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Michelle Hodkin grew up in Florida, went to college in New York, and studied law in Michigan. She is the author of the Mara Dyer trilogy, including The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, The Evolution of Mara Dyer, and The Retribution of Mara Dyer. Visit her online at MichelleHodkin.com.
THE EXAMINATION OF MARA DYER was taken on [redacted] at the Horizons Residential Treatment Center for Behavioral Health. 31821 No Name Island, Florida. Video transcript time: 2:13 p.m.
Examination by: Dr. Deborah Kells
Also present: Mr. [redacted]
KELLS: Hello, Mara. My name is Deborah Kells, and this is Mr. ____. We’re here because your family says that you have agreed to residential treatment at the Horizons Residential Treatment Center for Behavioral Health on No Name Island, Florida, just off No Name Key. Is that correct?
KELLS: How much Amytal did you give her?
MR. ____: Forty ccs.
MR. ____: One hundred micrograms.
KELLS: And the midazolam?
MR. ____: Fifty milligrams. Same as the others. She won’t remember any of this.
KELLS: God, she’s like a zombie. Mara, Mara—are you awake? Do you understand me?
MARA: . . . Yes.
KELLS: Great. Thank you. Is it correct that you agreed to being treated here?
KELLS: Thank you. Now, if at anytime you don’t understand what I’m asking you, just let me know and I’ll try to make it clearer, okay?
KELLS: Now, you’ll notice that there’s a video camera in the room here with us. We want to record this just so we have a record. Is that okay with you?
KELLS: Excellent. Okay, Mara. Let’s start with the basics. What is your full name?
MARA: Mara Amitra Dyer.
KELLS: And how old are you?
KELLS: Where were you born?
KELLS: Where is that?
MARA: Outside Providence.
KELLS: Rhode Island?
KELLS: Thank you. Can you tell me a little about why you’re here?
KELLS: She’s struggling with the open-ended questions. Can we counteract the Anemosyne?
MR. ____: She might not be as cooperative.
KELLS: Well, she’s not exactly cooperative now, is she?
MR. ____: I’ll have to do it intravenously—
KELLS: Obviously. Just—
MARA: I hurt people.
MR. ____: Do you still want me to adjust—
KELLS: No, let’s see where she goes. Mara, who did you hurt?
MARA: My teacher.
KELLS: What was her name?
MR. ____: Her file says that her teacher, Christina Morales, died of anaphylactic shock in reaction to fire ant bites on [date redacted].
KELLS: Let me see.
MARA: Also a . . . a man. He hurt a dog. I—I—
KELLS: It’s okay. Take your time. Just tell us what you remember.
MR. ____: Rachel Watson, deceased, died Wednesday [date redacted] in Laurelton. Remains discovered at six a.m. with those of—
MR. ____: Claire Lowe, yes, as well as her brother, Jude Lowe—
MR. ____: Noah Shaw? I don’t—
MR. ____: Sorry—whoa. Did you see that? She just—
KELLS: What else is she on?
MR. ____: The hundred milligrams of Zyprexa, as prescribed prior to intake. It shouldn’t interfere.
MARA: [speech unclear]
KELLS: What did she say?
MR. ____: I don’t know. Jesus, look—
KELLS: Is she on anything else?
MR. ____: I don’t—
KELLS: Is she on anything else?
MR. ____: No. No.
KELLS: Does she have a history of epilepsy?
MR. ____: I don’t think so.
KELLS: Well, do you think or do you know?
MR. ____: No— Jesus Christ. Is that a seizure? Is she seizing?
KELLS: Turn off the camera.
MARA: [speech unclear]
KELLS: What did you say, Mara?
MR. ____: I’m going to call—
KELLS: Don’t call anyone. Turn off the camera. What, Mara?
MARA: [speech unclear]
MR. ____: Did she just say our names? Did she just say—
I’m not sure what’s happening with YA series these days. Book 2 in trilogies sets up all this promise, often being an improvement and/or equal to the first book, then the conclusion lets that promise slip into the aether. Conclusions should be satisfactory in some way, not make readers feel they’ve kind of wasted their time.
The Good: We get answers about Mara, her grandmother, Jude, Dr. Kells, and the connection/complication between Noah and her.
No resolution with the family besides Daniel. I really wanted to see Mara confront her parents (especially her mom) about what they had done to her, and see their reaction to being wrong. Instead we got one scene where Jaime mind influences them so Mara can go to New York. I have no idea how they handle Mara’s return later (it’s implied she’s somehow going to go to college, so I assume she’ll go home at some point? IDK), or how she will explain everything (or if she and Daniel decide to lie). Basically, two books with family drama that's ignored in the finale.
The Professor: I would have liked more insight into the person who was the master puppeteer of it all, along with a better understanding of his motivations. I was hoping he’d be called to task for his actions, that he might be one of the people who receives Mara’s “retribution,” but nope, all we get is a letter admitting some hubris and another plea for Mara to leave Noah alone.
Retribution: Where was it? Mara kills a few people, but based on the title I was expecting an epic take back of her life. Retribution or justice for what had happened to her and why she was the way she was, and maybe her fighting against her destiny, which leads to my biggest issues.Read more ›
I really, really, REALLY WANTED to like this book, and parts of it I did, but the ending felt, contrived & pat to me. It was a very Twilight-y ending...
It has been awhile since I read the 2nd book so I read it again in anticipation of book 3, God it was good, but #3? I didn't like as much...
I enjoyed the extra details, the "mythology" behind why Mara & Noah are what they are, more of Jamie's character was worth the wait, but the rest? Meh...
After all Mara has been through, after all she knows, realizing she WILL BE the demise of Noah Shaw, does she do the right thing & let him go? Knowing staying with him will kill him? Nope. Mara shows that every bone in her body is as demented & selfish as her actions. Like in Twilight, Mara gets everything she wants...I'm not saying the poor thing didn't deserve it, she did...but there WILL be a major character death at Mara's hands: Noah, the storyline has stopped so the readers won't see it, but SHE WILL kill him.
That's the tragic part. Not lost teenage love, unsung emotions thwarted. It's the loss of what Noah could've been to the world in Hodkins universe. All because Mara Dyer couldn't see past her own desires for the greater good. This is what made my opinion shift towards Mara. If she really wanted to try & be good, to be better anyway, she would have let him go, not held on till she killed him.
But, that wouldn't make teenage girls swoon on about star crossed love & all that, selling less books. But those same teens, a little older & a little wiser will see that hey, maybe Mara really was the bad guy? Because she really, REALLY was. In not letting Noah go on to live a life of purpose, one that could've changed the world, Mara showed her true colors...Read more ›
NO SPOILERS YET! Overall, I was happy that this book wrapped up a lot of the open-ended plot points that existed throughout the series. Hodkin definitely tried to wrap things up and it showed in some serious explanations that are not for the speed reader. Multiple times I had to force myself to slow down and read to try and understand the explanations. She does a great job of keeping the book moving through a series of really unfortunate events. Definitely worth reading! 5 stars for trying to explain and close plot holes. Some of the things don't exactly make sense, but it could definitely have been my fault for not going slow and trying to get it all. I just wanted to know what happens! I feel like the character relationships suffered in this book and didn't warrant a 5 star review.
*************(Sort of)SPOILERS BELOW!!*******
I was, however, disappointed with the lack of romance and character development. The first two books set up some pretty serious romance and tension but for 2/3 of the third book, Noah and Mara are completely separated and we don't hear or learn anything new about Noah until the pretty shocking/intense climax of the book. Then the final romance scenes of the book can't really make up for a lack of all things Noah. Same thing with all Mara's family drama. I feel like we should have had more time with them and seen Mara get to explain to her family or try and resolve things. It seems like Hodkin tried really hard to wrap up the overall plot and ended up sacrificing character and family to meet that goal. My other issue with the book is the dissonance between Noah and Mara in the end. I was disappointed there wasn't more resolution to help them be more happy. They have to sort of settle for this awful future...Read more ›
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Michelle Hodkin grew up in Florida, went to college in New York, and studied law in Michigan. When she isn't writing, she can usually be found prying strange objects from the jaws of one of her three pets. THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER is her first novel. You can visit her online at michellehodkin.com.