Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Books
Release Date: 1st March 2012 (UK)
Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
It's not often I write a gushing review. I can usually be fairly level-headed, lay out my likes and dislikes and give a reasonable rating. But when it comes to Mara Dyer, the only thing I want to say is:
*takes a breath*
However, I realise that isn't exactly a satisfying review, so I will try to review it properly. Emphasis on try.
We wake up, with Mara, in a hospital bed, her being asleep for 3 days. That is the last thing I am sure of. Everything that happens from there on out has such a dream-like, surreal quality to it that I'm still not quite sure which parts were real. It's rare for me to get that "What the FRICK is going on" feeling but I revelled in it. I loved it. I enjoyed not having a fricking clue. It was interesting, it kept the book fresh and it kept me riveted.
Mara herself was a fantastic heroine. You felt her confusion, her frustration, her fear and her determination. I loved her, because she tried. She was a little bit scary, vaguely sociopathic and altogether awesome. She didn't just give in to what was happening to her, and she didn't just give in to Noah either.
Noah....sigh. I feel like Michelle Hodkin looked in my brain, plucked out my favourite male qualities and made Noah just for me. I loved him, I loved his humour and enigmatic behaviour. I loved his ultimate reason for pursuing Mara and I loved his chase of her. I also love that she didn't give in straightaway, like I'm pretty sure I would've. She stuck to her principles until he SHOWED her that he actually wasn't a complete dick. I loved that he basically admitted to creating that persona for himself, because it was easier and more fun. I loved their relationship, how slow-burning it was. The amount of TENSION between them was insane. Their conversational exchanges were hilarious, I often found myself laughing at the things they said, having an actual physical reaction to the atmosphere they created.
The writing was exquisite; it really captured the feel of every scene and emotion. I genuinely felt like these were real teenagers too. They spoke the way teenagers spoke, about thing teenagers talk about. There was no censorship for more sensitive readers. The book mentions words and topics I don't think I've really seen much in YA which I found refreshing because honestly, I really think these things are handled far too delicately in a lot of books. The language often felt lyrical and added to the atmosphere created by the plot; the feelings of confusion and disorientation that permeated the pages.
The ending was just...wow. I kinda loved how it was so abrupt and a bit confusing because it embodied the themes of the rest of the book. I seriously cannot wait for the next one.
Essentially, I adored it. It's the best book I've read so far this year (out of over 40) and it's one of the few books where, as soon as I finished it, I wanted to flip back to the front and read it all over again.