Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michele Hodkin

I’d like to be able to say that I planned my reading of this book out perfectly. I mean I only recently just read the first book in the series, and therefore only had a matter of days to wait before this one came out! However, I am not that organized. I’m just lucky. If I were really organized, I wouldn’t have read either book till around the release of book 3, because well, the ending of this sequel had the cliffhanger of all cliffhangers. I am not lying. The ending of this book was so insane, I have no problem telling everyone I know to read it just to get to this crazy, crazy ending!
(Stop reading if you have yet to read book 1. I am about to spoil some book 1 important things.)
Any way, the book starts off not long after the first one finishes. It actually begins immediately after the last one finished. And the last one ended with a bang too, literally. (Mara’s father was shot after the big law suit, and then Mara makes a run for it to the police station so she can turn herself in and keep herself away from the ones she loves who she now knows she can murder upon a simple thought). Mara’s plans don’t exactly work out the way she intended. For starters, she sees Jude (the ex abusive boyfriend) who everyone knows died in the building collapse. And second, she faints and blacks out again.
This book begins with Mara waking up in a mental institution. Apparently her fainting at the police station also involved her screaming about Jude being alive. And well, everyone now knows about Jude forced himself on her and Mara realizes she really can’t trust herself not to say important things when she has mental breakdowns.
A lot of this book actually takes place in mental institutions. At first, Mara attends an outpatient practice that allows her to live at home still and sometimes still see Noah (who thankfully believes Mara about everything). There are a lot of fun, new crazy teen characters. And while much of Mara’s mental illness is known to the readers as the side effects of her dark supernatural abilities, I couldn’t help but think that maybe (hopefully) getting therapeutic help could also benefit Mara. Yes, she has the ability to kill anyone just by wishing it. But, does that have to mean she also needs to hallucinate all the time and frequently black out with memory loss? I guess what I’m saying is that there always seems to be something else wrong. And how much of it is supernatural versus mental?
Unfortunately for Mara, the programs she attends seem to do more harm than good. It doesn’t help that she is partnered immediately with a girl who hates her on the spot. The girl steals things from Mara, like photographs, and then cuts out the pictures of Mara’s eyes…Seriously, creepy. And well, Mara is not the most social creature. Putting an introvert in daylong group therapy sessions and team building exercises is not a recipe for success.
In the mean time, Noah is getting closer to Mara’s family and building relationships with her brothers and parents, so they can trust him to be around Mara in her “mental state.” And with Noah’s help, Mara is able to stay relatively sane and not accidentally kill more people. There’s tidbits of romance thrown in amongst the ex boyfriend stalker moments, group therapy sessions, kidnappings, and supernatural mysteries.
There’s also occasional point of view switches to the past that follow Mara’s supernatural grandmother in India. There’s more animal rescues, more discoveries about other people with “abilities,” a little family history, and some seriously scary moments! There’s one scene where Mara is forced to cut her wrists by her kidnapper, so that if she gets rescued in time everyone will think she attempted suicide! And then Mara of course gets admitted to a mental institution for troubled teens where she is forced to stay with no contact with the outside world for months.
There are creepy dolls, important necklaces, flashbacks to India, plenty of people out for Mara, sizzling romance scenes, and then one seriously epic finish! Think another building collapse. Think dystopia-type twist. And then think worst possible scenario for Mara…That’s all I’m going to say about it besides, “I need book 3 right now!”
I was way above and beyond impressed with this sequel. I actually enjoyed the sequel a lot more than I did the first book.  For starters, there was no letter in the beginning that spoiled the rest of the plot. Also, Mara has become a lot more independent. She still has a ways to go. But, she proved herself a strong main character in this one. She knew without a doubt that no matter how much her life sucked, she had to pretend that it didn’t. Only a remarkably strong individual could possibly go through what she did, and then be able to pretend that nothing was wrong.
I also loved that just enough questions were answered and just enough were ignored and hopefully left out on purpose for the next one. I loved the twists! I was genuinely surprised in this book. I loved the resourcefulness of the all the teens left in the mental institution. And of course, I love Noah! This definitely gets a 10/10 from me!

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