The Fever by Megan Abbott

The FeverThe Fever by Megan Abbott

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Fever by Megan Abbott

I’m glad that I waited and didn’t review this right away. If I did, this would have been easy 1 or 2 stars. I was really disappointed after reading The Fever, especially because I liked Dare Me and was really excited for this. Thankfully, life got in the way of writing the review. And by life, I mean sleeping because it was late and I was really tired.

Now that it’s been awhile, I can look back on the book and realize that it wasn’t as bad as I originally thought and that the ending, while lacklustre, made sense. Not only did it make sense, but it fits the overall theme of this novel. I still don’t like it, but I don’t hate it as much as I originally did.

The Fever is about the Nash family as they deal with the sudden and unexpected panic that arise once a girl falls down in class and has a seizure. No one knows what happened or what caused the seizures, but soon enough other girls start falling and the kids, the school, and the media are freaking out.

And boy did they freak out.

After two girls fall, it’s no surprise that conspiracy theories soon follow. Is it due to pregnancy? A weird new form of a STD? The lake has some crazy algae in it, maybe it’s causing the girls to freak out? Maybe it’s the HPV vaccine?

In the end, the cause for the first girl’s bought of seizures was actually something so small that it’s almost laughable at how the town and media reacted to it. The first girl who falls is Lise, who is popular at school. The second one that falls is Gabby, who is also popular. When this happens, it makes sense for people to start to want to mimic the symptoms. This will be the best way to be popular, if you will.

People want to make sense of what is happening, but at the same time they want to be a part of the hysteria that is coming down. And Abbott does a great job with the hysteria and the reaction from everyone else. Like I said before, when you find out the reason why everything started, it’s something so small that you wonder why people did that even though you know the reasons behind it.

A small act can have huge consequences and I think this book definitely showcased that.

That didn’t mean that when I found out I was all like, “Oh Megan Abbott, you clever author you.” No, I wanted to throw the book across the room and ask myself why I spent all that time reading, when the payoff was so blah.

But then again, a small stupid act with stupid reasons behind it can cause people to do stupid things. Sadly, that’s just life, and when you pair it up with high school then fun things happen.

In terms of the characters, I didn’t really connect with any of them. In Dare Me, Abbott did a great job creating a world of unlikeable characters that felt real. I think Dare Me was the first book I read where I didn’t like any of the characters, but still really enjoyed the story. The writing was top notch there too, which is why I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t feel anything towards the characters here and that I was a bit bored throughout the novel.

Overall: The Fever isn’t a bad book by any means, but if you are looking for a thriller, horror, expose into teenagers – you won’t really find it here. I did keep reading it till the end, so the writing is good and flows well, but the characters were a bit bland and the overall story isn’t one that I can recommend. It’s not bad though, at least not as bad as I originally thought. I just wish there wasn’t so many red herrings and that more time was spent on the actual reason behind everything. Because once you finally get to it, it does feel like it comes out of nowhere and after everything that has happened, it’s a bit annoying. Perhaps if we learned more about the reason or got hints here and there, that would have worked better for me.

I still like Abbott’s writing style, so I’ll be reading her next book, I just hope it’s more like Dare Me and less of The Fever.

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2 thoughts on “The Fever by Megan Abbott

  1. I love Megan Abbott’s style of writing too. There’s been case studies supporting the neurophysiologic and a psychological causes for hysteria, which I thought Abbott did fairly well to an extent (I really wished the story hadn’t been limited to only the Nash’s family POV though. I thought in some ways it hindered the story). And I agree with you. The media exaggerated the situation and twisted into something larger (critique on our society, perhaps.) Then again, I can also see this happening as we become increasingly health conscious and concerned about bio terrorism (the recent Ebola coverage is probably the most immediate example.) You definitely bring up a really good point out about the reason coming out of nowhere. It didn’t seem like a natural progression. I mean, I had my suspicions, and I sort of guessed that it wasn’t going to be anything anyone had theorized. The only one who could have shed any light on it was Deenie, but she was too self-involved to really see the people for who they were. Nice review and thanks for the link up.

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