The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin | ARC Review

Posted October 16, 2017 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Reviews / 15 Comments

The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin | ARC ReviewThe Becoming of Noah Shaw (The Shaw Confessions, #1) by Michelle Hodkin
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on November 7th 2017
Pages: 384 •Goodreads

Everyone thinks seventeen-year-old Noah Shaw has the world on a string.

They’re wrong.

Mara Dyer is the only one he trusts with his secrets and his future.

He shouldn’t.

And both are scared that uncovering the truth about themselves will force them apart.

They’re right.

*MASSIVE thank you to Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for providing an ARC via NetGalley*

I do not know how I was #blessed enough to get approved for The Becoming of Noah Shaw on NetGalley, but the bookish gods must have been smiling upon me because I was- and almost screamed out loud at work when the approval email came through on my phone. The original Mara Dyer trilogy is absolutely one of the best series I’ve read, YA or otherwise, and the eerie, haunting feel of it is unmatched. It’s committed to its aesthetic, from everything to the writing style to the cover designs to the titles. So of course when I heard their was going to be a spinoff series from Noah’s POV, of course I was going to read it, even if I wasn’t sure how the tale was going to continue after the revelations in The Retribution of Mara Dyer. However, Michelle Hodkin continues her unsettling series seamlessly in a new state with a new plot and new supporting characters, while still pulling the frightening threads that wove the first three novels into such a haunting tale like a masterful puppeteer.

First and foremost, The Becoming of Noah Shaw carries the same dark and eerie vibe that the original series is so well known for. Reading it felt like a thick fog of an ominous, overcast day was hanging over both the characters and myself as the reader- which is the perfect atmosphere you want when reading a paranormal thriller! While the tone of the writing style was consistent with the original books, the script was flipped getting to read from Noah’s first person POV. While Noah doesn’t feel like quite as an unreliable narrator as Mara, it was fascinating seeing her through a narrative’s eyes that weren’t her own (and she was totally, totally creepy). Noah’s POV was also brasher, sexier, and more reckless than Mara’s- pretty much everything you would expect from a British bad boy with a supernatural chip on his shoulder. I applaud Michelle Hodkin a thousand times over for being able to write such distinct POVs between Mara and Noah.

There was also, thankfully for me, a good amount of recap from the previous series (while not feeling like an info-dump). I didn’t have time to reread the original trilogy before reading this (though I most certainly will be soon) but enough reminders about key events were worked into the narrative naturally that I didn’t feel lost even though it’s been about three years since I read the original trilogy. I was able to comfortably fall back into the universe Hodkin created, revisiting old favorite characters (Daniel! Jamie!) and meeting new ones who both repulsed me and who I adored (Goose is my new favorite character, I want a book just about him! I loved how he just rolled with everything). While the mystery and plot of this book builds off of the previous installments but is definitely still new, I appreciated elements from the original trilogy that made their way into this book, specifically the focus on different types of archetypes. In the original trilogy there is discussion surrounding Carl Jung and his famous psychological archetypes, with Mara notably being assigned the role of the Shadow Self. In this novel, the characters discuss the Dungeons & Dragons archetypes and how they relate to the members of their group and how they may influence their motivations (lawful good, chaotic neutral, chaotic good, etc.- this stuff is really fascinating, I highly recommend checking it out) and I found this to be so interesting and also helpful, as it helps the reader to make sense of characters who are sometimes so unsettling and unpredictable.

In order the stay away from spoiler territory, I’ll refrain from discussing plot specifics too much. However, I will say that just because we’re not reading about creepy Horizons and crazy Dr. Kells doesn’t mean that this book doesn’t have its own scare factor that can hold its own against the others. There’s a lot of build up from the events that happened in the previous novels, and we start to learn even more about the manifestation of the characters’ powers and meet more teens with them and learn about an even wider variety of their “gifts.” Readers also get a glimpse into how other teens have coped with their paranormal abilities and how its impacted their life, which was an element I was really fascinated by and appreciated, that Michelle Hodkin writes about such unsettling and extreme circumstances yet doesn’t pretend they exist in a vacuum and thinks about the real ramifications they would have on the characters’ lives, even off what we see on the page. The epilogue of the novel was also incredible to- shocking and crazy yet it felt so perfect too, like I was just WAITING for this reveal to happen since book one. There were also a lot of letters and journal entries peppered throughout the story that helped tie past and present together, and I’m really excited to see how they look in a finished copy.

Overall: The Becoming of Noah Shaw was incredible. It kept the unique and unsettling aesthetic of the previous three books while also doing justice to a new narrator and letting the reader see Mara from outside her own head, which was so interesting because readers of the original trilogy were with her through so much. While I at times missed the Florida setting and Mara’s family, I loved getting to learn more about Noah’s past and learn more about his family and estate in the UK. The ending of the novel has a worthy plot twist, and though it left me reeling and almost a bit unsure of what I read, I loved that I can still be surprised by this series, and in a big way. If you’re a fan of the original Mara Dyer trilogy, The Becoming of Noah Shaw will be a HUGE highlight of your 2017 reading year.

Previous Reviews

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Evolution of Mara Dyer

The Retribution of Mara Dyer



15 responses to “The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin | ARC Review

  1. I still haven’t read the Mara Dyer series and it bothers me so much! These two series’ sound so good and I hope I get a chance to read them soon! Since they’ve got that creepy vibe, maybe I’ll jump into it after I FINALLY finish It (it’s my longest book of the year and it’s taking FOREVER to read because it’s so long; it’s also really good though so there’s that). Lovely review, Cristina!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    • Ohhhh I would definitely try to get to the series soon if you can! It would actually be the perfect time to read the Mara Dyer series since you can binge them and then read Noah Shaw and not forget the things that happened in the original trilogy (which I suffered from a little bit, to be honest!) They definitely have a creepy vibe but probably not as much as IT does- you’re brave for reading that book! Are you planning on seeing the movie too?

      • I will for sure! That’s one of the best things about jumping on the train later: you can just binge read them all and it makes for a wonderful weekend 🙂

        I am planning on seeing the movie! That’s kind of what jumpstarted my desire to read the book. I saw that they were making a movie and I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie so I could have an accurate comparison (and also prepare myself!). It’ll be a trip, that’s for sure!

        • I’ve heard the remake of the movie is AMAZING! I personally cannot handle like anything scary or I won’t sleep, but a lot of my coworkers saw the new IT and thought it was incredible. I wish I had a higher tolerance for horror (I’ve never been able to read a Stephen King novel) because I feel like there’s so any other interesting elements embedded within the genre that I’m probably missing out on.

  2. I love this review so much!!! You totally wrapped up the story in a perfect way, Cristina! Just like you, I didn’t expect to read an e-ARC of my most anticipated read this year, either, and I almost cried happy tears when I saw the approval email. :’))) Goose is definitely an amazing new character in this series and I can’t wait to see more of his role in such a chaotic situation. 😛 Ahh, I can’t agree with you more about THAT ending! I wasn’t sure what I’d read because all of a sudden, it felt that we were back to where we began, you know, but at the same time, everything and anything happened. :O
    Anyway, I couldn’t explain the awesomeness of this book better than you did so well done!!! ^__^

  3. Hi, not sure why my comment yesterday didn’t show up here but I just want to say I LOVE this review a lot! I agree with you about the amazing new character, Goose, and that the ending makes me doubt what I’ve read. XD Can’t wait for the sequels, too!

  4. I TRULY can’t wait to read this one. I even brace myself to read RoMD since I want to finish the series before I read this book. Glad it met your expectations!

  5. I neeeeeed to finish the series with The Retribution of Mara Dyer to get to this one! I get stressed out because I know that the book is going to be full of twists and turns and that the characters will make me angry and then pull me right back in again. But it just needs to happen quickly.

    • I have to admit, Retribution was probably my least favorite book in the trilogy, but it was still really good! I highly recommend reading Noah Shaw ASAP after you finish Retribution so everything is fresh in your mind- I found I was a little lost a some points because it had been several years since I had finished the original series, and I feel like I could have gotten so much more out of it had I not waited so long!

  6. Nicoleee

    I just finished The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer series and it definitely did NOT disappoint. I couldn’t put the books down and had to get the next one right away. I recently found out the Noah is getting his own series and I cant stop counting down the days. I have high hopes. And this review has me hopping up and down, I cant wait to get my hands on the book! I love that this book is so different and unique. I want to read more books like it.

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