Book Trailer Thursday (86)–The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

I loved The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, so I’m super excited about the release of the sequel, The Evolution of Mara Dyer.  I would like this trailer if there was less making out and more scenes related to the conflict outside of Mara and Noah, but I’m still okay with it.  I really want to find out what Michelle Hodkin has in store for Mara, but I’ll have to wait until I get The Evolution of Mara Dyer back from a very excited student (I bought my copy on its release day and gave it to her the following day to read).

If you haven’t read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, or if you haven’t seen the trailer for that book, here’s a link.

Summary (From Goodreads):

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.

She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.

They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.

She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

Students Want to Know: Michelle Hodkin

A new school year has started, so it’s time to bring back my Students Want to Know feature.  I’m very excited to start the fall interviews with Michelle Hodkin, the debut author of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

Summary (From the publisher):

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

** Michelle’s Website **
** Michelle’s Blog **
** The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer releases on September 27, 2011 **
** Find out why I LOVED Michelle’s book–My review **

Caroline:

  • What does it feel like to have people raving about your book?
    Every time I hear that someone, anyone, has even read my book, I feel pretty stunned. This whole roller coaster ride was completely unexpected; I never really planned on writing a book, let alone having that book published. And once I was published, I didn’t expect the book to have the kind of support that it has had, from the amazing team at Simon & Schuster to the awesome teenagers who have managed to snag Advance Readers Copies to book bloggers to New York Times bestselling authors who have read it and shared their thoughts with their readers. I am deeply humbled and extremely grateful. 
  • How do you think it will feel to see it in book stores?
    It’s still a few days before I’ll be able to find the book on shelves, but I know it’s going to be surreal. I can’t even get used to the sight of the finished copies on my own shelf!
  • Do any of the characters’ emotions reflect your own? At certain times while you were writing the book?
    I tried really hard to honestly portray the characters’ emotions no matter what they were going through at any point in the book, even though I’ve never been through a lot of their experiences myself. So I started by trying to put myself in a similar mood; If I needed to write an angry scene, I’d listen to angry music. If I had to write something scary, I’d set aside time when I’d be home alone in the middle of the night to write it. 
  • At book events, do you find it nerve-wracking to have people lining up to meet you?  Or do you feel like a star in those moments?
    Since the book isn’t out yet, I’ve only done a handful of signings for pre-publication events, but I can say that it wasn’t nerve-wracking—it was AWESOME. The hardest part was not spending hours talking to each person who came to get the book! I was a reader long before I was a writer, so getting the chance to meet people who love books enough to take the time out to go to signings and events is the ultimate for me. Can’t think of anything I love more.

Tristan:

  • Have you ever had really bad writer’s block?
    There have definitely been times where I wasn’t sure what would happen next in the story, but as the infinitely wise Cassie Clare says, writer’s block is a symptom that there’s something wrong with the manuscript. So whenever I get stuck, I try to think about why I’m stuck and in the meantime, work on something else
  • When did you come up with the idea for your book?
    Funny thing? I know the exact day: May 15, 2009. The full story of how that idea came about (and why it specifically happened on that day) will be posted on www.maradyer.com. And the very first emails I sent to friends telling them I had an idea for a novel are posted on my blog: michellehodkin.blogspot.com.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Michelle Hodkin The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

464 pp.  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers  2011

Interest: 2011 Debut Author

Source: ARC received from publisher

Release Date: September 27, 2011

Summary (From Goodreads):

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

This debut has received a ton of hype in the past few months and it completely lives up to the hype.  I absolutely devoured this story; I couldn’t put it down.  I stayed up late and read until my eyes were so heavy I had to close them, then woke up early enough to pick it right back up and finish it (thank goodness for the weekends!).  Michelle Hodkin is most certainly an author to watch because she not only weaves an engrossing tale, but she incorporates the perfect mix of mystery, snark, romance and humor–extra emphasis on mystery.

Michelle Hodkin hooks us with an eerie letter from our main character, Mara Dyer, only Mara says “My name is not Mara Dyer, but my lawyer told me I had to choose something.  A pseudonym.”  The letter goes on to mention murders and warning us so we’re not next.  Talk about grabbing our attention, right?!  The thing is, now that I’m done reading this book, I’m wondering what her name really is because everyone calls her Mara.  This is part of what I love most about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer–the mystery.  I know readers are calling this paranormal, but I’d rather call it magical realism or something. There are some strange things happening to and around Mara, many of which we don’t fully understand until the end or are still left wondering about until the next book.  Normally I prefer an ending that leaves the book feeling like it could be a stand alone, even in a series, but this ending worked for me.  Was I confused and did I want answers immediately?  Yes.  But the ending kept me thinking for days.  I let one of my students borrow my ARC so I could discuss it with someone.  An ending like that is worth the mystery and me eagerly waiting for the second book, even though the first hasn’t even officially released.

I’m a big fan of the characters in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.  Mara Dyer isn’t a reliable narrator, but she’s snarky, mysterious and just as confused as I was.  I love that I, as a reader, am on the same page as Mara when it comes to the confusion over everything.  She doesn’t remember much of the accident when her friends died and she lived.  She and her family move to Florida to get away from everything which is when life gets a little weird for Mara.  This is also when she meets Noah, who I adore.  Oddly enough, some of the strange events happen whenever Noah is around.  There’s something unique between these two that I can’t wait to learn more about in the second book.  At first I didn’t think I was going to like Noah because he came off as the typical bad boy.  That’s not the case.  Just like Mara, there are some complex layers to Noah’s character that make him stand out from the rest of the paranormal genre love interests.

Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to write a review for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer without giving away major plot points.  There are scenes with dogs, alligators, a gun, and a guy named Jude I want to talk about.  But if I do, you’d be mad at me because I’d give away all the good parts, or at least some of them.  This is a book that needs you to suspend your disbelief, and if you can then you’re sure to enjoy it.  I flat out love it.  I don’t say this very often, but I would re-read this debut because it’s that good and I want the answers to my questions.  I definitely recommend getting yourself a copy, and make sure a friend reads it as well so you can try to work out the details and mystery to Mara’s story.

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