Review | The Fever by Megan Abbott – with Audiobook Notes

Posted January 7, 2015 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 10 Comments

The Fever by Megan Abbott
Published by Little, Brown and Company
Publish Date: June 17, 2014
Source: Book – Library, Audiobook – Library
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon / B&N

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.  (Goodreads) 

The Fever by Megan Abbott

My Thoughts:  I chose to read The Fever by Megan Abbott because I was absolutely captivated by the cover. I’d passed over it time after time in the library, but every time that image of movement drew me back in and I needed to find out more about it. 

Okay, wow, this book. 

So there’s this epidemic or “fever” that seems to be hitting the young girls in town. One by one, they’re getting it. Seizures, hospitalizations, whispers as to how everyone is getting infected. Is it the HPV immunization that the girls are all getting? Is it the nearby polluted lake that people aren’t supposed to be swimming in? What’s going on? 

Some interesting things

  1. Only young student-aged girls are getting this sickness. 
  2. Nobody knows why, or how, or who is next. 
  3. As the book progresses, the town becomes crazy with panic and mass hysteria ensues. 

So The Fever is told in three points-of-view: Deenie, her brother Eli, and their father Tom. I felt like they were all a little on the unlikable side, particularly Deenie and Tom, but I wonder if this is because of the people that were narrating the audiobook as much as it was how they were written. Deenie is…mean. Her friends are mean. (In talking with a friend about this book, it was mentioned that another of this author’s books has a “mean girls” vibe.) Deenie’s father, Tom, shows plenty of concern for his kids throughout this ordeal — like any father should. But he’s creepy! What I mean is that his inner thoughts often turn to things about Deenie’s friends and their bodies, etc — just, eww. I think that this probably fit well with his character make-up, being single and wanting of a relationship, but it was a bit on the icky side. Eli is the most likable of the three, and probably the most typical. ALSO: I think I liked the secondary characters as much or maybe even more than these main characters. They were all really interesting in different ways. 

I have to admit that while this story was strange and crazy, I liked it. I liked the way the town became hysterical and a little nutty over the unknown. I like the way everyone developed their own theories about what was causing this mystery illness, and that only added fuel to the fire. When facts started coming out at the end, I was like WHAT WHAT what in the world!? because I didn’t see it coming and I hadn’t put any of the clues together myself. 

Was this the best mystery/thriller I’ve ever read? No. But it was entertaining to me. I’ll say this: it was entertaining enough that I’ve considered reading more from this author already where I am still not ready to read more by the authors of this book or this book…or maybe I am? Maybe this book gave me the jump start that I needed to “get into” books like these? I’m not sure. All I know is that I saw that cover and I’ve been intrigued since then, and I was intrigued while I read. (This cover is actually a scene from the book. The first girl to come down with the mystery illness falls out of a chair, and this movement as she falls to the floor is depicted on the cover. I absolutely love it.) I would recommend The Fever by Megan Abbott to readers that enjoy the mystery/thriller category and readers that enjoy YA/adult crossover novels. 

Audiobook Notes:  The audiobook format of The Fever by Megan Abbott is published by Hachette Audio and is 9 hours and 12 minutes, Unabridged. It is narrated by Caitlin Davies, Kirby Heyborne, and Joe Barrett. I chose to listen to this audiobook specifically because Kirby Heyborne is one of my voice actors. Caitlin Davies is not new to me, but Joe Barrett is. I did not have any problems with the reading of the story, but one reader’s part was so much louder-sounding than the other two that I had to turn the volume significantly lower each time that particular reader spoke. With another reader, when he/she was reading the girls’ dialogue, it was particularly whiny and annoying — I realize that this isn’t the best description, but it sounded very “mean girls” which fits perfectly with what I mentioned above in my review of the story. In the case of each narrator, I would listen to audiobooks voiced by each again. In the case of this audiobook, I will not listen to it again. If I decide to reread this book, I will reread via print copy or ebook. 


The Fever will appeal to fans of:

YA/Adult Crossover
Romance: None.
The “mean girls” trope.

The Fever by Megan Abbott
is currently available for purchase.


Has anyone read THE FEVER? 

What books from the “thriller” category would you recommend? 
I haven’t read that many! 

Don’t miss my thoughts!


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


10 responses to “Review | The Fever by Megan Abbott – with Audiobook Notes

    • Oh yay! I'm a bit of a scaredy cat sometimes with thrillers – just getting my feet wet over the past few months (I haven't even blogged about what I've read, really) but I thought this one was kind of neat, in a mean girls way. But I like the mean girls thing sometimes. (:

  1. I saw this book in Entertainment Weekly awhile ago and put it on my TBR but I'm wondering if you think I should keep it on there or maybe try to find a different thriller? I like the chaotic feel you describe but it sounds like the overall feel was so-so…

    • I liked it; I liked it in a Before I Go To Sleep way more than a Gone Girl way, if that makes any sense. The reveals at the end were really neat and I loved the chaos that I felt while the community was freaking out over the girls getting sick. If you like getting really creeped out while you read thriller-y books, maybe try to find another one? But if you kind of dig that mean girls feeling, you may like this one. (I wouldn't audiobook it, though, to be honest.)

  2. They were all a little unlikeable, which is why I enjoyed this story more than I thought I would. It was freaky and needed those unlikeable-ish characters to make the freaky more believable.

  3. I started reading this months ago, and I wasn't really able to get into it. I've been wanting to try again, but I've forgotten what I've read so far and I don't want to start over! I love the cover, too, and the fact that the synopsis sounded very Salem Witch Trial-ish. I assumed that's where it was headed, but based on your comments, maybe not… I'm intrigued!

    • Truthfully, I can't say that I know VERY much about the Salem Witch Trials so I can't make a great comparison! But that cover IS so spectacular and gives a great feel for the book in general. The end is a trip, though, and threw me for a loop. It was kind of crazy, in a way that I didn't see coming. I understand not wanting to start over. If you decide to read it again pretty soon and I can help remind you of details, I'd be happy to. (:

  4. It really IS a stunning cover. And that's so cool it represents an actual scene from the book!
    The premise for this one really intrigues me, and I think that's an interesting choice to narrate it from the perspectives of family members. And I don't mind unlikable characters, so it sounds like that would work in my favor for this book.
    I will have to keep in mind your concerns as well as what you enjoyed though – if I pick it up, it definitely will be via print!

    • Yes, I would read print for this book if I ever decided to reread it. I loved the family members' POVs, and I think the fact that they were all so odd made it even better – I LOVE unreliable narrators or narrators that are unlikable IF it is for a good purpose. I think the author did a great job in this regard because this book has that "mean girl" theme + the two male narrators are brother and father, and they are largely primarily concerned for how Deenie is doing in the wake of all of the chaos surrounding her friend's illness. It's really a crazy story, but I liked it, and I didn't feel as nerve-y and freaked-out as I did with Gone Girl. I'm glad that I read it.

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