This is definitely a difficult one. Actually, the most difficult. I didn't love this book, but I didn't hate it either. It's wonderful, and then again, it's terrible. I think the best word to describe it is 'frustrating'. I can't even begin to decide how many stars to grant it. Three stars seems just not right, whereas four is too much. I'd settle on 3,5 but since that's not possible, I'll round it up.
So, where to start. The prologue, the letter and the first chapter, are epic. There's just no other way to put it. And here comes my warning: don't let it fool you; it's by far the best part of the book.
In the beginning (including the description and the cover), it all screams myterious, creepy horror/psychological thriller. I for one had the impression that that was what the author had originally planned for this novel, to drive down all the way Suspense Street, yet veered off all too soon onto Romance Road. You see, there are some authors who manage both. Well, obviously not all can; I know Hodkin doesn't.
Basically, you can divide 'TUOMD' into three parts: the first one reminded me of 'Hush, Hush', the second one, where I simply sat thinking 'Twilight much?', and the third one was doright weird. The first part was definitely the best and although it clearly doesn't reach the quality of 'Hush, Hush', it has its own charm. As an introduction it certainly was decent enough. The mystery was mostly insinutaed, the atmosphere slightly off and the tension not really existent. The eerieness and creep factor may not be as pronounced as in 'Hush, hush', yet the romance totally resembles Nora and Patch's. Noah is the typical, aloof womanizer while Mara is the troubled girl who can't resist. If I'm honest the first few chapters (minus the first one and the letter) could have been taken from any other average Fantasy book.
The protagonist is new at the school where she meets an alluring stranger she is immediately drawn to and strange things start happening which cause her question her sanity. And the creep factor is minimal.
During the second part, the mystery almost falls away completely and the spotlight turns on Mara's and Noah's relationship, which goes from 'Hush, Hush' dark and swoon-worthy to all too sweet 'Twilight'. All that within three chapters. All I can say is, I was baffled. Instead of putting in more suspense and horror, the author goes for perfectly innocent, very unrealistic insta-love. WTH? I don't think I would have even minded that much if I would have at least expected it.
So, no mystery, a mostly copied romance, what about the last part of the book and the ending? Well, this is where things really start getting weird. And I don't mean the good kind of weird but the really weird, as in, it totally weirded me out. The 'solution' itself wasn't all that bad, although it doesn't answer all questions by a long shot, but the ending itself, which probably should have been dramatic, but turned out WEIRD, was way too rushed and not thought through.
Generally, I think this is one of the main problems (or flaws, if you will) of TUOMD. There is simply no structure, no plan. It's obvious that the author just sat down and wrote what she felt like writing at the moment. Which was romance most of the time, and not a very profound one, too. Unfortunately, she also needed a plot, which actually consists of a few hallucinations, the beginning and the end. Therefore, things just don't play out well alogether for TUOMD. There is a little bit of this, a little bit of that, but nothing of substance, nothing bringing along some suspense or even the hint of horror. And even the conclusion towards the end is nothing really new, but something you can figure out by the end of the first chapter.
The other thing that really bothered me is the empty promise. One look at it and everything screams 'eerie' and 'chilling', and not 'romance novel without content'. Its fake premise of being different or anything other than that stay fake. It's not creepy, and it hasn't got even the touch of horror, and neither the cover nor the book description match the cimax.
The characters weren't outstanding, but avrage. Fortunately, Mara wasn't one of those typical, dumb, naive heroines without edge. To be honest, I thinks she was the only thing I sort of liked about this book and it wasn't hard to sympathize with her. Moreover, her comments added some humor to the story and I loved her sharp tongue. Noah, however, was downright unlikeable. I still can't explain why, but he has this strange emptyness to his personality that totally puts me off. He seems too hollow to be scary and too elusive and slick to make one feel pity. I can't fathom why Mara would like like and not go runnign like hell. I know I would.
So, the question of questions: Do I recommend this book? Well, yes and no. There is really no reason to buy it, but also none to not read it.
My advice: If you're intrigued by by the idea of waking up without memory, read 'As I wake' by Elizabeth Scott. If you're intrigued by the complex romance and the chilling mystery read 'Nevermore' by Kelly Creagh. Both books handle the subject a whole lot better, and ýou actually won't find yourself wanting to throw the book against a wall. I promise.
Update, 26th of january 2012: I just re-read it, and sorry, but this doesn't deserve more than three stars under any circumstance. And by the way, Noah is the worst male protagonist ever.