Sunday, November 23, 2014


I really thought Fever was going to blow up this summer, but while it seems to have a respectful following online, I haven't heard that much buzz about it in real life.  It's by Megan Abbott, of Dare Me, which also gets great reviews - I haven't read it yet.  Anyway, I thought it was fantastic, and while I think it's doing well, it's obviously not reaching like, Hunger Games proportions.

Speaking of, I just saw Mockingjay Pt 1 last night and it was, as my friend duly noted, "the Empire Strikes Back of the series" This morning I looked up what comes after a trilogy and apparently it's a ... tetrology?  I think we'd all better learn that word as Hollywood continues to capitalize on trilogies that could stretch out in a movie.  Also, in a further digression about words that sound suspicious, I took this test at work called a "strength finder" and one of my "strengths" is "Intellection".  Which I looked up immediately because I thought it was made up.  It means an exercise of the intellect.  In other words, I think I'm smart, and I may or may not be.  Also useful.

Anyway.  Fever (btw, that COVER, amirite?):  It's actually been ages since I read it, but here's what I remember:  some girls at this school are having these seizures - it starts with one girl, and then slowly spreads.  And the community and the parents get caught up in this idea that there's some environmental or, you guessed it, vaccination factor that's effecting the girls. But the lead character, Deenie, has a sinking feeling it has to do with having sex.  The repercussions of sex weigh heavily throughout the book, and in fact it begins with this conversation between girls (that sounds like it's about sex but actually isn't, but: clever, right?):
      "The first time, you can't believe how much it hurts."Deenie's legs were shaking, but she tries to hide it, pushing her knees together, her hand hot on her thigh.    Six other girls are waiting. A few have done it before, but most are like Deenie.    "I heard you might want to throw up even," one says. "I knew a girl who passed out. They had to stop in the middle."   "It just kind of burns," says another. "You're sore for a few days. I heard by the third time, you don't even feel it."
Fever is something of a mystery, and as you read, you might suspect that the unsolved seizures are related to the very mystery of girls - which, for me, both hit home and was also unacceptable.  Abbott's story is at once a fairy tale and yet 100% possible.  She really ingeniously taps into the sometimes seemingly inexplicable behaviors of girls and their parents - how both might be searching for answers in an irrational world.

Like the best YA, Fever spans genres, raises questions for all ages and would be appealing to a wide audience.  Like Tana French's latest, Secret Place, it's an intriguing and accurate representation of the lives of teenage girls.

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