Review: The Fever by Megan Abbot

The Fever: A Novel

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Synopsis from Good Reads:

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 Abbot’s reputation as “one of the most exciting and original voices of her generation.”

*The Fever is available June 17, 2014.*

PLOT

On the surface, this story poses as a medical mystery/thriller. A young, beautiful girl suddenly becomes very, unexplainably ill. Several similar outbreaks follow. Is it the fault of mandatory vaccines? Is it the dangerously polluted lake? Is it the something environmental in the school? Something the police are investigating?

The real answer isn’t as surprising as you’re probably hoping for – once you realize this is not a mystery or a thriller, but a commentary on being a teenage girl, being confused by teenage girls, and raising a teenage girl.

You could not pay me enough to go back to high school. While my high school experience was not very similar to our main characters in this book, there were still a lot of familiar settings and feelings. I feel this part of the book was done well – showing the insecurity, uncertainty that is teenage life, but also from a teacher’s point of view, a parent’s point of view.

What didn’t quite work was the red herring through most of the book. It was a lot of build up for nothing and was a little disappointing. I feel like if this was marketed for the story it really was, I wouldn’t have been disappointed in it.

CHARACTERS

The story is told in third person POV and we get the view points of 16-year-old Deenie, her brother Eli, and their father Tom. I felt like Deenie and Tom were both very well developed and likable characters. While he was likable, too, I felt like Eli could have been a little more developed. In some ways he was a typical teenage boy, but there was more to him and I didn’t always understand his motives. While I liked his relationship with his sister, there were almost times where I thought the story was going to veer off into an incest subplot and I’m very glad it didn’t go there.

There were several minor characters, Deenie’s friends and their parents, that were interesting and odd and I wish we would’ve gotten more of some of them. But I like how the focus stayed on the Nash family and their reactions to everyone else.

READABILITY

While the story jumped around a lot, I felt it was done well here. Enough time was spent with each person or event and if it wasn’t, it only left me more anxious for the next part. It was a pretty fast read. While I’ve been struggling to finish another book for days, I picked this one up this morning and finished it the same day.

ENJOYABILITY

I enjoyed The Fever, though I didn’t feel it quite lived up to my expectations. I was ready for a mystery or a thriller and it’s not exactly what I got, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 3
Characters: 4
Readability: 4
Enjoyability: 3.5
Overall Average: 3.625 stars

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4 thoughts on “Review: The Fever by Megan Abbot

  1. Great review! It’s always a shame when a book doesn’t live up to the genre it’s placed in. I’m glad you did enjoy it though.

  2. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Top Authors I’ve Only Read One Book From But NEED to read more | Stephanie's Book Reviews

  3. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Books For Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels | Stephanie's Book Reviews

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