Review: The Fever by Megan Abbott


Title: The Fever
Author: Megan Abbott
Pub. Date: June 2014
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


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

The Review

Every once in awhile, there’s a book that has a cover or a title that just says read me. The Fever was one of those books. The title caught my attention, the cover drew me closer, and the description reeled me in. I must admit that I think the paperback cover for The Fever makes much more sense in relation to the plot, however, but that’s neither here nor there.

When I first started reading it, it felt like it’d be a little slow but it kept my attention. For awhile, anyway. The description of the book made it sound much more . . . secrets and sins than it actually was. Yes, there were some secrets that everyone was keeping from one another but it wasn’t that intense and really just your average teenager-y type stuff.

The one thing that kind of irritated me about this book is the constant HPV vaccine controversy. I’m not anti-vaccine and I definitely agree that we should all be vaccinated* and as far as the HPV vaccine goes – I believe young girls (and boys, now) should be vaccinated if it can prevent cancers and other health risks. I remember when the vaccine became a “big thing,” and parents were in an uproar about getting their 9-11 girls vaccinated . . . thinking that it implied their daughters were sexually active, etc. However, the constant mentioning of it as “the cause” for what was happening to the young girls in the book just got under my skin.

Enough about that.

The Fever did drag on and I admit to skimming through some of the pages, only reading dialogue. It didn’t start getting interesting and semi-good until about half through. I was really interested in knowing what was happening to the girls, and what would happen to Deenie – if anything – since she was friends with the girls that everything was happening to.

I was expecting more to happen than how the ending actually played out. It wasn’t bad . . . the hype throughout just didn’t equate to the ending. At least on one hand, I didn’t really see it coming. I didn’t have any suspicions of what was to come other than the lake being the culprit for everything that was going on with the girls in Dryden. On the other hand, when it was revealed what really happened – I just kind of felt “oh, okay.”

Overall, it was a mediocre read but I will be looking into other titles by Megan Abbott since I’ve heard good things.

*This is my opinion, and I am not and will not debate this topic.


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