What: The Becoming of Noah Shaw (The Shaw Confessions #1) by Michelle Hodkin
Who: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
When: November 7th 2017
How: A copy of this novel was provided by Simon & Schuster for review via Edelweiss.
In the first book of the Shaw Confessions, the companion series to the New York Times bestselling Mara Dyer novels, old skeletons are laid bare and new promises prove deadly. This is what happens after happily ever after.
Everyone thinks seventeen-year-old Noah Shaw has the world on a string.
Mara Dyer is the only one he trusts with his secrets and his future.
And both are scared that uncovering the truth about themselves will force them apart.
You know that scene in Love Actually where Rick Grimes (IDK what his character’s name in LA is so just bear with me) holds up the sign that says “to me you are perfect”? I think you all do, or if not WATCH LOVE ACTUALLY, DAMMIT. Anyway, in the Mara Dyer trilogy, the person holding up the “to me you are perfect” sign is me, and I am showing the sign to Noah Shaw. Because, to me, Noah Shaw is perfect.
Which is why, even though I was a little wary at the announcement of a companion series to the Mara Dyer trilogy, I decided to read it. Because a) more perfection in the shape of Noah Shaw, and b) it was told from said perfection’s POV.
I am going to pretend I never read The Becoming of Noah Shaw. Why, you may ask? Well, here are some reasons:
1) Noah was Different
He was no longer my boy of perfection. His love for Mara was not as undying and accepting and beautiful as it had been in the Mara Dyer books. In fact 50% of the time was just them having sex, and the other 50% of the time was Noah being annoyed with Mara and doubting her. I mourned the Noah Shaw of the first three books. I truly did.
2) There was no plot
In all honesty, there really wasn’t. I am all for slow moving books, in fact most of the time I prefer them. But there’s a difference between slow moving and completely stagnant. There were events, sure, but they didn’t move the plot forward in any kind of way. Most of the book was Noah’s introspection, Noah thinking about shit we already know Noah thinks about, and Noah being annoyed with or having sex with Mara. Yeah, I need a little bit more from a story, thanks.
3) Random new characters
Now I know that every new series will have new characters. But the addition of Noah’s childhood/teen friend Goose was… completely a plot device. Noah didn’t even speak to him most of the time, and when Goose became important I just felt like he’d been inserted in so that the true main characters could do things they couldn’t do beforehand. There were also other boring filler characters that didn’t give any important information or add to the story whatsoever.
4) Offensive things
I read the ARC version so I’m really hoping that the distasteful and inappropriate ‘jokes’ and remarks were removed from the final copy. I know that the Mara Dyer books are somewhat special because of their darkness, openness, and frankness. But there’s a difference between that and describing someone as looking like a paedophile (which is something I actually read in this book). That shit is just gross and I don’t think it’s funny or entertaining.
I didn’t have many feelings on Stella in the original trilogy. She was neither a character I cared for nor disliked. But in The Becoming of Noah Shaw I disliked her. Sure, she was wary of Mara in Retribution but that hit a whole new level in this book. A whole new level that I wasn’t quite on board with in terms of its believability.
6) The ending
Which did not surprise me or leave me on a cliffhanger. The bit before the end just pissed me off because why did I read the Mara Dyer trilogy for this to fucking happen? And the actual ending was one I had predicted from the very first Mara Dyer book, so its impact was completely lost on me.
All in all, I didn’t like The Becoming of Noah Shaw. It took my perfection away from me. I’m not entirely sure if I’ll read the next two books in the series. I probably will, just to get to the end and hope that everything that was taken away from me will be given back. I don’t know if I can recommend this to fans of the Mara Dyer books because I know some people loved it but I really didn’t. I think this is an instance you have to decide for yourself whether you want to risk it.
© 2017, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.
trigger warning: multiple graphic suicides, suicide attempts, suicidal ideation, self harm, use of ableist language, reference to torture, reference to sexual assault/attempted rape, reference to domestic violence, death of father (murder), death of mother (murder), reference to unlawful experiments, reference to multiple murders (graphic), death, and death themes in this novel