The Fever by Megan Abbott: Book Review

FictionThe Fever, Megan Abbott, Fiction
Released June, 2014
320 Pages
Bottom Line: Read it.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: eGalley provided by publisher via NetGalley

Plot Summary

When Deenie’s best friend, Lise, is struck by an unexplained fainting spell/seizure in the middle of class, Deenie’s family and entire high school community are thrown into the middle of the fear and hysteria associated with a strange and quickly spreading epidemic.

My Thoughts

The Fever was the only novel that I chose to read off the New York Times Summer Reading List and was also an Amazon Best Book of the Month for June. Stacey from The Novel Life best described it as “unputdownable” and I can’t come up with a better one word description. This was a book that kept me up late at night…I plowed through 3/4 of the book without taking a single note!

In The Fever, Abbott mixes a terrifying medical mystery with a YA-style story about teenage angst and drama. Following Lise’s collapse, girls at Deenie’s high school start dropping like flies putting the school and medical authorities in a race against time to figure out the cause. Abbott does a fantastic job of capturing the fear and hysteria of the unknown and the drama surrounding who could be next. I was dying to know what was causing these episodes, in much the same way that I was dying to know what was causing Susannah Cahalan’s downward spiral in Brain on Fire.

The teenage drama is a much lighter backdrop and gives this book a “beach read” feel to go along with the suspense provided by the medical mystery. It’s terrifying to think about what young girls are dealing with now in high school, which appears to be much different than the piddly little issues we dealt with at that age. A lot seems to have changed in the past 20 years!

The Fever also deals with the power of gossip, parental outrage, and the question of how well parents really know their children. As the hysteria of the fever envelopes Deenie’s school, everyone is talking about everyone else…and speculating about if girl X or Y’s bad behavior or mental problems could have anything to do with why she was afflicted. As the authorities try to piece together the mystery, the gossip flies…even amongst the adults, creating a “certainly not my child” attitude.

Interestingly, the inspiration (and many of the facts) for this book came from a real incident in the small town in LeRoy, NY (click here for details), which makes the medical mystery portion of The Fever even more intriguing!  

The Fever is a gripping page turner and is going on my 2014 Summer Reading List.

You May Also Like:

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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  1. Great review! I’m adding this to my wish list.

    Posted 7.1.14 Reply
  2. Moira wrote:

    Oh this does sound good: Megan Abbott is an author I’ve been meaning to try, and this sounds like the perfect way in.

    Posted 7.2.14 Reply
  3. In a weird way this almost sounds like The Crucible, with girls being “afflicted.” Thanks for reviewing this, I’ve been hoarding it from NetGalley and haven’t read it yet! Found you from Carole’s linky.

    Posted 7.2.14 Reply
  4. I have seen this book in so many places online.

    It sounds very good.

    THANKS for sharing.

    Stopping by from Carole’s Books You Loved July/August Edition. I am in the list as #43.

    My book entry is below.

    Silver’s Reviews
    My Book Entry

    Posted 7.9.14 Reply

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