Summer Reader: The Fever

An ending can easily make or break a book for me. Even if it's in a series, your ending needs to be solid for me to be satisfied. The Fever by Megan Abbott has an interesting plot- Teen girls in a small town plagued with a mysterious illness, and they're dropping like flies. Speculations of the cause of the illness range from the town's toxic lake to demonic possession to a hybrid STD to a bad batch of the HPV vaccine.

The book often switches between the main characters, focusing on their different experiences and their personal attachment to the situation at hand. It goes from a parent's point of view, to an older brother's, to a best friend's without any strong voice or shift of events. It can get confusing, and even frustrating at times, but in the end it somewhat comes together and somewhat makes sense. Somewhat.

Abbott writes with a dream-like flow, using flashbacks and metaphors that read almost like poetry. Sometimes, it's hard to understand exactly why some parts were included, as they prove pointless to the plot of the story. Almost like fluff to fill the pages and distract you from the bigger picture. You want to believe all of the sidetracking relates to a bigger picture, but ultimately, it doesn't.

The book will stick with you, at least for a little while. It will make you question society. Are the vaccines we inject into our bodies actually harming us? Should we be more mindful of our water systems? But it won't prevail with a grand, ecological or life-changing ending:

See ahead if you wanna ruin it for yourself, if not and you want to read the book, mind that it's a slow first 100 pages, and then you can't put it down til the end. The end is a surprise, yes, but you almost wish that it was something else. I'd recommend it for someone who is looking for a book to pass the time, but I wouldn't immediately put it on my list of Top 10 recommendations. And that's all I'm gonna say. XO


Okay if you're anything like me, I already know you read past the WARNING: SPOILERS heading. So I'm going to try to keep the spoilers to a minimum.

The book comes short at the ending- not all questions answered. And not in a good way. Or thoughtful way. It feels like just a blatant laziness on Abbott's part.

While in the book it notes that many girls come into the hospital with the symptoms of this illness- only one received a diagnosis. A diagnosis that was only pertaining to her (what someone did to her), and none of the other girls. The most disturbing case being Kim, who posted videos on YouTube from inside the hospital describing the sickness- something in her throat, trying to get out- providing a mental vision of what looks like the poor little girl from The Exorcist. That's a pretty big image to leave me with, Abbott, with no hope, relief or explanation for this girl.

Okay, Now this is a BIG SPOILER. So, seriously, don't read unless you want to ruin everything for yourself. 

Another issue I have is with the Gabby/Eli situation. Eli never has a final word- never mentions if he did, in fact, feel about Gabby. Not before, not after the event. Both Deenie nor Eli not Tom speak their feelings towards Gabby's trial. And it's frustrating to me, because apparently that's what the whole book is about. Gabby's insane love for Eli, Deenie's brother and Tom's son. So you see, that's a pretty big string to leave untied. I don't even really care what happens to Gabby in the trial, in the end, or for the rest of her life. Do I hope she gets an Orange Is the New Black style spin-off. Kind of. But what I really need to know is how the main character freaking feel about it.

The other thing that bothers me is the fact that no one's doing anything about the lake. The lake- where the lady in the rain coat shows Deenie a glowing orange fungus, collected from the shore of the lake. The lake "wasn't the cause," but no one seems to give a fuck about the glowing orange, acidic, black-muck filled lake. The lake, who's water goes into everything in the town. I can't.

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