Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 9411
Well-paced and Fascinating, but Without Flaws
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
The first part of this book and the second part of this book read like almost two separate stories to me. The first part is mainly about Mara dealing with her PTSD, which is pretty understandable and quite interesting. It’s well-written, intriguing, and emotional. The second half, when the paranormal part of this book starts to play in, is fast-paced, adventurous and even though it sets a really great creepy mood at times, is much less emotionally compelling. I think I liked the first half of the book more, even though I knew the paranormal was going to creep out at any moment.

I have to say, the characters in the story get two thumbs up for being interesting. At times, I really felt for Mara(mostly at the beginning of the book, though). As the story went on, Mara became a little more unlikable, but the supporting cast of characters are all really great. The thing that really gets me about this book is that I don’t find any of the characters particularly likable or nice, but I’m still interested by the story. It takes good writing to pull that off, so I give total props there.

Normally, I don’t like the bad-boy romance and get frustrated with the main character, but since I don’t particularly like Mara, I buy the romance of Noah and her together. It’s not exactly a healthy relationship, but it’s more believable than many romances I’ve read lately. My feelings on the romance could be summed up as, “It’s OK. A little overbearing at times, but tolerable.”

The main thing that makes this just a 3 star book for me is the plot, and further, the pacing. The plot itself is great. I mean, it’s a really great and intriguing idea. However, the book’s pacing is so sporadic that it really takes away from the plot often. The middle of this book dragged much longer than it should have. Ultimately, I think the Unbecoming of Mara Dryer would have been a much better book if it had been more tightly edited.

Final Impression: At times, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was a really great read, but at others, it lagged quite a bit. Ultimately, I think the story wasn’t sure what it wanted to be, and ended up feeling like two different stories being told, in which I much preferred the first half. 3/5 stars.
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