I don't know how many people are responsible for this, but someone—author Michelle Hodkin, publisher Simon & Schuster, all those magic elves that make books happen—is doing things right with "The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer" (out next Tuesday, September 27). First of all, that title blows me away. "Unbecoming" sounds both like someone unraveling and like a teenage girl behaving unladylike, making you all the more curious about who this Mara Dyer person is. Then there's the cover, a girl being embraced by a boy from behind, both underwater up to their eyes and photographed in dark sepia tones that bring a mood of melancholy and mystery. Is he rescuing her? Holding her down? Desperately hanging on? (Also, I love that you can't see their actual faces. Hate when covers have some model's face that then dominates my imagination when I try to picture the characters myself.)
And then, we come to the book trailer, a medium that frankly, I think is still hit-or-miss. This one is a mega-hit. And mega-HOT. "Even Stevens" vet Christy Carlson Romano does the voice-over, which is actually the letter that opens the story, as the scenes unfold, mostly in black and white. The narrator, who claims that Mara Dyer is not her real name, tells us that "a 17-year-old who likes Death Cab for Cutie was responsible for the murders," and "somewhere out there is a B student with a body count." Those words lend a creepy air to the quickly cut scenes of three girls using a Ouija board, a news ticker reporting on the death of three teens in a building collapse, a storm, Mara walking alone at night by an old building, a car heading straight for the camera and the very sexy make out session between Mara and a shirtless, broody and delicious boy. And the song that plays over it all, bringing a sense of urgency, is a driving, crescendoing rock song—not by Death Cab but by singer/songwriter Kelli Schaefer.
And having just dropped everything to devour "Mara Dyer" in a matter of hours, I can tell you that the book lives up to the trailer's promise and then some. It's the story of a girl trying to piece together what happened the night she, her best friend, her boyfriend and his sister spent the night in an abandoned asylum and only she survived, unscathed but traumatized. And it's the story of a girl trying to start over again after her family picks up and moves to Miami, all for her sake. And it's the story of a girl falling in love with the super-cool British bad boy with a rep for breaking hearts. Be careful, 'cause you'll fall right along with her. Your only solace: The sequel is due out in the fall of 2012.
What do you think of "The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer" trailer? Will you be picking up a copy of the novel next week? Sound off in the comments and on Twitter!