I picked up this novel because of the cover. The contrast of it just drew me in. Once I read the description and saw that Cassandra Clare, Rachel Hawkins, Veronica Roth, and Beth Revis all had blurbs of support, I knew I was going to have to read this novel ASAP.
I am glad I did - this novel grabbed me and did not let go. As a matter of fact, it still has a hold of me...a week later.
Summary (from jacket):
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.
First let me say this book had me so creeped out that it took me a little longer to read it – and that’s a good thing. I did not want it to end – so I prolonged the story to allow my mind moments to absorb all that was happening, and it is a lot.
This is one of my favorite debut novels ever. Hodkin grabs a hold of the reader and does not let go. While the reader will try to unravel what is happening to Mara, it will not be worth the time. Just sit back and allow the plot to unfold. Just when I thought I knew what was happening, a curve ball was thrown my way. I love a book that keeps my guessing, until the very final word.
The plot of the novel is intriguing. Mara cannot remember what happened the night of the accident, and the reader discovers the truth as she does, giving readers a sense of ownership. This is not Mara’s story – this is our story because we are taking this journey with her, experiencing what she experiences, questioning what she questions. The pacing of this novel is what kept me turning the page (well, the plot and Noah, but I will get to him). The author is spot-on in her plot development, creating a sense of “truth” in the novel – even when we as readers cannot believe anything that is happening. After all, Mara is not the most trustworthy character. To have the story told from her point of view just increases the suspense, and it takes me to a quote from The Hunger Games: “Real, or not real?”
While this novel is plot driven, the characters enhance the overall effect. Mara is our main focus, but it is Noah that I love. Noah. Noah. Noah. As a reader I am still not 100% sold on whether or not he is trustworthy, which makes him so perfect for Mara. I found myself literally laughing aloud when Noah was on the page. The author gives him the best dialogue, and it is needed to help break the tension readers will experience with the plot. I am definitely curious to see where the author takes his character, and I hope it deals with a lot of make out scenes.
With that said, there are other important characters that are sprinkled throughout. Mara’s older, responsible brother Daniel seems to take on more than necessary when it comes to Mara. He is her rock, her key into keeping her ever-worrying parents at bay. I found his character refreshing. While he constantly worried about his sister, he was not overly annoying. He was tender and concerned, but he was Mara’s cheerleader. Then there is Joseph, Mara’s younger brother. He plays quite an important role in the novel that I did not see coming, and I cannot write anything more without ruining plot points. And then there are Mara’s parents. While in a lot of YA the parents are absent (which I usually prefer because they usually just get in the way), they are quite present in this novel. They are an integral element of Mara’s life, and not because she is a teenager in need of guidance. Again, I cannot write too much more without spoiling something important.
Are you still not sold on reading this novel? Well, there is an exclusive private school in Miami; a new best friend; unexplained sightings of dead people; a fight with an alligator; kidnappings; underhandedness; unexplained death; memory loss; hunt for the truth; love; romance; and that is just a small taste of what is waiting for you within the pages. This is going to be one of those novels that stick with me for a very long time. Definitely add this to your “I must read this today” pile if you are a reader of YA.