The Fever by Megan Abbott
Digital Audiobook narrated by Caitlin Davies, Joe Barrett, Kirby Heyborne
Published by Little Brown and Company on June 17, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult
Length: 307 pages or 9 hours, 13 minutes
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Deenie Nash is a diligent student with a close-knit family; her brother Eli is a hockey star, and her father is a popular teacher. But when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class, the Nashes' seeming stability dissolves into chaos. As rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through school, and hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families, and the town's fragile sense of security.
My initial feelings about The Fever were pretty lukewarm. While conceptually interesting, this book doesn’t get very good ratings on Goodreads and nobody has really been talking about it. In short, the buzz about The Fever has been (if anything) that it’s just “fine”. And after reading it, I agree.
There are a lot of things that could have happened in this novel. Megan Abbott is not a bad writer. There was a minute when I thought this was going to end up a gruesome swamp-thing-esque horror novel and damn I was there for it because that would have been SO unique and the writing was on point for it. And there were certainly edges of The Cruicible to the way the afflicted girls banded together. There was a lot of potential here for a very original, very interesting YA horror.
That isn’t the direction Megan Abbott chose to go.
Instead, her twist and true plot were so dramatic and cliche that I found myself groaning aloud and asking, “Really?!”. I won’t reveal here what her actual twist was because, you know, spoilers. The only points Megan Abbott gets from me are based on how awesome this book might have been if it followed its original feed.
There’s nothing going for it in the characters. All the characters, except Skye, were flat as pancakes. And Skye was such a stereotype of a bad Wiccan girl (which I hate). This book has three POVs – Deenie, her father, and her brother. In my opinion, the father and brother’s POVs were pointless. Especially the father’s. A POV of the afflicted could have been far more interesting, or of the villain, but those choices weren’t made. The father’s POV, in particular, seemed to be there for adult appeal as he himself is brooding and looking for love, but in regardless to plot there was no need for his perspective. An argument could be made for Eli, but he added very little.
Then you have the writing? There is so much sexuality in the writing that it made me uncomfortable. I should have known, right from the firs chapter when time was spent describing how the girls’ lips would be “forever open” and how many time’s Lise’s legs and underwear were mentioned in her episode. Particularly, there was so much erotic language in Eli’s POV and his father’s… it was like all these two were thinking about was sex. And, most of the time, it was about the high school girls. Which was so creepy. There also felt like there was an edge of incestuous thought towards Deenie from both men. It was all a bit disturbing… and definitely out of place.
The Fever gets a hard pass from me.
Are there any types of books you would like to see written? I am so here for anyone who wants to do a classic monster retelling, especially in YA! Shares you hopes and dreams in the comments!