- Written By: Megan Abbott
- Published By: Little Brown and Company an imprint of Hachette June 17, 2014
- Length: 320 pages
- Source: E galley via Net Galley, thanks to publisher!
A teen girl suffers a seizure at school. Then another one does. Then another.
The Nash family is close. Tom is a popular teacher, a father to two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability 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 builds, a series of tightly held secrets emerge, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town’s fragile idea of security.
My Thoughts: The core of this book is fear, and hysteria. One girl, who appears healthy and very outgoing in every other way has a seizure, witnessed by many students. Students who were shocked and gossipy. As a teacher and also a parent Tom Nash is trying to keep everything in perspective, and keep rumors to a minimum. Tom is not very good at this. When other girls begin to have similar symptoms, the real fright begins. What’s causing this? Is it in the air, the water, the school? What do these girls have in common. Two theories immediately begin to circulate. There is a contaminated lake in the middle of town, have the girls been there. Naturally the girls know this answer. Few things in life are more fun than what is not allowed. The second theory arouses more hysteria, as all the female students were required to be vaccinated with the HPV vaccine. As it’s still new and has unclear long term side effects. Will more girls begin having seizures?
Megan Abbott writes about teen girls as if she is inside their heads, detailing their thoughts and actions in uncannily correct ways. Deenie, Lise and Gabby are very good friends. They also share jealousies when one seems closer to another etc. Their home lives are damaged by divorce and violence and like most teen girls they long for affection and love, or what they think is love.
There is a lot of sex going on in The Fever, and quite honestly that’s going on in most teen circles too. The boys brag about sex, the girls share their own experiences in more guarded circles but they gossip too. Abbott shows this very intimate act in the way that some teens perceive it, for boys as a conquest, for girls as a way to barter affection. There is also sure to be jealousy going on when others want what the “it” girl or boy has.
It’s difficult to review The Fever and also not give too much away. They parental hysteria that is shown is very real and the hype about vaccines it’s a wonderful and timely twist in today’s world. I like how Abbott brought this controversy into the book, certainly a diversion I didn’t see coming.
I was able to ask Megan one question
Q: You write so honestly about teen girls, their insecurities and immature actions, how do you manage to get into their minds so well?
Thank you! I don’t know if I’ve ever truly left the teenage girl in me behind (maybe none of us do), so I’m surprised how easily it comes flooding back. Teens today face all kinds of challenges I never did (including everything that comes with social media), but there are also many constants to adolescence. Dealing with curiosity, disillusionment, longing, change—that’s always going to be a part of being a teenager.
I often say I’m happy I was young before the age of Facebook etc. Megan Abbott is one of the best at writing books with teen characters and psychological twists. The story has just enough going on to keep the reader unbalanced and not sure where it will lead. The adult and teen characters are realistic and flawed. Highly highly recommend.
Thanks to Little Brown I have one copy of The Fever to giveaway. It’s open to both US and Canadian addresses and all you need to do is fill out the form below. Enter before midnight Sunday June 22, 2014. Winner will be chosen by Random.org. Comments are loved, but won’t enter you to win!!
Please check out The Fever Blog Tour Tumbler Page
This giveaway is closed, congratulations to Anne Berger.