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 hocky 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.
One and a half stars, rounded up for mercy.
This book is absolutely nothing like I expected. From the cover and blurb above (from Goodreads), I was expecting (or at the very least, hoping for) a fast-paced medical thriller. The Fever didn't quite make it... at all. It is told from the perspective of three characters, Deenie, her brother Eli, and their father, Tom, all of whom have the same voice; the characterization is not very good at all. The book centers around a sudden serious illness that a handful of girls encounter. Could it be from the HPV vaccine they received at the recommendation of the school board? Or is it from the disgusting lake in town, the one that smells like wet animal fur and is glowing green, yet attract a bunch of high school girls?
My first gripe with this book is that no high school girl would go in that foul lake. It sounds absolutely repulsive, yet is a swimming hotspot for a bunch of girls that are becoming aware of their sexuality. Right.
My second gripe about this book is the crooked tampon incident. Referenced as something that happened in the recent past, Lise apparently required her friend, Deenie’s help to remove a crooked tampon. As a woman that has been using tampons for about twenty years now (ugh I’m old), I can say that it’s never once occurred to me to drop my panties and have my friends assist me with removing them. I wouldn’t even have my husband help me with something like that, and he is regularly all up in my business, if you know what I’m sayin’. WINK WINK.
My third gripe are the ridiculously dramatic secondary characters that pop in at random times with cryptic messages. YOU ARE ALL GOING TO DIE. Completely unnecessary once you get to the ending and realize that those characters were put in just to keep you reading! Without them, you would have thrown the book down in utter boredom. Almost nothing happens.
Several times throughout the book characters mentioned that they didn't feel like themselves, or that they thought their friends looked different for no explicable reason to try to lure you in to thinking there might be something supernatural about something that really isn't all that out of the ordinary.
I almost abandoned this book several times, but felt that I invested too much time into it to discard. Also, I had to discuss the crooked tampon. So terrible. Gah.
Skip this one, friends.
Note: A copy of this book was provided to me for free by the publisher (Little, Brown and Company), and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Expected publication date: June 17, 2014