Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Fever by Megan Abbott

My Thoughts

There are great elements in this book, but ultimately it did not resonate with me. 

I guess I’ve just reached my teenage angst appreciation limit. 

I also found the way social media is used to obliterate the souls of young people disturbing. From the moment the students began filming the girls as their little bodies writhed with seizures, I started projecting into their future and empathising with how violated they would be by those videos being placed on youtube.  I can’t fault Megan Abbott for her portrayal of this; realistic, stark and as uncompromising as any teenager relishing the misfortune of others can be. I don’t understand why this bothers me so much? My childhood was fairly problem free and still I fret for kids today in this boundary-less multi-platformed world.

The writing though solid, tended towards some wordy and often weird turns of phrases… I’ll leave you to find them. I couldn’t decide if this was strategic; to add a supernatural depth to scenes involving the funky lake phenomena? Or perhaps in this regard the author tried too hard?

I valued the apparent awkwardness of the teenagers as they searched for answers, speculated on the illness, fearing they’d be next while going about their lives, self involved, exploring sex and dripping with their own gossipy venom.

I enjoyed the the eerie moments that kept the pages turning. I felt both desperate and frustrated. Desperate to learn why the girls began succumbing to such mysterious symptoms and frustrated the time taken to get to the heart of the matter. Megan Abbott is quite adept at leaving the reader guessing through what I like to call trail confusing tidbits, but this was overdone.

I would have preferred a different ending; something more satisfying and cohesive than the mundane explanation given. There are many unanswered questions, which should be addressed. 

My Rating



I obtained an ARC from the publisher (via Netgalley) with a view to providing an honest review. The thoughts expressed above, are entirely my own. I don’t like the concept of rating novels as they are subjective to the moment. A five star book today, may be re-evaluated when compared to future novels.

The Summary

The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community. 

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security. 

A chilling story about guilt, family secrets and the lethal power of desire, THE FEVER affirms Megan Abbott's reputation as "one of the most exciting and original voices of her generation.”*

*Laura Lippman

About Megan Abbott

Megan Abbott is the Edgar® award-winning author of the novels The End of Everything Queenpin, The Song Is You, Die a Little, Bury Me Deep and her latest, Dare Me (July 2012).

Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Believer, Los Angeles Review of Books, Detroit Noir, Best Crime and Mystery Stories of the Year, Storyglossia, Queens Noir and The Speed Chronicles. 

Born in the Detroit area, she graduated from the University of Michigan and received her Ph.D. from New York University. She has taught at NYU, the State University of New York and the New School University.

She is also the author of a nonfiction book, The Street Was Mine: White Masculinity in Hardboiled Fiction and Film Noir, and the editor of A Hell of a Woman, an anthology of female crime fiction. She has been nominated for many awards, including three Edgar® Awards, Hammett Prize, the Macavity, Anthony and Barry Awards, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Pushcart Prize. 

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