My rating: 5/5 Stars!
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (2012)
Length: 527 pgs
Series: Mara Dyer Trilogy, #2
Format: Paperback, purchased from Amazon
Goodreads Synopsis: Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She used to think her problems were all in her head.
She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?
(Spoiler Warning: If you haven’t yet read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, beware, as references will be made!)
This review would be more aptly titled “Reasons Why I Didn’t Sleep For Two Nights” because it was so delightfully eerie. I thought after reading its predecessor I couldn’t be creeped out, but Michelle Hodkin proved me wrong. It’s really hard to review this book without spoilers, but I will say this: I did not see the plot twists (of which there were several) coming AT ALL. And let’s be honest, that’s one of the ways you know you have a fantastic book in your hands.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer left off on a cliffhanger, with a huge WTF realization: Jude has been alive the whole time! Or has he? That’s what I love about these books, is that I’m never quite sure if there’s actual supernatural/paranormal stuff going on, or if it’s all PTSD trauma-induced hallucinations within Mara’s mind. I NEVER know who to trust, and although I love Mara, I have to admit she’s most likely an unreliable narrator. So when The Evolution of Mara Dyer begins, I was relieved to see that the story picks up right where it left off. Despite having a lot of questions and mysteries already running through the series, this book introduces twice as many, delving into the family history of Mara and Noah, bringing up fascinating concepts such as genetic memory, Jungian archetypes, and (possibly) reincarnation. I developed theories as fast as I could read, and more and more information would be thrown at me, ruining my previous theories but leading me to just think up more. Reading this was kind of like running a marathon.
What I really love about this series is that Hodkin has definitely done her research into the psychological aspects used in this book, and the fact that Mara’s own mother is a therapist adds a great level of irony to the series. The counseling and psychiatry is carefully done, with just enough information being revealed via adults about Mara’s conditions and symptoms to make you doubt if you can trust anything she’s going through, because it could all be easily explained away as part of her supposed psychosis. And despite all of the eerie clues and happenings, the scariest scenes where those where Mara herself had done something to terrorize herself, though she had no memory of doing so…(helpmehelpmehelpmehelpme…*shudder*). It’s fantastic, because I really like Mara as a narrator and a character, but the author has managed to make me fear her, too.
This book also introduces a new cast of characters, many of whom seem to be more disturbing than Mara herself. It was anxiety-causing, watching Mara spar verbally and mentally with some of these characters, but also had you internally cheering for her when she stood up for herself and fought the battle against her own brain to try to enjoy her life as normally as possible. With all of these character additions, you’ll learn (if you didn’t already know) that you simply CANNOT TRUST ANYONE (except maybe Noah, because he’s sadly probably the sanest person in this book).
And then the ending will come along and slap you with the biggest, most massive, hanging-off-the-side-of-Mount-Everest-Cliffhanger. You thought the last one was bad? It’s got nothing on this one. In fact, it may have slightly shifted the entire genre of the series. It caused me to call my psychology-major boyfriend and read him every psychology-mentioning passage and try to dissect it word for word, theory by theory, bless him. I will be permanently sleeping with one eye open until I get my hands on the last book in the series in November, and Michelle Hodkin has solidified herself in my mind as an auto-buy author.
Overall: If you want your brain to be pushed to its limits in guessing and to question your own perception about everything (in the most wonderful, most thrilling way possible, of course) you need to read this series NOW. Be prepared to sleep with you bedside light on for a while, because The Evolution of Mara Dyer will, just like the cover, drag you into its depths of never-ending plot twists, questions, and downright creepy happenings. It’s fantastic.
“Everyone is a little crazy. The only difference between us and them is that they hide it better.”
To read my review of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, click here.