Saturday, February 22, 2014

Review: The Fever: A Novel by Megan Abbott

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. 

The crooked tampon incident™ has nothing to do with anything, but had me thinking the author was a weirdo for probably far longer than she intended.  It’s something a guy would write about, or perhaps a non-human, non-menstruating woman.  (Alien?)

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


  1. Ok I'm officially grossed out!! If I had a tampon stuck I would go to the DOCTOR!! Not ask one of my friends! That is just nasty. And as much as I love my friends, I am not going anywhere near their lady parts like that! The title and the cover makes it look like the book would be something super creepy... and it's not?? That is so disappointing. And no to the glowing lake where girls are exploring their sexuality. I think someone has been watching a little too much porn or something :(

    Great review... I love reading why people don't like books. I'm a regular ball of sunshine like that ;)

    1. Tampons have nowhere to even go -- eventually, sooner than later, it's going to get too... saturated, and just plop out. (Ewwwww -- hahahaha!) No need to involve anyone in that nightmare, really.

      They didn't explored their sexuality AT the lake... I just thought it was far-fetched that a bunch of horned up teenager girls would go in that nasty cesspool. When I was a teenager, the last thing I would do is take a dip in a smelly, algae-ridden lake like these girls did.

      Thanks for your comment. Love your blog, btw! :)

  2. Weird. The whole thing sounds weird. *shivers* Nope, never would I ask for help with that feminine problem. Oddly enough I know someone to whom that happen, she in fact went to the doctor. That is a scenario I would be comfortable with.

    1. Hahaha. It was just so bizarre and pointless that I couldn't help by question why exactly I was reading it. I still don't know. :)

  3. Wow, the tampon and the lake is enough to steer me away!

  4. Yuck! Tampons should never be touched by anyone else than the person actually having it inserted *shudders*
    And I'm pretty sure I'd stop reading if there are secondary characters who are there for shock and awe only, not actually playing a real part in the story.
    I hope your next read will be better, Jackie :)

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    1. Hahaha yeah, I was tempted to abandon it several times, but that tampon kept luring me in. :)


Thanks for your comment, I appreciate it so much! Your comment guarantees a return visit from me to your blog -- I love connecting with new book lovers!