Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Evolution of Mara Dyer - Michelle Hodkin

This review contains some pretty heavy spoilers for the book.  If you don't like spoilers, and you haven't read the book yet, save the review for later.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer, by author Michelle Hodkin, is the second book in the Mara Dyer series.  This book starts with Mara waking up in a hospital after having been sedated for what her family and therapists are likely calling a psychotic breakdown behind her back.  At the end of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, Mara saw her ex-boyfriend Jude, who supposedly died when an asylum collapsed on him, at a police station.  This led to a full on screaming, calling people names, acting the part fit in the middle of the police station. 

After being released from the hospital, Mara is enrolled in an outpatient program that she must attend in place of school.  The program is run through a mental health center, and if Mara "misbehaves" she will be placed in the residential treatment program and forced to live on site.  Mara plays along as well as she can, partly because she doesn't want to live in a residential treatment center, and partly because her friend Jaime is at the same program she is - because apparently people took his threat to shoot some of the popular kids seriously. 

Anyway, a series of Jude sightings, a crazy fellow patient, and doll that won't die, and some learned information about Noah as well as her family all lead to one helluva trip for Mara.  This book is filled with enough tension, unease, and turns that you won't know what to expect.  There are changes that occur in the characters throughout this book - each of them grows into something different from the beginning.  They are all true to who they are, but they evolve in ways that every good character should.  The writing in the book is nothing less than perfect and the story is well thought out. 

As with the first book, I never once found myself thinking "Oh, that could never happen."  The plot was believable, and the characters were well-fleshed out with different aspects to each of their personalities.  I think, as I expected, that the author handles Mara's battle with PTSD very well and doesn't resort to cliche's or anything like that. 

Overall, I think this is a book you'll love to read - doll burning and Santeria priests and all! I give it a solid 5 stars.

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