Noah Shaw is Coming: Recapping Mara Dyer (Book 1)


Hello everyone! As you absolutely have to be aware, Michelle Hodkin is blessing the masses with a companion series to Mara Dyer, all from the snarky and sexy POV of one of my favorite book boyfriends ever, Noah Shaw. The Becoming of Noah Shaw comes out November 7th, so it was about time I re-read the Mara Dyer trilogy to refresh on the happenings leading up to where Noah will begin.

I read Mara Dyer back in the summer of 2015 and completely fell in love with the series. However, there is a lot going on in these books and the unique plot just continues to pile onto itself as the story progresses, so it took about two seconds for me to realize that I had forgotten a bunch of what I was reading.

As I have the luxury of re-reading before Noah comes to sweep us all off our feet again, I decided to do a recap of each book for those who can’t. I’ll create a post as I read and publish each one when I finish with a book. Last night I finished book one, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and I am so ready to recap this for you.



Now let’s go!

  • Our story begins with a handwritten letter from “Mara Dyer” explaining that that is not her real name. She confesses to having a body count, but this letter is not addressed in this book at all. It’s also addressed for New York, this is also not a location in book one. I had completely forgotten about it by the end of the book, honestly.
  • Chapter one is a flashback to “Before” when Mara, Claire, and Rachel are playing with a Ouija board. Rachel asks the board how she is going to die and it spells M-A-R-A. CREEPY.
  • Mara then wakes up in a hospital, 6 months after said Ouija board incident. She freaks at the sight of needles, screams “get them out!”, punches a nurse, and is sedated. When she comes to again, her mother and father have to explain to Mara that she was in an accident. Claire, Jude, and Rachel died in the collapse of The Tamerlane Asylum, while Mara survived. She can’t remember a damn thing yet.
  • Mara has PTSD from the accident and her mother wants to send her away to get help. She suggests moving instead. Goodbye Rhode Island, hello Miami.
  • Eight weeks have passed since Rachel’s funeral and Mara is about to start her first day at Croyden. We quickly see she has some serious anxiety issues (same, girl, same). She’s late for school, stops at a vending machine and meets the most infuriatingly sexy dude alive (oh heyyy Noah), and the bitchiest duo to walk the halls of Croyden (go float yourselves, Anna and Aiden).
  • When she walks into her first class she hallucinates that her classroom is collapsing around her, falls, busts her face on the ground, goes to bathroom, and hallucinates some more. Worst. First. Day. Ever.
  • On a brighter note, she meets a new friend Jamie, who gives her the rundown of Croyden hell.
  • Day two of school begins with the beauty of Noah Shaw and we quickly see that these two have chemistry in the form of witty, snarky banter. God, I love it.
  • Noah flirts his ass off, Jamie warns against the triumphs of Noah Shaw and the entirety of the female Croyden population (including Anna, who is becoming quite the Queen Bitch).
  • That night Mara has her first memory. It’s the middle of the night and Jude is at her window, waking her up to go to the asylum to meet Claire and Rachel. This was how she got to The Tamerlane that night.
  • The next day shit goes down. Mara gets to school early and takes a walk. She sees a tied up dog in the yard, emaciated and on the verge of death. The owner shows up and is a total asshole. Mara gets pissed and as she’s walking away she imagines him laying on the ground, head busted open, dead. She resolves to call animal services and books it to class.
  • When she comes back to see if the dog had been taken, she seems way more than that. The owner is laying on the ground, head busted open, dead. Mara spazzes, logically, and then steals the dog from the crime scene. Niiiiccceeee.
  • Noah finds her, takes her and newly dubbed Mabel to the vet (his mom) then takes her back to her car.
  • That night she remembers more of the asylum. Basically just arriving, meeting Rachel and Claire, Claire being a butthead to her, and them starting to make their way in.
  • Noah wasn’t at school the next day so Mara spent the entirety of English drawing his likeness (because who wouldn’t?). Noah shows up after class, Jamie throws some more warnings her way (okay, we get it, he’s a sex-fiend and a tool), and then Noah spends lunch with Mara until she tries to get away from him but he follows her into the girls’ bathroom. Okay, that’s a little bit over the top, maybe a little toolish, but Mara is quietly on board with it and so am I.
  • When Mara arrives home there are news vans leaving. Her dad is defending a guy on trial for killing a young girl.
  • Mara decides she is going to a costume party that night with her older brother, Daniel. She gets all dolled up, sees Noah talking and laughing with a girl and goes home. She then draws a hot af bath, thinks she loses her mom’s earring in the bottom, sits with her arm in the water for like an hour and has to be taken to the hospital for second degree burns.
  • Mara has to go see a therapist, Dr. Maillard, who wants to keep seeing her and prescribes her antipsychotics.
  • At school Noah asks her out and dumbass turns him down. Then she gets a creepy note from someone saying they have her sketchbook (I’ll give you one guess whoooo). Anna attempts to embarrass her in front of everyone by showing Noah and the world her sketches of him. He, of course, saves her by calling her “my girl” and the whole world swoons.
  • Noah doesn’t want to pretend they’re dating just to save face, he wants the real deal because he’s perfect. He takes Mara out, goes to see Mabel who is freaking out around her (that’s weird), then Noah surprises her with a special date to a yet-to-be-opened art exhibit. All is well until hello, hallucinations and she passes out.
  • She remembers more from the night of the accident. The four of them creep up to the upper levels of the asylum, she talks about how a boy got trapped and died in one of the patient rooms because he messed with the pulley system on the doors, and Jude won’t back the eff off of her.
  • She comes to as Noah takes care of her (perfect, remember?) and she finds out Daniel spilled the beans about what had happened to her to Noah. She says she’s broke and NOAH SAYS HE WANTS TO FIX HER.
  • Noah picks her up for school the next day, everyone gawks and girls are pissed, guys make comments about wanting to “tap that” (that being Mara) and Noah punches a dude in the face and gets suspended. Macho.
  • Exam time! Mara kicks ass (thanks partially to Jamie who was tutoring her in Spanish and Algebra. Thanks Jamie!) But then of course good things can’t last. Morales, the Spanish teacher who has a hatred for Mara, tests Mara on a subject that wasn’t on the study guide list for her oral exam. But lo’ and behold, Mara knows this from her old school. She answers, then keeps answering, and keeps answering despite Morales telling her to sit down. Morales kicks her out of the class. But don’t worry, Jamie recorded her oral exam just in case.
  • BUT again nothing good can last. Anna and Aiden get Jamie expelled, Aiden threatens Mara, and Noah goes bat shit crazy on his ass.
  • Mara gets her grades back and SURPRISE, she failed Spanish. The next day she makes an appointment with the principle and tells him she aced it and there is evidence to prove it. WHY CAN’T THIS BE EASY?! Morales told him she cheated and there’s no hope in a grade change. Mara is pissed and imagines Morales choking on her tongue and dying. Guess what happens next…
  • Morales chokes on her tongue and dies.
  • That night Noah knocks on Mara’s window a la Jude pre-accident. Except he isn’t there to carry her away to an asylum. Her younger brother, Joseph, is missing. And Noah is the only one to know this.
  • They race off to a location Noah just happens to know in the swamp. They wade through alligator infested waters, but what good would Mara be if she couldn’t handle like seven alligators. Spoiler alert: she annihilates them. Then they find Joseph knocked out in a shed, take him, and book it. On the way home he wakes up and they tell him some lie about falling in a ditch.
  • After passing out from her rescue mission, Mara recovers more of her memory from the night of the accident. She’s with Jude in one of the patient rooms and, long story short, he gets borderline rapey. Mara, understandably, is very upset, and the last thing she remembers is all of the patient doors slamming.
  • The next day it’s Mara’s seventeenth birthday (happy bday, girl) and Joseph and Noah are both acting like nothing happened. So of course Mara believes she hallucinated the entire thing.
  • While Noah is attempting to treat my girl to a birthday meal, she sees a flier for a seminar called “Unlocking the Secrets of Your Mind and of Your Past” and decides that’s the place to be.
  • Noah goes with her (of course) and drops a buttload of cash (okay, sugar daddy) to get the “high priest” to help her recover her memories, despite him acting completely strange towards Mara. He sacrifices some animal and Mara drinks a “concoction” (we all know it’s blood) and passes out.
  • She wakes up naked in Noah’s bed (goals) and Noah details her drunken stupor of jumping in the pool and mothering animal crackers. She puts the moves on him and as they get hot and heavy Noah starts to die…yeah, I know, but bear with me…and then she slaps him across the face to which he wakes up proclaiming he had an amazing (read “sexy”) dream and said they never kissed. WTF?? I still don’t know. But Mara begins to feel the weight of what she has found she’s capable of, and is falling into a serious black hole of despair.
  • The next couple days, Mara secludes herself to her room. Noah visits after a couple days and Mara ends up telling him everything. His reaction is less WTF than she expected. Noah’s turn to confess. He has seen, premonition style, Mara before they even met. Basically, dude can heal people, dude can see people in trouble, and dude can hear people, like their heart beat and pulse. This is also how he knew about Joseph, by seeing a premonition of him in the shed.
  • The next day Noah and Mara attempt to visit the high priest again but the address to the shop is completely gone…which isn’t sketchy or anything. So they decide to hit up the insect exhibit after hours at the zoo and test Mara’s abilities. They worked..too well…and killed the entire exhibit.
  • Mara goes back into her hell hole of a mind and tries to push Noah away. He says hell no and thank the Lord the chapter doesn’t end with a breakup because I can’t even.
  • The next day Noah shows up at Mara’s and said he’s pretty sure the guy her dad is defending for murder is the one who took Joseph. They try to get to her dad before the jury was out but it was too late, Lassiter is free. Plan B: kill the bastard.
  • Noah does what he can to talk Mara down but as her father and Lassiter come outside, Mara begins to mentally prepare to shoot him.
  • Before she can however, the girl’s mother starts firing a gun. Mara’s dad gets hit. He’s taken to the hospital but Noah’s super healing power stopped the bleeding enough that he would be fine.
  • Mara can’t take it anymore and she leaves the hospital to go to the police station to turn herself in (for like murdering people without lifting a finger…that should go well). But before she can even get that far, in walks Jude. JUDE. Not dead Jude, crushed to death beneath a building for near raping Mara. No, LIVE JUDE who somehow managed to not get crushed to death beneath a building for near raping Mara. AND THAT’S WHERE THE DAMN THING ENDS.

    Okay, that was a lot of info, but it’s important to jog your memory before we can fully turn our attention to the holiness that is Noah Shaw in a couple weeks. I’ll be getting a review up of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer tomorrow, for those who want to hear about it without the spoilings. Let me know if I missed anything of importance and check back in a couple days for a recap of The Evolution of Mara Dyer.


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