By: Megan Abbott
Released: June 17, 2014
“Had the water done something? Did it do something to me? She wondered. Do I look different? Then she remembered asking herself that question before, two days ago. How could you even tell, the way things kept happening to you, maybe leaving their marks in ways you couldn’t even see.“
I have complete mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I enjoyed it. On the other hand, it took me too long to get invested in the story and by that point I just wanted to finish it.
The Fever follows the Nashes, a close knit family in a small town. Deenie is the youngest child of Tom Nash, who is a teacher at the high school Deenie and her older brother Eli, star hockey player, attend. At the beginning of the book, we learn that Deenie has lost her virginity to a boy she works with. One morning during class, Deenie’s best friend Lise Daniels has a severe seizure and is taken to the hospital. Deenie is scared for her friend, and the rest of the school is scared of what could be wrong with her. Around the same time, Eli receives a text on his phone from a girl in purple lingerie. He has no idea who the girl is.
As the school goes into a frenzy, more and more girls keep having seizures and experiencing the same symptoms as Lise did. Very soon, Deenie’s other best friend Gabby suffers the same fate, along with another close friend of theirs. People begin to suspect something is wrong with the group of girls, but Deenie never shows any signs of the epidemic. Parents raise concerns and become sure that the HPV vaccine is what is wrong with the young girls, as there are no boys experiencing any of the same problems. Mass panic spreads over the town while Deenie, Tom, and Eli try to piece together the puzzle to figure out what is really going on.
Like I said, this book gave me mixed feelings. The synopsis intrigued me, and that’s why I bought it in the first place. It starts out very slow, and it takes a while to build up any sort of excitement for me. Sometimes, a slow burn is the way to go, but in this case I felt like the slow burn had me fizzled out before I could even get warm. I appreciated the story and the writing, but I could not find any point in the book to relate to or immerse myself in, which is honestly really odd for me. Usually there is something I can latch onto that makes me want to keep reading, but I never found it in this book. I’m not one not to finish a book I start, so I pressed on and kept going, despite not being able to really get into it.
I related to none of the characters. Even trying to go back to my high school days, I could find nothing in common with any of them. I really tried. Honestly, I found myself relating mostly to Eli Nash. I felt he was the best written character out of the bunch. Deenie was very naive, and seemed a little bit to me like a spoiled brat. She wasn’t loyal to her best friend, and was jealous if her friends had other friends. Tom was a good father, but a little disconnected.
I am in no way, shape, or form trying to say that Megan Abbott is a bad writer, or that this was a terrible book. It wasn’t. It just wasn’t something that I could relate to or really get interested in. I’m interested to try more of her novels and see if there is another one I can resonate with more, but this one wasn’t it for me.
Rating: 2 out of 5