Posts Tagged ‘The Fever’

thefeverIn two of her previous novels, The End of Everything and Dare Me, Megan Abbott expertly mined the secret lives of teenage girls. She does it again in The Fever (Little, Brown, digital galley), inspired by the real-life outbreak of a mysterious illness among girls at a New York high school, several of whom testified on the Today show about their persistent tics and twitches.

In The Fever, puzzlement and panic ensue when pretty Lise has a violent seizure in class. Her BFF Deenie, who witnessed the frightening event, frantically texts their other friend Gabby and later convinces her father, a teacher at the school, that she must go to the hospital to see Lise. As rumors fly through the school and community, Lise lapses into a coma and other girls, including Gabby, develop alarming symptoms — rapid blinking, fainting, dizziness, confusion. Is the lake algae toxic? Maybe it’s a tainted HPV vaccine. Or it just the result of stress, maybe eating disorders? Deenie, who has been keeping several secrets from her family and friends, wonders if she’s somehow complicit in her friends’ illness, or is it just a matter of time before she, too, is stricken?

“You spend a long time waiting for life to start — the past year or two filled with all these firsts, everything new amd terrifying and significant — and then it does start and you realize it isn’t what you expected, or asked for.”

The mystery illness propels the story, but its depth comes from Abbott’s artful depiction of the teens’ fevered friendships and rivalries, fueled by peer pressure, paranoia and raging hormones. There’s no vaccine for high school.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: