Read together: June 2015 – The Fever by Megan Abbott

June 2015 – Mel’s choice

The Fever

by Megan Abbott

the fever

Published June 2014

Genres: Fiction / Thriller / Young Adult

‘You spend a long time waiting for life to start – her past year or two filled with all these firsts, everything new and terrifying and significant – and then it does start and you realize it isn’t what you’d expected, or asked for.’ – Deenie Nash.

The Fever follows the story of the three Nashes; Tom, Eli and Deenie. They live in the quiet town of Dryden, where Tom is a teacher at the Dryden High School and Eli and Deenie attend as students. It doesn’t take long for things in this quiet town to start falling apart when two of Deenie’s close friends are the first to fall victim to a mysterious illness, or The Fever. But what is this affliction, and why is it only affecting girls?

Mel says…

My initial feeling for this book began with an excitement. The synopsis on the back cover described a story full of mystery and enticement. The first few chapters started off describing the first victim of the mysterious “fever” and it felt like the readers were in for a very interesting ride. It wasn’t until I was roughly half way through the book that I began realising that the story was waffling back and forth between reasons of this mysterious illness, yet nothing exciting had yet occurred within the plot. The story was very slow to build, and even now that I have finished the book, I am not entirely sure if there was a build at all.

The plot ran back and forth between reasons for this mysterious “fever”, but not delving into much of a storyline for either reason. The character development also felt disjointed. I did not build much of a rapport with any of the main characters, as I felt their back stories were rushed. I did get a sense of the teenage angst that I feel Megan Abbott was trying to get across, through the characters of Deenie, Lise, Gabby and Skye. The moods that were described for the characters did portray this however, there was not enough context around these characters to get a full sense of their back stories, which would lead to these current feelings and events. Gabby, in particular, had a very tragic back story however, apart from having a brief description and then touching on her tragedy in various other parts of the book, this back story was rarely mentioned as her characters demise in the end.

This brings me to victims of the mysterious illness. The story eventually describes how the first victim, Lise, came to be so ill. When I say eventually, I actually mean this is described in the final 30-odd pages of the book. Not a lot of space to provide any interesting and exciting cliffhangers or resolutions. Sigh!

All in all, this book had a lot of potential. I think Megan Abbott needed an extra hundred or so pages to build on her characters and the ending. The briskness of description in this book has been the let down here.

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

Janelle says…

I was stoked when Mel picked this book for our first joint read, it was also right up there on my own list of books I wanted to choose!  Oooh, maybe it’s some kind of weird sister ESP thing or something…..

The Fever is about growing up, and trying to understand how you and your world are changing as you cross that blurry line between childhood and adulthood. That phase of life can be scary and awkward, just like this story. Puberty is a place filled with intense emotions and confusion, generally a place best forgotten once we’re past it. As I was reading, I could feel that familiar teenage state coming through in the characters as they tried to understand what was happening in their little part of the world – relationships are over-analysed, games are played, nothing else in the world is as important as what is happening to you and your friends right now. In The Fever, we’re shown how dangerous decisions can be when they’re made in times of extreme emotion and without proper judgement, as decisions made in puberty sometimes are. Beware of hormonal teenagers!

I found at most times the pace of this book was too slow for me. The chapters consist of lots of smaller sub-chapters representing different characters’ points of view. While being handy for those moments when you only have time to read a short snippet, it meant that the story was jumping around constantly between characters, sometimes twice or more over the course of a double-page spread. You might think that this would have the effect of speeding the pace up, and it probably would have, if the story didn’t get stuck on the never-ending speculation of what was happening to the girls, why it’s happening, and the same old theories being thrown around again, and again, and again. And oh look – again! It seemed to be at a stand-still a lot of the time, and it didn’t take long for me to feel frustrated by the lack of anything happening.

I think the way the chapters were formed could also be the reason for why I didn’t feel very connected to any of the characters. You’re with one character for a few paragraphs, and then suddenly their view stops and you’re back with someone else. But then again, most of the characters are teenagers and are very obviously still figuring themselves out, so in a way it didn’t feel completely unreasonable to not fully understand who they were.

There was a point about 2/3 of the way through where the story seemed to pick up intensity and suspense, and I felt like it was finally speeding towards something. But I have to say, I was underwhelmed by the ending. All in all, I had high hopes for this book because I’d read some good reviews but I was disappointed, and disappointed to be disappointed because I think it could have been something amazing!

Read this if you’re a teenager yourself, you will probably empathise with the personal struggles that the younger characters are dealing with. Don’t read this if you’re expecting a gripping, dark YA thriller like I was, it’s halfway there but doesn’t fully deliver.

If you do want to read a review of this book that delivers on the funnies though, check out this on Goodreads.

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

Linking up with The Ultimate Rabbit Hole at The Annoyed Thyroid

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11 responses to “Read together: June 2015 – The Fever by Megan Abbott

  1. Marie

    Great reviews. I am glad you are reviewing some YA fiction too seeing as I have two such beasts in the house. Look foward to the next review, nice work!

    Like

  2. Trish MLDB

    Thanks ladies for your honest reviews, I do a little book reviewing too .

    Like

  3. Great review. I wish I could make time to read more books… It’s one of my half year goals! Thanks for linking up to the ultimate rabbit hole!

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    • Thanks Shannon. It is hard to find time when kids are around, I wish I had more time too! I’m looking forward to the kids being older so we can all have quiet reading time together, ahhh. Good luck with your goal!

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  4. I actually just made a pact with myself to arrange my time better to be able to read more. Must check out a few more of your reviews. I just bought Judd Apatow’s book and can’t wait to start it. Thanks for linking up in The Ultimate Rabbit Hole.

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  5. I’m so glad I found your blog over at The Ultimate Rabbit Hole. I am always looking for good books to read. I’ve added your blog to my Bloglovin roll.

    Like

  6. Pingback: Our 2015 in books, and reading goals for 2016 | Little Blog of Books

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