Book Review – The Fever by Megan Abbott

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The Nashes are a tight family who have formed a strong bond after the mother deserted them. Tom is a teacher, Eli is a hockey player and popular with the girls, while Deenie is serious and sweet. But Deenie’s friends start becoming violently ill and hysteria sweeps the town, threatening to cause a mass panic. Dark secrets emerge as people try to get to the bottom of what is causing the fever.

I thoroughly enjoyed Megan Abbott’s previous two novels, The End of Everything and Dare Me, so I was looking forward to The Fever with much anticipation. Here though she abandons the first person narrator perspective for a third-person view, switching back and forth between Tom, Eli, and Deenie. While this offers the chance to look at the plot from multiple perspectives it also only feels like we’re getting snapshots of each character,  and I feel Abbott’s style is more suited to being in one character’s head.

The plot itself is fairly good. There are some moments when it drifts into horror territory but I didn’t mind that. Abbott’s work always focuses on the dangers and thrills of sexual awakening and the language she uses is as incisive as a sharp knife. But I ultimately found that the tension petered out towards the end and I wasn’t entirely satisfied for the explanation of the fever. Dare Me is still my favourite out of three, and while this was still a good read there were a few aspects that didn’t quite work for me. I still anticipate her next release with excitement though.

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