Thursday, June 19, 2014

Review: The Fever by Megan Abbott (audio)

Title: The Fever   
Author: Megan Abbott      
Narrator: Caitlin Davies, Kirby Heyborne, & Joe Barrett  
Published: June 2014, Little, Brown & Company  
Length: 9 hours, 12 minutes  
Source: Publisher 

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).

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Megan Abbott and I was fortunate to have gotten an advanced copy of the audio version while at BEA this year. She was also there in person, autographing books, but since I hadn't read her before, and already had the audio, I skipped the print version (and the long line!!!). I had some trepidations about the book, being that I didn't know much about her writing and had been under the impression that she was a YA author - but, I was assured by some die-hard fans that I would enjoy this book and let me tell you, they were right!!!

Taking an idea from the headlines of the news, Megan Abbott explores the idea of mass hysteria and a pandemic sweeping through a small town. When one girl, who  is stricken with a seizure, panic ensues. Rumors start flying as to the cause, especially as there appears to be no reason for the seizure. Then it happens again. What is going on?

In today's age of social media, the news of the girls spreads like wild fire as does the speculation. What is causing the seizures? Is it the new vaccines all the girls are now required to get? Are there contaminants at the school? Is it the lake in the town? Panic ensues, not only from the teenagers but also from the parents. 

Told in alternating voices, we get the story from the perspective of one family - Tom, Eli and Deenie Nash. Tom is a teacher at the school where the girls attend and so we get that adult perspective throughout the book, which contrasts with the teenage mindset when either Eli or Deenie are narrating. It's chilling just how point-on Abbott is with the whole teenage thought process. Teenage girls can be so mean and she clearly portrays this without it feeling contrieved.

I enjoyed my first Megan Abbott book and am looking forward to picking up another. If you've read her other books, which ones would you suggest I read next?


Audio Thoughts: I enjoyed the audio production of this book. All three narrators are new to me, but did a great job with the story. They keep the story moving, adding tension when needed and brought the story to life. I'm glad that 3 different narrators were used, instead of just one. 


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4 comments

  1. Didn't I tell you that you would love it. ;)

    Go with Dare Me next, I think. Then The End of Everything. Megan's earlier books are much more in the Noir style, but are equally great. Just different than these latest three books.

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    1. Thanks for the suggestions, Kristopher! And thanks for telling me to read this one...I'm really glad I listened :-)

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  2. This is one I keep going from yes to no to yes on. I am pretty sure I should lean towards yes now

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  3. Terrific review, Kristin! I've read a few reviews of this book and they are all positive. It sounds like a good story!

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