Firstly, this book began with what I thought was just a girl dealing with major PTSD, hallucinations (after her friends are killed in the same building collapse that she, alone, survived) and a minor case of new-girl-gets-the-hunk.
On the one hand, there were a lot more questions left unanswered, but it's only the first volume...confirming the supernatural element certainly took awhile, but things took a darker more dirty turn. Hodkin doesn't shy from the possibility of Mara killing other people. It is the only real explanation you immediately think of; next to a stalker killing off anyone that visibly makes her angry (except clearly not the case with Anna being alive).
Where do I start with what I liked about this book? How about how neurotic Mara is? Or how she definitely cares about her reputation even if it's already in the shits? Or jealousies and friendships can drive people to do stupid things? Or even how incredibly witty the language and details are?
Hodkin actually managed to give me chills. Not only was I hysterical about dirty children's books, but I was also enthralled by the mystery and revelations of the memories of Mara Dyer.
And the twist ending flowed so nicely I practically had a heart attack. Brilliant. But srsly, someone call an ambulance.
I think what drives me up walls is that, like Justine Larbelestier's "Liar", I caught myself trusting the first person narrative as if it were true or flawless, when I know it's not. She admits it herself! In the end, you're questioning everything.
As I posted on my blog review for my "book on trial" series: "I sentence Michelle Hodkin to a life of tainting children’s classic stories, for my amusement. Because, hello, best job EVER."