Saturday, July 5, 2014

My 1st Megan Abbott (her 8th) - The Fever

So, I just finished Megan Abbott's YA, The Fever.  I've seen a lot of blogger activity, and it seemed to be all very positive.  And when I went on Amazon and Goodreads, the results were pretty good.  48 ratings on Amazon gave it an average of 3.7/5, and 420 ratings on Goodreads gave it an average of 3.42/5.  Those aren't great numbers but pretty solid.

For me, it's a 2.5/4 (in my rating system) or a 3/5 (in the Goodreads and Amazon system).  I know that Megan has excellent credentials.  The Mystery Writers of America awarded her the Edgar (named after Edgar Allen Poe) for a prior book, which is a really big deal.  I liked The Fever but didn't love it.  First, let me give you the Goodreads synopsis.

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 hockey 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.

A chilling story about guilt, family secrets and the lethal power of desire,The Fever affirms Megan Abbot's reputation as "one of the most exciting and original voices of her generation" (Laura Lippman).

Some of you out there might think I'm too old (almost 65) to enjoy a YA.  Uh, uh.  I loved C. Lee McKenzie's 2 YA's, The Princess of Las Pulgas and Sliding on the Edge.  I also loved A.R. Silverberry's YA fantasy, Wyndano's Cloak, and really enjoyed Alina Sayre's YA fantasy (her launch is happening this coming Thursday at VHOB, from 6-8!), The Illuminator's Gift.  So this is not about being an old guy (although I am old).  It's about the story itself.

I thought it was a bit confusing.  I liked the characters but couldn't always keep track of which girlfriend was who.  And who did what.  And what caused the illnesses.  The central protagonists are a father with 2 high school kids, an older son and a younger daughter. This is very similar to Lee's Princess.  In that one, there was a mother, an older daughter, and a younger son.  But in Princess, I was emotionally involved with all 3, but mostly with the daughter, who is the primary narrator.  Here, all 3 family members got a lot of attention, and I didn't really connect with any of them.  I liked them but did not feel an emotional pull.

I have always made a big deal about a visceral connect with a book's main characters. But there's more going on in The Fever than just that.  There were too many characters beyond The Big 3 - a bunch of students and a bunch of parents.  It was just too much for me.

But I still liked it well enough.  And let me point out that there are many people who don't agree with me.  On Amazon, 30 out of 48 people gave it a 4 or 5.  And on Goodreads, 219 out of 420 gave it a 4 or 5.  Don't take my word for it.  Try it yourself.

CONTEST:  People, tell me you want this book, and we will have a drawing.  The publicist, Tandem Literary, who sent me my book, is giving away 1 copy to a lucky reader (isn't everybody who follows my blog a lucky reader?).  Interested?


  1. I liked this more than you did. I didn't think of it as YA as I read it so I find it interesting that you did.

  2. Now that you mention it, I'm not sure why I considered it a YA. I guess because most of the story was narrated by Deenie, with a lot of input from her friends and from Eli.

  3. I read The End of Everything by Abbott a few months ago and didn't care for it even though bloggers raved about it. I liked her writing well enough and would certainly give her another try, but you have me questioning whether I'd like this one!

    1. Tough to tell. I know that you and I don't always agree. But it is fun sometimes to go against the grain, even if you don't plan that ahead of time.