Thursday, June 05, 2014

Review & Giveaway: The Fever by Megan Abbott

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I received this book for free from Little Brown and Company in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review & Giveaway: The Fever by Megan AbbottThe Fever by Megan Abbott
Published by Little Brown and Company on June 17th 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Source: Little Brown and Company
Buy on Amazon

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).

Upon finishing The Fever I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it and to be honest I still don’t really know.  Usually when I write a review I go into having a general idea of what I want to say and I already have a good idea of what my rating will be.  Going into writing this review I am hoping that it will provide me with some clarity when it comes to my thoughts on the novel.

At the heart of my… indifference for the novel is the way in which it is told.  It’s a split POV tale that is told in the third person.  I always struggle when it comes to stories told in the third person, let alone when we have three different POVs in that vein.  I think that is why I felt very disconnected to The Fever.  I like novels that pull me into the world and make me feel like I am living everything that is going on and as if I am part of it all.  While reading Abbott’s story I felt very much like an outsider looking in.  I never felt the fear that the characters were feeling like I would have liked to, though I was enamoured in the mystery of it all. I was so unsure of what was happening to all the girls in the school because there were so many possibilities brought up.  Was it the result of a bad batch of HPV vaccines, or the murky/haunted lake water or did it have to do with sexual encounters that they had? All of these scenarios ran through my head and seemed perfectly plausible in the scope of the novel.  Things do take a drastic turn in the end which did manage to surprise me in a way that I hadn’t expected.

The three perspectives that we get here are of the members of the Nash family, Deenie, Eli and their father Tom.  The one thing that this split served well was its ability to show us what was happening from very different vantage points.  Deenie was best friends with patient zero, Lise and she is “in” with the girls that seem to be dropping like flies.  Eli is her older brother and he knows the girls in a different way, some he has had sexual encounters with and some have lusted for him from afar.  Lastly, with Tom, we see what’s going on in the teacher’s lounge and how the faculty & parents are dealing with this sudden illness that is going around.  I did like being able to gather information from 3 very different pools of people, it was like with every POV switch I was seeing things in an entirely different light.  One thing that remained a major theme in all 3 POVs was a pretty strong focus on female sexuality.  Deenie is just beginning to come into her sexuality, Eli is struggling with the part that he plays in young girls experimenting and even Tom notices things that he probably shouldn’t about the young girls that he sees.  Even though it was done in a very odd way, I think the novel had a very unique way of looking at and handling this subject and it left me with some pretty wild theories as to what was going on.

In the end I was left underwhelmed by the culmination of everything. As the reader I didn’t feel like I got all of the answers that I wanted and sometimes that can be a good thing but I think everything was left a little too open here.  Talking to a friend right after I read it we did come out of it with some pretty different interpretations of what happened (mine being admittedly much more far fetched than theirs.) So I guess the story lends to some good conversation to be had possibly making it a really good read for a book club.  I would say this book would be good for anyone looking for an engrossing mystery that also weaves in a unique perspective on what it is to be a girl in high school who is just coming into her sexuality.

3 Hot Espressos



Tandem Literary has generously offered a print copy of The Fever by Megan Abbott for giveaway.

  • Open to US addresses ONLY
  • Giveaway ends June 26th, 2014
  • Full contest terms and conditions found on Rafflecopter

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14 Responses to “Review & Giveaway: The Fever by Megan Abbott”

  1. Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    Is this a stand alone? If so, then I can absolutely understand your disappointment by the lack of resolution. I recently read a series finale where that was the case too. URGH I need answers, ya know?

  2. Christianna

    I have never even heard of this one. It sounds like it would be a really interesting read and I’m wondering how I would feel about it in the end. I joined the giveaway so hopefully I get to find out soon! *goes to look on the library site ad backup*

  3. techeditor

    Too bad I don’t tweet. 🙁

    Megan Abbott is a local author to me, and I haven’t read her books yet!

  4. Meredith

    We always need those books that can lead to a nice discussion. I might keep this one in mind for book club next year. Great review!

  5. Michelle

    Great review! I just love this cover! But I totally get it how you can’t really explain your thoughts. That happens to me a lot and I just feel slumped.

  6. kimbacaffeinate

    No resolution in a standalone? I totally get the third perspective issue with multiple voices. I often don’t connect. Aspects of this sound good Jenni, but I am not sure this one is for me. Wonderful review

  7. Lauren

    I also struggle with third person, and especially when there are multiple POV’s. I’ve been curious about this one, and I will admit the fact that you and your friend had such wildly different interpretations about the ending has me more interested to give it a try. This might be a good discussion book for my club. Thanks for your thoughtful honest review!

  8. DeAsia NIchelle

    It sounds interesting, yet very confusing and kinda of unattainable. Almost as if you can never really get a hand on what the author was going for. You did pipe my curiosity so I think I will check it out.

  9. Paulina

    I have the ebook and now I’m not sure if I want to read it 🙁 I don’t like books that leave a lot of questions unanswered

  10. Lily B

    hummm… first review I seen of this one.
    I can see why your feelings have been all over the place. It’s a bit of a shame, but at least it wasn’t complete disappointment?

  11. Faye D'Social Potato (@kawaiileena)

    I totally see how you can feel disconnected. When there are POV changes, ESPECIALLY three POV changes, it’s oftentimes better to do it in 1st person. It may be hard, but it’s so worth it as all three get to disconnect with the reader. Even a good friend of mine struggled with this one and was even less forgiving, haha! Hope your next read is better, Jenni!