The Fever by Megan Abbott: A Review

The FeverThe Fever by Megan Abbott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book because I wanted to read something “light” spooky for the month of October. This book did fit that description well.

The story is told from the perspective of three family members – Deenie, her brother Eli, and their father, Tom. Deenie’s friend Lise has a seizure in the middle of class, and she ends up in a coma in the hospital. Then, Deenie’s other close friend Gabby ends up in the hospital with peculiar symptoms as well. Soon, a lot of girls start exhibiting strange symptoms, and no one can figure out why.

A lot of the external, physical symptoms tend to be metaphors for internal struggles. There is also a theme of feeling powerless, and how people handle things when they feel powerless. It’s interesting how much the characters would blame themselves or blame others for things beyond their control.

Abbott uses the term “fever” to mean things like the hysteria of the parents when unexplained things start happening to their daughters, but also fever was used to describe sexual desire of adolescence. I like that play on words. I also liked the use of nature, especially the weather that seemed to be unnaturally warm during the events of the book, like it was in on the fever as well.

It was a simple read. There was a lot of misdirection. I didn’t catch on to the plot twists until they started to unfold. I didn’t think the book was too graphic, very little profanity. And while there was an overarching theme of teenage sexuality, I didn’t think that the entire book was about that one theme. It had a lot more to do with jealousy, and how scary it is to allow your emotions to dictate your actions. Overall, I would recommend it for a light read in October.

5 thoughts on “The Fever by Megan Abbott: A Review

  1. Angela Seals

    I am sure you know some of the circumstances about my “daughter”. Is the sexuality graphic? She is in High School now, and the other points of the book sound like something she could relate to.

    By the way — I love your blog! You get lots of mental hugs from ATL.

    1. Katy Post author

      Thanks for reading my blog! 🙂

      It’s not step by step graphic. I mean, you can tell from the conversation or thinking that it’s Intercourse or oral, because that plays a part in the guilt. But it doesn’t actually describe the acts. Like, you know deenie goes into the car with the boy. You know her shirt is under her. You know she had sex and you know she was a Virgin because he says “I didn’t know this was your first time.” But it doesn’t graphically talk about it. It’s a few sentences in the whole narrative. They do mention nipples in on lucid dream a boy has, but the main part of that dream has more to do with foreshadowing motive. It doesn’t have a christian undertone, but more like, just how far adolescent emotions can go, and how much of our fear is in our heads versus reality.

      1. Katy Post author

        Yea, I am always surprised with young adult books, or books about teens, and how graphic they can be, even if they skim over the details. I didn’t think this one was particularly graphic, but as I answered your question, I realized I didn’t think from the perspective of a mom and teen daughter. And then, I was like…well, they do say the f word once and there was some topless nudity…and you know what’s appropriate for her. 🙂

  2. Erin

    I just read this book too! I thought it was a quick, suspenseful read. I enjoyed the dynamics between the girls but it made me feel old! I kept wondering if this was how teenagers were these days lol!
    I also use Goodreads and set reading goals for myself every year. I’m going to send you a friend request! I love sharing about books 😊


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