Book Review | The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Sequels. You love them or you hate them and typically, there’s no middle ground. This sequel is definitely a middle of the road novel and I wanted to talk through some feelings I have about it today.

Mara Dyer is in the running with Emma Carstairs for most infuriating females leads, in my opinion. Let’s talk about it!

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Mara Dyer knows she isn’t crazy. She knows that she can kill with her mind, and that Noah can heal with his. Mara also knows that somehow, Jude is not a hallucination. He is alive. Unfortunately, convincing her family and doctors that she’s not unstable and doesn’t need to be hospitalised isn’t easy. The only person who actually believes her is Noah. But being with Noah is dangerous and Mara is in constant fear that she might hurt him. She needs to learn how to control her power, and fast! Together, Mara and Noah must try and figure out exactly how Jude survived when the asylum collapsed, and how he knows so much about her strange ability…before anyone else ends up dead!

The Flashbacks?

The first thing I wanted to talk about today in regards to this book is the flashbacks. I understand the Ms. Hodkin is working on world-building with these, but it was hard for me to be on board with them because it’s explained away as “genetic memory” and there’s not really a clear explanation as to what exactly this is. I’m of average intelligence, but I wasn’t having this explanation. It felt… really made up, almost like the author was grasping at straws to explain why Mara was having these weird flashbacks. I thought they were interesting, but I wanted more of an explanation. I understand there is another whole book in Mara’s story so I’m sure it’s explained further in there, but the explanation in this book fell short for me.

The Jude of it all

I don’t know how to feel about Jude’s role in this book. Obviously he’s alive, but I didn’t think he was the sole terrorizer of Mara. He had to have been getting help from someone and I definitely saw it coming with who was helping him out. Phoebe didn’t seem to fit the bill as anything more than an assistant in Jude’s plan – or maybe an expendable resource is the better way to describe her. I didn’t like her character at all (no surprise) but I did feel bad about her really unrequited situation. Seriously, people complain about Noah being awful, but when we consider how damn atrocious Jude is… I don’t get this!

Essentially, I hate Jude and I hate that he played such a big role in this book. I guess he’s a good villain, but still!

Noah + Self Harm + Relationships

I firmly believe there is no good way to cover self harm. Noah harming himself just because he could was not a good look, like, at all. I hated this aspect of the story and I hated how adamant he was about Mara not being able to hurt him when CLEARLY she could. The relationship in this novel was entirely too frustrating for me – it’s like “Oh hi, my name is Mara and this is my boyfriend who I never kiss because I might kill him”. It felt too angsty for my adult self and so, yeah, I have some complaints about it. I wanted to scream at them to cut the crap and figure their life out already. It was insanely frustrating. And very Edward (Twilight) esque. (Re: “I could kill you” “That’s okay. I don’t mind”).


There are two distinct redeemers of this novel. One:  Jamie. I don’t care what anyone says, I love him. I love his friendship with Mara. I was sad to see him go in the first book and SO happy to see him return for this one. It felt gross that Mara only had Noah and her family as allies so I  was happy Ms. Hodkin brought Jamie back. Two: Daniel. The sweetness of his speech to Mara KILLED ME. I cried. I love his big-brotherness and it makes me want my own big brother.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

It was almost as good as the first.

General Thoughts

Okay, okay. I didn’t love this as much as the first book, but I still thought it was good enough to continue the trilogy. I’m invested in the past that Mara’s experiencing and I want to know more about WHY she’s having these visions.

Let’s chat!

Are you a fan of flashbacks or visions in books? Why? Do you have a favorite book that encompasses these elements? Let me know in the comments!

Book Reviews From My Library

Brittany Andrade View All →

lover of literature. librarian in training.

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