Author: Megan Abbott
Length: 303 pages
Genre: literary thriller
Where Bethany’s copy came from: The Indianapolis Public Library
Plot Basics: Deenie Nash and her friends are trying to navigate high school in the age of technology, sexting and rumors about who’s doing what with whom. Deenie’s older brother, Eli, is more interest in hockey than girls but is increasingly aware of Deenie’s friends. When one of them, Lise, strangely collapses, followed by a string of other strange illnesses/occurrences, the town and the school panicks about what is harming the girls.
Banter Points: Anybody who might have a teenage kid in the next two decades should read and not-read this book. Abbott captured the way technology is influencing teen culture with text messages, YouTube videos and providing a new platform for spreading rumors. She caught all the insecurities teens have (or what I remember from being a teen) and amped it up with a great plot, weaving in helicopter parents, the vaccine debate and a bunch of group think.
While it’s a great insight into the way teenagers and parents think, it’s a terrifying insight into the way teenagers think. I am so glad I am past my teenage years and didn’t have to go through that time with all the drama of Facebook and everything.
Bummer Points: I wanted to see more of Tom and Eli Nash and their relationship, or lack of it. I also wanted to see more of Tom as a teacher, maybe trying to parent his classes of students.
Word Nerd Recommendation: The Fever is a fairly fast and very entertaining read. If the anti-vaccine movement really trips your trigger (on either side of the argument), you’ll probably have strong reactions to this story (maybe good, maybe bad.) If possible, read the whole book in one sitting.