Tuesday, June 24, 2014

NERC Review #25: The Fever by Megan Abbott

*I received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Honestly, I don't know quite know how to rate this book. On the one hand, I couldn't stop reading. On the other hand... I'm not even sure I liked the book. But something kept me from stopping or DNFing. The Fever was a very peculiar, very strange book with pretty unlikable characters and a mystery that wasn't creepy so much as disappointing.

Rating: 3 Stars!
I couldn't connect with the characters and was confused why the book needed three POVs. I kind of get why Eli had a narrative in the book, though he wasn't much more to me than a jock with a a popular status so huge he has girls jumping up and down to sleep with him. Girls so eager to send him pictures, come over in the middle of the night, and spread their legs for him. So, he's a womanizer with no warm feelings toward these girls? At least, that's how it felt to me. The way he talked about them was sort of detached. Even with Deenie. His only one true love is hockey.

Then you have Deenie's and Eli's father, Tom. A middle-aged divorcee who teaches at the high school. It shows his fears and worries as he navigates a world with teenagers who are no longer innocent and oblivious to the world's ugly truths and sometimes harsh reality while the threat of an epidemic looms over the town. But honestly, he creeped me out a few times when he described Deenie's friends. I think it might have just been the way Megan Abbott expressed it.

Then you have Deenie, the girl at the center of all of this. The one factor that all of these affected girls have in common. She's trying to figure out what's happening, because she feels like she's next. This book navigates Deenie's loss of innocence, hurt at Gabby's distance from her, the anger she has with her mother, and the fear that she'll become sick like her best friend, Lise. It explores Deenie and all of the good and bad of adolescence. But honestly, I could not connect with her. 

I liked how the story was told in triple POVs, but it felt disjointed. It skipped around so much that it kept me from forming a true connection with any of them. And they told the story in such a clinical way that I felt like I was listening to a lecture from a boring professor. One who reads in a monotone and is detached from the message. But I did love Megan Abbott's writing style, and I'd read another book of hers. 

The creep factor in this book wasn't because of the panic that spreads after a girl starts foaming at the mouth during class. It was in how the characters were portrayed. The overtly sexual story-line and the way the father and brother talked about Deenie and her friends. The book places a lot of emphasis on sex, the way the girls look, and the subtle slut shaming. It showed adolescence in all its forms; the good and the ugly. But I didn't see how a lot of it was pertinent to the story.

I was never truly bored while reading, because the mystery behind all of this kept me turning page after page. But seriously, I'm so damn disappointed with the truth. It was such a letdown. And that ending had zero resolution. It was like Oh, here's what's going on and bam, that's it! End of story! I don't think I even understand what the book was trying to accomplish.

I'm not quite sure how to feel about The Fever. I'm glad I read it, but this wasn't my cup of tea. 


  1. I haven't read this but did read her prior book, Dare Me. I also recall it being overtly sexual as you describe, which made me feel that the book was trying a little too hard to be all shocking and edgy. Still, I requested this at the library and will give it a try.

    Jen @ YA Romantics

    1. This was the first Megan Abbott book I've read, and I did enjoy her writing. But this wasn't nearly what I thought it would be.


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