These books are driving me crazy. Absolutely out of my mind insane (but I guess that's the point?) Do you ever get into a book and slowly realize that you are going to form a weird love/hate relationship with it? Something will inevitably frustrate you about the plot/writing/characters but you know you will be moving on to the next one in the series. That is this series for me.
The Evolution of Mara Dyer is not just a suspense/thriller novel, nor is it a typical YA/NA paranormal romance or a book exploring the depths of psychological issues. It's all of that rolled into one and while the premise of this series is awesome and unique, this one dragged on and on for the first half.
Let's look at that cover. This is perfection of a cover defined. There is movement, there is direction, there is a sense of what is going on in the book. Noah and Mara are reaching for each other but are completely incapable of touching and making that connection. They are so close but there is still that void between them. Covers are important because, in a lot of cases, they are what make you pick out that book on the shelf in the store and this one is completely effective for that purpose.
Mara is having problems to say the least. She is in a mental institution with a lot of people who are crazier than her (in her opinion) and trying to figure out her own problems along with that. Noah Shaw is as heartbreakingly attractive as ever and is walking temptation. Except that Mara is dangerous and can't be trusted, according to her parents and Dr. Kells, her new doctor who seems a little too happy to have another patient under her wing. Her only solace is that she isn't alone in all of this crap with Noah helping her and one friend, Jamie, in her new crazy people school.
Mara is told that she is hallucinating her dead ex-boyfriend but she knows what she sees is real. But who would believe her? Her parents are hovering, her brother is trying to help and Mara is desperately clinging to some sense of normalcy in order to maintain a relationship with Noah.
“Everyone is a little crazy. The only difference between us and them is that they hide it better.”
And then, as things do, everything spirals out of control.
Mara and Noah develop well in this book and you see their strength as a couple grow in a significant way. They are both flawed people who have tendencies towards manipulation and compulsive lying but as a couple, they work together well. They have each other's best interests at heart and that is what makes them endearing.
Noah can grate on your nerves but I can understand his irascibility. I mean, the poor boy was essentially abandoned by his father and left in a gilded cage where he is expected to put on a nice smile and be the front man for the family. Mara is trying to convince people that she is seeing someone that is legally dead. (I am forever grateful that there was no mention of The Sixth Sense in this book.) So we have a boy with abandonment issues and a girl that is reaching out for anybody to believe her. They connect and they help fill the sad emptiness in each other's lives. They believe in each other and it's easy to forget that they are only seventeen. Their desperation for a solution is real and Mara feels so helpless throughout the story. Pretty damn heartbreaking.
"I can't slay her dragon because I can't find him, so for now I stay close. It's not enough."
I'm going to be honest, the first half of this book was an utter drag. There was too much time spent on trying to figure things out without there being any significant action. It was designed to highlight Mara's growing frustration of being completely sane but being trapped in a situation where nobody believes her. (OMG, Cassandra? Is that you?) I can't imagine the anger that would build up over time where everybody around you is writing in notebooks and coloring and you are trying to figure out why you keep killing people.
I can't imagine. I'd lose my mind. Mara deals with it surprisingly well. I'd be in the bathroom puking up the pills they gave me and probably end up running naked through the streets yelling "THE END IS NEAR!" But no, Mara and Noah tackle things systematically and try to solve what the hell is going on. And that's what makes this book worth it.
“You will love him to ruins.”
I can overlook the trope of having a stunningly attractive British asshole for a male romantic lead. I can look over the overwritten journal entries and the dream sequences. I can even ignore the first half of the book where I was about to not finish my very first book in over a decade. The second part of this makes this story worth the read and I'm actually looking forward to the final installment in the trilogy.
“Boys are stupid and girls are trouble.”
Truer words were never spoken.”
The plot twists, the drama and the ending...it was wonderful. It was exciting and I was cheering for Mara and Noah. For a second there, I had actually started to believe that Mara was insane and she was imagining it all but I was proven gloriously wrong.
But, this book is still stuck at 3.5 stars for me. You have to charge through the first half in order to make up for the second. It gets better! I promise! Just suck it up and know that there is something really good to look forward to at the end.
Have y'all read this book/series? What did you think?