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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I wanted in the sequel and more!
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was my favorite book of last year. The Evolution of Mara Dyer was my most anticipated book of this year. Obviously, I had high expectations, but there was never a doubt in my mind that Michelle Hodkin would deliver a sequel worthy of that unbelievable first book. She did.

Do you perhaps remember my review of The Unbecoming of Mara...
Published on October 23, 2012 by Lori

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars such a downer.
...What Evolution are you talking about?!! Mara here was pathetic. Always cringing in fear when she should have been researching about what was happening to her. Not to mention she literally can't get her hands (and legs!) off of Noah. The Evolution of Mara Dyer got ridiculous.

Mara Dyer was being terrorized. But instead of fighting back, she wallowed in...
Published 23 months ago by Maria @ Bookchilla


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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I wanted in the sequel and more!, October 23, 2012
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This review is from: The Evolution of Mara Dyer (The Mara Dyer Trilogy) (Hardcover)
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was my favorite book of last year. The Evolution of Mara Dyer was my most anticipated book of this year. Obviously, I had high expectations, but there was never a doubt in my mind that Michelle Hodkin would deliver a sequel worthy of that unbelievable first book. She did.

Do you perhaps remember my review of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer? It went a little something like this: "I truly have no idea where to even start. I'm sure if I just said `Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow' over and over again that it would get my point across just fine, but that might be a little repetitive and inarticulate. I'm going to try to get my very gushing thoughts in order for you guys." The same sentiment can certainly be applied to this book...because WOW guys. Just Wow.

I'm not going to say a lot about the plot for two reasons; one, I might spoil something and I really don't want to do that, and two, I think there's going to be a few changes between the ARC I read and the finished version. Know this: everything that you loved in The Unbecoming is still very much present in The Evolution of Mara Dyer. The eeriness, the mind-bending, the just plain crazy pants stuff, and most importantly, NOAH SHAW.

I'm going to go ahead and get my Noah gushing out of the way. With this book he just moved into my number 1 favorite YA boy ever spot. Yes, EVER. I can't put my love (obsession) into words. The chemistry between Mara and Noah was just as intense and sexy as it was in the first book, maybe even more. I honestly blushed and giggled like a teenager. It was awesome. Plus, I don't know the last time I read something this sexy. Whoa. Michelle Hodkin has mastered the perfect balance between an honest, sweet love story and fiery mind-blowing passion.

I had no idea what direction the story was going to take in the sequel. How could you after that first book? I must say that I loved every single second of it. I was surprised at every turn and left with my jaw on the floor more than once. I loved, loved, loved where the story ended up. It felt so right, even if it did leave me dying for the next book.

Nothing I can possibly say will articulate my actual feelings about The Evolution of Mara Dyer. It was everything I wanted it to be and more. These books really set a new standard for what I love in YA. If you read only one of my recommendations this year, let it be these books.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars World of Books reviews, October 23, 2012
I didn't think it was possible but The Evolution of Mara Dyer is ten times better then the first book!

I feel really bad for Mara. Everyone thinks she's crazy, hell there were times where even I thought she was crazy. Honestly the more she learns about her powers, the more scared I become for her. I'm really worried for her. Will she ever fully understand her powers? Will she ever be able to be with Noah without fear of killing him?

If there's one thing that I liked about this series it's the fact that the parents aren't nonexistent In a lot of YA, they always make the parents disappear on a trip, or out of state job but I liked that that didn't happen here. Her family is so great and even though they don't understand what's going on with Mara and probably secretly think she's crazy, they're there for her no matter what.

Throughout most of the book Noah felt like a mystery to me. I realized that we really don't know much about him and he never really talks about how he feels or what he thinks. He has the closed off/unreadable expression down to perfection to the point where I was starting to wonder if he even cared about Mara. But luckily we get to learn more about Noah and from what we do get to see, it just makes me love him more. Noah seems happy but secretly I think he's in a bit of a dark place, one that he doesn't let anyone see.

So I thought I knew where the book was headed but once again I was wrong. There's a twist that I just did not see coming! People who I thought weren't important to the story turn out to play very important parts in the series. And if there's anything this book has made clears it's nothing and nobody are as they appear.

The book ends once again in a cliff hanger and I'm freaking out just thinking about how long I'll have to wait to read the last book. Fans of the Mara Dyer series will not be disappointed!

*Recieved from Eldelweiss and Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous Growth Between the Two Books!, October 23, 2012
This review is from: The Evolution of Mara Dyer (The Mara Dyer Trilogy) (Hardcover)
Warning: This review is admittedly a bit jumpy and erratic, but I figure that fitting for "Mara", no? ;)

Admittedly I was quite on the fence about "The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer"- while I on the whole enjoyed the first 3/4 I didn't enjoy the last 1/4 near as much, which I think is attributed to the genre. I had been under the impression that TUoMD was a contemporary thriller of sorts, however, a speculative fiction story line was also thrown into the mix, which, at the time, was anything but what I wanted. That being said, while reading this book I really enjoyed the speculative fiction aspect of it, which is partly attributable to having had quite a bit of time to process it and thereby come to terms with it and also because I believe that it was ferreted out much better than in its predecessor- questions were answered with answers, not with more questions (which seems to be the trend in YA).

I don't know if these books are the most genius thing I have ever read before or the most cracked out- from flashbacks to India, to a creepy doll, to residents at a psychiatric hospital. At any given time I admittedly only understood between 27.8% and 43.4% of what was going on. But what I do know is that these books are utterly addicting. It becomes evident that the books biggest weakness is also its biggest strength- in not knowing exactly what the book is about the reader feels the need that they HAVE to finish it (and finish it quickly, after all, the quicker you finish it, the sooner your burning questions will be answered).

That being said, prepare yourself... This book not being as much of a 'kissing' book than the first was, an aspect which I think that we all enjoyed (as I can recall I described Noah as 'sex-on-legs' in my review of "The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer"). However, it is still enjoyable without all of the obvious romance. If I had to describe Noah and Mara's relationship in this book I would say that it is beyond romantic (despite said lack of kissing), but on the other it was utterly dysfunctional- Noah is willing to do anything, even risk his own sanity, to save Mara's. Either way it truly is the cherry on the top of this book.

Aside from Noah and Mara's relationship another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed was the reintroduction of Jamie. I was a huge Jamie fan in the first book and therefore was devastated when his time was cut short in TUoMD, however in this book we not only see a lot of him, but he plays a hugely instrumental role.

All in all, it becomes evident that Michelle has grown tremendously as an author between this and TUoMD- this is truly a keeper, I will be adding a finished copy to my shelves! Therefore I obviously cannot wait to see what Michelle has in store for us in the third book in the series, "The Retribution of Mara Dyer" (especially with the ending of this book which rips your heart out- I'm going to suggest that you have a box of Kleenex on hand)!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Sequel, October 23, 2012
This review is from: The Evolution of Mara Dyer (The Mara Dyer Trilogy) (Hardcover)
Deeply intriguing and deliciously unnerving, The Evolution of Mara Dyer meets the bar set by its predecessor and then raises it higher, delighting us with a world of reality and possible delusion so intricately woven together we can't begin to separate the strands, instead we simply hold on and put ourselves in the very capable hands of Ms. Hodkin. So often times reading the second book in a beloved series is extremely nerve-wracking, the worry that it won't live up to the first a tangible weight we feel as we crack the spine, and while that sense of anticipation is certainly present when we begin this tale, it quickly dissipates as Mara's story gets infinitely more complex and holds us completely rapt.

From our time with her in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, we know she's untrustworthy as a narrator; hallucinations, memory lapses, and supernatural happenings ensuring our faith in the reality of what she's seeing is shaky at best, and the foundations of our limited trust in her are rattled even further in this second book. We want so badly to believe in her, to scream at the top of our lungs our surety that Jude is alive just as she claims, but at the back of our minds a kernel of doubt remains, and like Mara's family, we constantly evaluate her every thought and action, looking for the smallest of indicators to tell us whether or not her interpretation of events is reliable. It's a special kind of beautiful torture to read Mara's story, the guilt over our inability to silence the niggling doubts combining with our fear for her physical, emotional, and mental welfare to leave us thoroughly unsettled.

Noah is a pillar of strength for Mara in this second installment, someone who can do what even we as readers can't - tell her unflinchingly that he believes her. While in the beginning Noah is present and accounted for, he's also fairly quiet and reserved, some of the cocky arrogance dimmed in the face of Mara's new problems. We can see the wheels turning in his head, but he keeps them frustratingly to himself, hiding a lot of his thoughts from both Mara and us until we can almost feel him slipping away even though he's physically close by. It's not until the latter half of the story that Ms. Hodkin decides to loosen a few of the bolts holding his armor in place, and we're given a few tiny pieces of Noah that, despite their small size, are enough to bring us to our knees. Where our pain for Mara is acute as she is so clearly struggling with the increasing frailty of her mind and her sanity, our pain for Noah is equally profound, the doors to his soul cracked open for us ever-so slightly toward the end, giving us an unforgettable glimpse at a young man who's an expert at containment - only ever releasing careful truths on a schedule of his own making.

Overall, The Evolution of Mara Dyer is an absolutely stunning sequel, packed with small clues we desperately grasp at with frantic fingers, adding them to a mental pile we plan on reviewing later to see if we can decipher this most addicting of puzzles. The ending leaves us with a cruel twist to our lips as some revelations are made clear to Mara, a throbbing pain in our hearts as the aftermath of the final pages actually registers, and a steady hum of anticipation as Mara decides on a course of action moving forward to the next book.

Rating: 5/5
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars such a downer., January 24, 2013
This review is from: The Evolution of Mara Dyer (The Mara Dyer Trilogy) (Hardcover)
...What Evolution are you talking about?!! Mara here was pathetic. Always cringing in fear when she should have been researching about what was happening to her. Not to mention she literally can't get her hands (and legs!) off of Noah. The Evolution of Mara Dyer got ridiculous.

Mara Dyer was being terrorized. But instead of fighting back, she wallowed in self-pity, wishing Noah Shaw was there every single time. and he was. and I cannot believe Noah was allowed to stay in Mara's house because removing him from her life would only "add to her instability". Yeah, right. Hey, Mom? Mara got this Noah itch, didn't you notice? Mara's and Noah's on & off make-out sessions was made into this, this irrational fear of Mara that was so ridiculous it's not even swoony anymore.

Noah: "We cannot do this because you are still afraid."
Mara: "Kiss me. I might kill you but let's make out anyway."

Mara will make advances to Noah, Noah will hold her off... but not for long. And it went like that for I don't know how many times coz I lost count! It was beyond irritating.

Then there were those flashbacks that barely gave an insight on what was really happening to Mara. I liked this part, but it confused me. It felt like a reincarnation story with these flashbacks, but what was all the talk about genetics? Mara's narration did nothing to clear my confusion. Like I said, Mara was more interested in getting Noah in her pants than learning and practicing what he can do.

A lot of loose ends, too. Why is Mara having flashbacks? What is the importance of the doll? What happened to Mara's grandmother? and who the hell is Abel Lukumi?

90% trash, 10% good stuff. The part where Mara's laughter was heard at the end of the video? super creepy. but that's it.

I liked The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable at first, but soon became tedious, February 21, 2013
Have you ever seen the movie The Strangers? If so, do you remember that one scene where the woman was in the foreground of her house, panicking, and in the background you see one of the white-masked strangers inside her house, watching her? Such a simple and subtle scene, that was. There was no music, no big bang to draw your attention to the stranger - nothing. Just complete and utter silence, aside from the sound of the woman taking short, panicked breaths. The subtlety of that one particular scene, and the fact that if I weren't expecting a big bang as per usual in horror movies and looking in the background for the big shocker, I would have probably missed the stranger standing there, watching her, made that scene more terrifying to me than it would have been if there had been the big bang and the loud music drawing my attention to the background.

My whole point for describing that one particular scene in this review was to make a point that for me, subtlety in horror is more scary and effective than anything else. At times, when watching horror movies, in your face scenes with incredibly loud music do entertain me, and, at times, scare me (most notably in the movie Insidious), but usually, for a scene to linger with me and make me lose sleep, the scene has to be subtle - so subtle that I could miss it. Just like that scene in The Strangers.

And that is where I feel The Evolution of Mara Dyer took one large misstep concerning its creepy elements. There are, of course, other faults in the novel, such as the fact that I found it to be way too long drawn out in the second half and that it ends in yet another cop-out of a cliffhanger to stretch out the series when everything could have easily been resolved in this book, but I think the 'in-your-face' creepy scenes may have been the most prominent and effective detraction to my enjoyment in The Evolution of Mara Dyer. In my pre-review, I wrote that the creepy scenes in this book were like someone was banging pots and pans while screaming at me to look at something - with no subtlety whatsoever. (I'll attach my pre-review below this review, for those who are curious to read it.)

Clearly Hodkin's intention with these scenes were to freak readers out and to have them lose sleep, and it probably will freak many readers out as some of the scenes are genuinely creepy. There were times when reading this that I was a bit freaked out, but the scene(s) that freaked me out won't linger, and that's really what I'm looking for in horror - for scenes to linger with me. Of course, this is a personal issue for me with this book, and if subtlety - or lack thereof - in scenes intended to be creepy don't make a difference to you, then this will not be a problem for you. However, if you are the type of reader and movie-watcher that I am, where subtlety actually matters then I'd look elsewhere for your ideal Halloween read.

That isn't to say you should skip reading this entirely, though, because I'd definitely recommend it to quite a few people. If you, like me, were in love with the plot of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer but were less than enthused by romance completely overthrowing the plot, you will be relieved to know that The Evolution of Mara Dyer is much more plot-focused and less romantically involved than its predecessor. While I did think that there may have been too much plot, to the point where things got completely out of control and crazy, I found it to be entertaining nonetheless. Unfortunately, there are also a few negative similarities between Evolution and Unbecoming, such as the fact that both are way too long drawn out to the point of frustration, having the reader (ie: me) wondering when the book will come to an end, and more importantly hoping it will finally come to an end.

And while I did thoroughly enjoy - maybe even love - the first half of The Evolution of Mara Dyer, I found that it lost its way in the second half, leading up to a disappointing finale ending with, you guessed it, another huge cliffhanger. But this time, unlike the first, I don't have much hope for the Mara Dyer series anymore. The cliffhanger at the end of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer left me with a feeling hope that the series would eventually become awesome over time, and more importantly it made me care for what would happen next. But the difference this time is that I don't care, and I think that is the biggest thing I can say about my enjoyment in this series thus far: that I just don't care anymore.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved EVERY moment of The Evolution of Mara Dyer, November 3, 2012
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This review is from: The Evolution of Mara Dyer (The Mara Dyer Trilogy) (Hardcover)
I wasn't sure how it could be possible, but The Evolution of Mara Dyer was even more intese and twisted than The Unbecoming.

Before reading: Huh, my book is signed with, "Who will you believe?" Interesting. Well I guess I'll go with Michelle Hodkin.

After reading: NO ONE. I BELIEVE NO ONE. EXCEPT NOAH SHAW. I WILL BELIEVE EVERYTHING HE SAYS.

The Evolution goes into Mara's family history as well as Noah's. I would think that I would be able to make some theories from that, but nope. Fret not people, even though new information was tossed in, there were a lot of questions answered from The Unbecoming. I never looked at anything the same through out this book. One moment I would feel like I was finally putting the story together, but then I would turn the page and all of my theories would get burned.

There were so many when I was wondering what just happened. At first I would try to make some sense out of it, but after a while I just rolled with it. Kind of. I started categorizing my reactions to those moments into the "my life after finishing" list.

My Life After Finishing The Evolution of Mara Dyer:
Day 1: Maybe I'll just leave my lamp on tonight.
Day 2: I'll just turn ALL the lights on in my house.
Day 3: Maybe I should just not clear the fog from my mirror after taking a shower.
Day 4: SUPER PARANOID. NOBODY TOUCH ME.
Day 5: Has brother stand next to me while I brush my teeth.

One of the many things I loved about this book was Mara Dyer and Noah Shaw. They just work. It is how it is. They will forever be one of my favorite couples.

I loved every moment of The Evolution of Mara Dyer. Even though Mara Dyer is the reason I can't look into the mirror after I take a shower, I will read anything by Michelle Hodkin.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the first. New favorite series, October 26, 2012
This review is from: The Evolution of Mara Dyer (The Mara Dyer Trilogy) (Hardcover)
The Evolution of Mara Dyer was even better than the first. Sexier. Mysterious. Dark and humerous, even gripping.Not only that, but I have to give major props to Michelle Hodkin for her superb vocabulary. I have to say, there wasn't a dull moment in the book, and the plot was very interesting. I always look for character development in a book, and this book has it! I was especially surprised because sequels never seem better than the first. And this book was. New favorite series!! Cannot believe I have to wait another year for the second installment. Shaking with anticipation!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing!, October 24, 2012
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I loved this book! I am so mad its over! I dont even have words to explain this book, i really dont.... I cant believe everything that happened. This book just added more and more confusion and barely answered any of my questions i already had from the first one, just added more but I loved it!!!! I can NOT wait until the next one. I love Noah even more than I did from the first book. I couldnt relax reading this book, especially the last half! Just WOW!!!!!!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sequel that doesn't disappoint!, October 23, 2012
This review is from: The Evolution of Mara Dyer (The Mara Dyer Trilogy) (Hardcover)
I loved the original, but enjoyed the sequel even more. It keeps you guessing all the way through, and it keeps you reading, too. So set aside a couple days, or you'll show up at school/work sleepy. :) I hate to give too much away, but nothing is as it seems in this book. LOVED it -- felt like a vacation.
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The Evolution of Mara Dyer (The Mara Dyer Trilogy)
The Evolution of Mara Dyer (The Mara Dyer Trilogy) by Michelle Hodkin (Hardcover - October 23, 2012)
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