring otherwise ๐Ÿ˜›
      Right?? Addicting is the perfect word for it, for sure!
      Hmm that's disappointing to hear, but then again I've heard the opposite so I guess I need to read them and see for myself!
      Are you planning to read the Noah Shaw spin-offs? I've heard about them recently and was a bit confused as to why the author would do that but hey, as long as they're good and I like how the first series ends I think I might give them a go ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Initially, I wanted to read the spin-offs, but I was so disappointed with the ending of the first trilogy that I’m not sure anymore. I might still read them, just out of morbid curiosity. :/

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  6. Oh YES! I am so, so glad to hear you enjoyed this book, Sophie โค The Mara Dyer series is one of my favorite series of all times. I know i have to agree with you on some things here, that some elements are a bit clichรฉ, that there is a bit of insta-love, but… I don't know, this series gave me crazy vibes from beginning to end, so I just put all of this aside and loved it all so much. I know that some people thought that the series doesn't get better, and that the last book is…well, disappointing. I wasn't one of these people, loved it until the very end, ahah – I hope you'll be able and will want to read them soon, I can't wait to hear your thoughts about them. Hoping you'll love them as much as I did ๐Ÿ™‚
    Lovely review, Sophie! โค โค

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw awesome!! I’m glad to hear you love it so much, Marie ^_^
      Oh don’t worry about it, I feel the same way. All the clichรฉs and cringy stuff in the world wouldn’t make my reading experience any less enjoyable when it comes to this book. It was just so addictive! I kept reading and reading and I didn’t even notice the time go by hahaha
      I’m super happy to hear that because I’ve heard the same thing and was a bit dispirited as I didn’t think this one had been the best thing ever or anything. So how would the others be like, if they were even worse? You took a huge weight off my chest! ๐Ÿ˜€
      Thank you so much, hon โค โค And oh, are you planning to read the Noah Shaw's spin offs? I just learned about them the other day and was super curious to find out what they were like. They come out next month too I think so I have plenty of reading material before then ^^

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah awesome! I have to say I’m in a sort of love/hate relationship with him hahaha
          He’s quite dreamy but at the same time I want to slap him? And then he’s super sweet and makes me melt, but then is really annoying again?
          I hope I’m not the only one feeling this way xD

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hahahaha, well… you’re not.. I have to admit that, sometimes, I wanted to slap him, too… but something, like his sweet words, just stop me short everytime ahah. Damn fictional characters ๐Ÿ˜›

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    1. It was, absolutely! I highly recommend it if you enjoy paranormal romances (really heavy on the romance too, if that’s your sort of thing) ๐Ÿ™‚
      Yes it is!! Perfect timing for me to decide to read it hahaha
      Oh that’s awesome to hear ^^ And I’m curious now, what other books that I reviewed have left a good impression on you?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So far, I’ve added Blackhearts, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and Daughter of the Pirate King to my TBR list based on your reviews! I had Stalking Jack the Ripper, and now it’s moved up near the top of my pile. So many books, so little time!!

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        1. Hahaha oh I know!! That’s why I’ve been listening to more audiobooks lately ^^’ They cut the reading time way shorter.
          And those three are some of my favorites! I really hope you enjoy them ๐Ÿ™‚ SJtR is just perfect for this time of year, and I’ll look forward to reading your thoughts on it ๐Ÿ˜‰

          Like

  7. Great review for this book Sophie, and oh I am so glad you enjoyed the Mara Dyer series as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ I read it this year as well and while I can’t remember exactly what I thought about each book I do remember thinking the series got better and better with every release so you still have the best to come.
    Also going into books blind is something I do a lot and I always find I end up enjoying the book better because I have minus 0 expectations. I do it all the time with my most anticipated releases and there are a few books coming out soon I am avoiding all mentions of, simply because I want to be surprised by them. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Again great review, and I hope you enjoy the second and third in the trilogy just as much! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Beth! โค Oh you liked it too? And the sequels get better? YAY!! I'm so so happy to hear it, as I was dreading they would carry the second book syndrome hahaha
      Absolutely, best approach ever ^^ I don't really know how much that influences my reading experiences (I've never made a connection before but I'd like to try and have it in mind for the future, now) but I think it's definitely worth it with some books ๐Ÿ™‚
      I'm curious, though, what are some of your most anticipated releases that you're doing your absolute best to avoid reading about?
      Thanks so much, hon, I really hope so too! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right. ๐Ÿ™‚ โค The sequels definitely get better. I'm kind of hoping that trend continues with the next series focusing on Noah, because that's out soon.
        I find reading reviews does influence my opinion of books, especially when they're negative. I dunno I just know for a fact that going in blind means I can be sure my feelings are my own rather than someone elses intruding you know?
        Well the main one is Iron Gold by Pierce Brown, which isn't actually out until next year but that I can't wait for, and although I've read the blurb I will be avoiding all reviews for Obsidio until I've read it myself.
        That's all right! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

        Like

        1. Ah, yes! I forgot to mention that, as I just recently learned of its release too. I’m seriously hoping I enjoy the trilogy enough to want to read Noah’s ^^
          That might be true in some cases, but more often than not I’ll forget about what I’ve read and be wholly unprepared for what’s to come anyway hahaha I have terrible memory and it does come in handy sometimes ^^’
          Still, I feel I’m the opposite and are influenced by positive reviews more? Because negative ones lower my expectations, thus my experience will usually be better. Whereas when I’m expecting a book to be really good, it might fail to woo me.
          Another author I’ve been planning to read for so long! I’ve heard great things about him, and you’re absolutely right to want to be kept in the dark, even though it seems impossible nowadays with social media and all!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you, but the fact you enjoyed the first book is a pretty good sign. ๐Ÿ™‚
            Ha, yeah that’s one positive for having a terrible memory. Mine can be bad as well but only for the important things, like deadlines at work. Plus I always find I remember more of books than I think I do.
            Oh that’s interesting to hear. I can read positive reviews and still form my own opinions but with negative ones I just tend to notice the things the reviewer pointed out and I can’t help but wonder whether it’s something I’m noticing just because someone mentioned it.
            I’m very quiet on social media, I just have WordPress and Goodreads so that part isn’t too much of an issue for me. ๐Ÿ˜€

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            1. Yes I hope so! ๐Ÿ™‚
              Hmm yeah, sometimes I do find it hard not to notice the stuff that was mentioned in certain reviews. What I do is try to get some time between my reading them and actually reading the book so it’s not as fresh in my memory.
              Oh you’re lucky hahaha

              Liked by 1 person

  8. Excellent review Sophie! My friends have nearly all read it and raved about it. I hope to read it one day too especially after reading your review. So you see youโ€™re not the only one coming late to the party ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! ๐Ÿ™‚
      Oh that’s so cool that all your friends loved it! I certainly hope you feel the same way once you do pick it up ^^ I highly recommend it to any paranormal romance fan.
      Hahaha yes, that’s good to hear! I was starting to feel like the only person who hadn’t checked this series yet ๐Ÿ˜›
      I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it, sometime! โค

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Inge ๐Ÿ™‚
      Oh really? I thought it added a nice touch, but I’ve only read book one so I don’t know how it’ll develop. I agree that it was unexpected but it didn’t bother me ๐Ÿ™‚ I really hope the sequels get even better, though!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful review as always Sophie! And this is one that is on my TBR so am thrilled to see that you were hooked from the word go โค I find going in blind to be more rewarding sometimes. It limits those pesky expectations that can hinder our experience haha. Happy Halloween in case we do not speak again before then!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! โค
      Yes I was so glad ^_^ I wasn't expecting to like it so much but it was definitely a great read.
      Absolutely, I think going blind is the best approach and will try to do it with more books ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thank you so much, and to you as well! ๐ŸŽƒ๐ŸŽƒ๐ŸŽƒ

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Woohoo- you’re on a roll with the halloween reviews- got to say I’m loving it ๐Ÿ˜€ haha yeah I can forgive a seventeen year old thinking of nothing but a guy’s face- been there ๐Ÿ˜‰ I will admit to not totally being satisfied with this, cos I couldn’t follow where it was going (not entirely sure why- I just couldn’t connect the dots or something), especially cos of all the loose ends, so I didn’t end up enjoying it all that much. But I’m glad you liked it! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m sooooo sorry! I was sure I’d answered this comment ages ago :/
      I had so much fun with my Halloween Reviews, you have no idea โค I hope I get just as much fun with my Christmas Reviews, though I think maybe not hahaha
      Yeah, sometimes I need to take a moment and think how I'd react at that age (it's been a while but not that long!). Overall, I think the author portrayed the character in a realistic way.
      Hmm I understand where you're coming from and have to say I agree. However, it didn't bother me too much because I knew there were at least two more books after this one and I could complain all I wanted afterwards, if those didn't do the job xD
      Thank you so much, and thank you for reading! โค โค

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh yay Sophie! I’m glad you enjoyed the book! You brought up some great points. I’m super excited to meet this relatively normal family, something so truly rare in YA! I can’t wait to dive into this, you just made me 10x more excited to read it! Amazing review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Rendz! โค โค
      Oh yeah, the family dynamics were really cool in this one, and each character was quite fleshed out and interesting. Rare but very welcoming!
      I sure hope you enjoy it even more than I did! And if you get hooked, fear not, because there's a spin off/sequel that comes out next month ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Probably not, simply because I don’t remember much about it and I don’t want to have to re-read them all over again ๐Ÿ˜›

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  12. This sounds super good! Iโ€™ve seen it around but never sought out what it was about! I know exactly what you mean by โ€œtypicalโ€ teenager… sometimes this bothers the heck out of me and sometimes it just seems like a teenager… I feel like there must be some details that cause me to feel one way over the other but I havenโ€™t put my finger on it yet… I guess because Iโ€™ve been avoiding high school books lately… still the mystery in this one sounds good and Iโ€™m curious now why she didnโ€™t die! Is it just a contemporary Sophie or is it magical realism? โ™ฅ๏ธ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, that’s exactly how it felt for me! I liked the fact that it was genuine and really looked like I was reading about teenagers but at the same time I was annoyed because they were just so… Teenagey? xD
      It’s a paranormal, but at first you can’t really tell (me, personally, because I didn’t read the blurb).

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I have heard of this title since last year but haven’t gotten a chance to read it. I’m glad to know you enjoyed it. I think that’s the best way to read a book, to dive into it blindly. I do that with a lot of my books too. Since you choose to read this book during Halloween, is it a thrilling read? Excellent review by the way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most readers seem to agree on that respect!
      Hmm I wouldn’t say it was too scary, but it was Halloween material, yeah. Definitely quite interesting and engaging. I just kept wanting to read more and more!
      So I hope the same happens to you, if you do try it, Jasmine ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much! โค

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve heard if this series and it seems to have been mega popular back when it was released. I actually didn’t know it had a paranormal touch to it though. That was intriguing, and maybe it’s one of the main attractions? ๐Ÿ˜› Sucks a bit to hear that it was filled with cliches, but still nice that everything worked out for the best. The characters sound genuine and well-developed (including everything that they suffer from). Fantastic review, Sophie! Glad you enjoyed! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I’m super late in the game for this one too! (Seems to be a thing for me lately hahaha)
      I didn’t know either, or at least, it wasn’t the kind of paranormal I was expecting it to be, if that makes sense? Still, it definitely made me intrigued enough to want to read and find out so yeah, it worked hahaha
      The clichรฉs were a bit annoying but you get used to them after a while and don’t even notice or are bothered by them anymore.
      The characters and overall plot were pretty good, I have to say. I’m hoping the sequels shed some light into some of the things left unsaid, though.
      Thank you so much, Lashaan! ^^ โค

      Like

  15. I’ve wanted to read this book for a while but haven’t gotten around to it, mostly because I have no idea what it’s about. But you make it sound really interesting! There aren’t that many thriller YAs out there so this one is a must read. It’s always refreshing to read about realistic family dynamics in a YA, as it’s not as frequent as it should be. Also, I love that the MC isn’t a Mary Sue or some flawless heroine. Anti-heroes/perfectly imperfect MCs are my favorite. Glad you enjoyed this one! Hope you enjoy the sequels just as much, if not more, than this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m very picky about 1st person narrators as well. Usually, I’ll drop a book by the third chapter if it’s 1st person narrator isn’t working for me. Maybe I’ll give this one a try, though! Saw quite a few good reviews for it back in October, including this one!

    Liked by 1 person

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