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.
After Mara survives the traumatizing accident at the old asylum, it makes sense that she has issues. She lost her best friend, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s sister, and as if that weren’t enough to cope with, her family moves to a new state in order to give her a fresh start. But that fresh start is quickly filled with hallucinations – or are they premonitions? – and then corpses, and the boundary between reality and nightmare is wavering. At school, there’s Noah, a devastatingly handsome charmer who seems determined to help Mara piece together what’s real, what’s imagined – and what’s very, very dangerous.
456 pages; YA/Fantasy-Paranormal/2011
Because my to-read list is as taller than I am, I’ve adapted a system that would space out all the genres, so I may cover them all in an impartial manner. I included both a New-Adult Fiction and a Mystery/Thriller category because I still feel like I’m in my early twenties instead of having just entered my life twenties and because even though I end up too scared to sleep, I enjoy a good spine-chiller.
Admittedly, the cover held the power to stop me in my tracks. I plucked it off the shelf and leafed through it, hoping its storyline, its characters, its emotions, would equal the beauty of that cover. I turned the first page with an open mind and as it turns out, suspension of belief was critical if one sought enjoyment from Mara’s story.
Psychological thrillers have hooked onto my heart since I first read Sidney Sheldon’s “Tell Me Your Dreams” Mara gave me that in addition to supernatural forces, probably the most affluent teenage boy I’ve ever encountered in a book, a Mean Girls subplot, and at least a handful of murder cases.
Mara Dyer is a half Indian, half American teenage girl. She wakes in a hospital bed having no recollection of the night that claimed three people’s lives, leaving her as the sole survivor. Needing a fresh start and straying from the inpatient psychiatric treatment route, their family relocates to Florida. Before they are even settled, murder cases and ghosts begin popping up like daisies in the town they now reside in.
Mara enters high school and is immediately targeted by a one-dimensional, catty, jealous blonde who seems to be attached at the hip with one boy but rips Mara apart for catching the eye of another. She has nothing on Regina George.
The enigmatic Noah Shaw. His witty banter with Mara is so refreshing to read. He has his own uncanny qualms to deal with but he’s gorgeous, intelligent, kind, and rich without being a snob. His interactions with nearly every character he merely speaks with is evident of how kindhearted he is. One line of his stood out to me:
and I think it’s so profound, so powerful.
Daniel, Mara’s brother. I don’t know if the boyfriend-and-brother relationship portrayed in this book ever really mirrors real life but it made me want a brother who would have my back, set me up with a good guy, and just plain loved me like a brother ought to.
Jamie, the best guy friend. I thought him to be hilarious but in a pompous kind of way. Nearly all his comments included some kind of insult. But he was loyal and outspoken on Mara’s behalf and I respect him for that.
I liked Mara’s voice. Living inside her head was extraordinary – when she was filled with fear, I felt tingles creep onto my skin. When she could only stand by helplessly as Anna flipped through her sketchbook, I felt colour rise into my cheeks. When Noah smiled at her, I felt him smiling at me (Fictional Boyfriend Syndrome). I could feel her disorientation, her insecurities, her rare moments of contentment. I haven’t felt that way about a character in a while.
However, there were minor issues that I can’t help but point out.
There were no cultural references and truthfully, if it wasn’t literally spelled out for me, I wouldn’t have even come close to guessing. She refers to herself as inheriting her father’s “Whitey McWhiterson” skin and points out the contrast between her paleness and her brothers’ complexions, which match their mother’s.
The paranormal stuff is harder to believe than Stephenie Meyer trying to sell us on vampires and werewolves.
I found it hard to get back into any time I put it down. But this may be because it scared me half to death at times.
All in all, a far-fetched but enjoyable read that pokes and pokes at you to pick up the sequel!