Review: The Fever

The Fever
The Fever
By Megan Abbott
(Little, Brown and Company, Hardcover, 9780316231053, June 17, 2014, 320pp.)

The Short of It:

Rumors and panic abound in Abbott’s latest novel, making it a taut, suspenseful read.

The Rest of It:

As you can imagine, a high school is the perfect place for rumors and panic to take shape and that is exactly what happens in The Fever.  Deenie Nash and her brother Eli attend Dryden High School. Their father, Tom teaches there and because of his proximity to the students, he knows his daughter’s friends pretty well. When Deenie’s best friend Lise Daniels ends up on the floor in convulsions, no one knows what to think. As she is rushed to the hospital, her fellow classmates wonder if she took something or had an illness that no one knew about.

Deenie’s concern for her friend grows when she finds out that on top of the convulsions, she experienced a cardiac event. At such a young age? Before long, another classmate is on the floor convulsing and then the rumors begin to fly. What’s going on? Is there something wrong with these girls? Have they been exposed to something? Why isn’t it happening to the boys?

Abbott does an admirable job of giving the reader just enough info to keep it interesting, but not enough to ruin the payoff. It’s suspenseful and well-written and the pacing is good. My only complaint is that I feel that the author may have used it as a vehicle for sharing her opinions on a particular topic. I won’t say what that topic is for fear of lessening the suspense but that was my only issue with the book. I do not like hidden agendas.

Aside from that, it was a quick, entertaining read. I liked that the parents were prominent. You get their take on the situation which added another layer to the mystery. I’ve never read Abbott before but based on this one I’d read another book by her.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Edelweiss.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

15 thoughts on “Review: The Fever”

  1. I just started reading this last night and got wrapped in pretty quick. It’s my first Abbott, too, so I’m pretty excited by it.

  2. I read this and have my review ready to go up but I keep changing it. I liked it but that hidden agenda thing. Was it Abbott’s opinion or a reflection of world we live in? I can’t decide but I didn’t like that. I had a few other qualms with the book too.

    1. I’d have to read another book by her to see if the hidden agenda thing is the norm with her. It’s possible she has strong feelings about this particular topic. I don’t know. For me, it rubbed me the wrong way because I was asked about it last year about it at my daughter’s appt. She was nine. I was not ready to think about it. I suspect I will be asked again this year and I am still not ready to think about it. 


    1. Since I have only read one book by her, I can’t tell if the hidden agenda thing is common with her. I feel as if I have  to read another book for her in order to make that call. She’s written so many though and some have been very popular.  The writing was good though. I’d read her again just for that reason. 


  3. I haven’t read anything by this author before, but this does sound good. I don’t mind hidden agendas if they are intertwined with the story well I hardly notice as I’m reading. It sounds like this one was more obvious.

    1. If the book had ended up being about what I thought it was going to be about, I would have been unhappy. I just do not like it when people try to foist their opinions off just because they have a captive audience. However, I am still not convinced that is what she was trying to do. I may have been a little sensitive to the topic itself. 


  4. Since we’ve emailed about it, I know what that topic is. I can see where you’re coming from but it didn’t bother me – maybe because it’s not a topic I’ve ever had to make a decision on.

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Megan Abbott book but this one is certainly going on my list. I am curious about the topic now, so I may read the book sooner, so that I can check back in on said topic.

  6. I’ve read Abbott’s last three books and I loved this one. Like you mention, I really appreciated the parents being there and seeing so much more perspective from them as well as a teenage boy. The others were almost solely focused on the teen girls. We have to chat about this perceived issue. Initially wasn’t sure what you meant and now I think I know. I’m not sure if I agree that she had an agenda, or if it’s hard to present a balanced issue book, especially when people are so hysterical. I have to go back and flip through some pages.

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