The Fever by Megan Abbott Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

The Fever

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 st

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.

A chilling story about guilt, family secrets and the lethal power of desire, The Fever affirms Megan Abbot’s reputation as “one of the most exciting and original voices of her generation” (Laura Lippman).
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    Khanh (the meanie)

    “The first time, you can’t believe how much it hurts.”

    “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.”

    This is from the prologue, and no, these girls are not talking about losing the big V.

    This is an extremely hard book for me to rate. On the one hand, I enjoyed the writing. On the other hand, there was nothing remotely scary about it, and overall, I felt like I was led on a merry trail filled with red herrings that looked l

    “The first time, you can’t believe how much it hurts.”

    “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.”

    This is from the prologue, and no, these girls are not talking about losing the big V.

    This is an extremely hard book for me to rate. On the one hand, I enjoyed the writing. On the other hand, there was nothing remotely scary about it, and overall, I felt like I was led on a merry trail filled with red herrings that looked like Jenny McCarthy screaming that vaccines are evil.

    It was filled with teenaged pettiness, and it wasn’t scary in the least. It did creep me out, but not in the “Omg this is scary!” kind of way, more like the “Oh, dude, the dad is so totally gross in a sorta Kevin-Spacey-in-American-Beauty-kind of way, like did he seriously say THAT about his little girl’s best friend? Eww!” kind of way.

    Wow, that was a long sentence.

    Almost nothing happens in this book. Don’t expect creepiness. From the cover, I totally thought this was going to be similar to the Japanese horror sort of books where a long-haired, scary as fuck girl crawls slowly up the foot of your bed as she slowly grins at you through blood-filled eyes. But no. Nope. Nothing like that at all. Not for a single moment did I remotely approach the feeling of fear.

    So here’s the good:

    1. The writing is quite good, bravo, Ms. Abbott
    2. Family dynamics is great, even if the brother and the dad totally squicked me out sometimes

    Seriously, nothing happens in this book.

    The Summary: There are three narrators in this book, father Tom Nash, a science teacher at the local high school, and his children, Eli and younger Deenie (Denise), both in high school.

    It is a quiet town, it is a dead town, and it is a quiet, unevent high school life until a girl starts foaming at the mouth.

    Her desk overturned, clattering to the floor.
    And with it Lise. Her head twisting, slamming into the tiles, her bright red face turned up, mouth teeming with froth.

    That was Lise, Deenie’s best friend, and everyone in school has their theories. Some dumber than others, from a grand mal seizure, here referred to as grand male by the brilliant young ladies at the school.

    “She had a grand male in Algebra Two,” Brooke announced, eyes popping.
    The jocks broke into a fresh round of laughter.
    “A grand mal?” he asked, squinting. “A seizure?”

    To pregnancy.

    “Is she pregnant?” whispered Kim, her tongue thrust between her wired teeth.
    “Pregnant people faint all the time,” Kim said, tugging her tights up her legs.

    To a sexual parasite.

    “He had a big house on the lake and he gave her all this great red-string Thai stick. He leaves for the Philippines, she wakes up with trich. That’s a sexual parasite. It crawls inside you.” She reached down for her bag, tangled with fringe. “So.”

    To Toxic Shock Syndrome…

    Have u heard of toxik shok? tampax can kill u

    Then another girl falls sick, and the town runs rampant with theories.

    The end.

    Yeah, that is literally it.

    The Characters: The one thing that stands out about the main characters in this book is the level of creepy sexuality within the family. I don’t mean in an incestuous way, but I thought it was pointlessly sexual at many points.

    We have a creepy, sad dad. Tom Nash. A middle-aged schoolteacher whose wife has left him for a more exciting life and a married lover. A man who has seriously creepy observations about his teenaged daughter’s friends. Lise, Deenie’s best friend, whom he has watched grown up.

    He’d known Lise Daniels since she was ten years old and first started coming to the house, hovering around Deenie, following her from room to room. Sometimes he swore he could hear her panting like a puppy. That was back when she was a chubby little elfin girl, before that robin’s-breast belly of hers disappeared, and, seemingly overnight, she became overwhelmingly pretty, with big fawn eyes, her mouth forever open.

    And recalling how Lise looks in a swimsuit.

    Tom felt his face warm. Last summer he’d seen Lise in a two-piece. From across the town pool, from behind, he’d mistaken her for one of Deenie’s swim instructors. Carla, the graduate student in kinesiology who always teased him about needing a haircut.

    It’s not out of place. I mean, I know perfectly well that middle-aged men (and let’s be honest, most men in general) have sexual thoughts about pubescent women, but I just found it very creepy and odd reading about it in a book where it felt out of place.

    His son Eli, is somewhat a school stud. All the girls line up for him, he gets constant texts to hook up, and he is oddly conscious about his sister’s sexuality. I don’t get the sense that it is incestuous, and again, I understand that this sort of dynamic will probably exist between siblings of similar age, but not having a male sibling, I can only imagine. It’s still pretty weird.

    There’d be those moments he was forced to think about her not just as Deenie but as the girl whose slender tank tops hung over the shower curtain. Like bright streamers, like the flair the cheerleaders threw at games.

    And when he’s having sex in the room next to his sister, he’s conscious of her, in the next room.

    Since then, he could only ever think about his sister, one wall away. And how he hoped Deenie never did things like this. With guys like him.

    So why not just avoid the situation, man. And he sees sexuality in his sister’s eyes, the way another boy would see her.

    But she didn’t realize what they saw, looking back at her: a girl, lips slightly parted, her head tilted hungrily. What they saw was I’m ready. Let’s go.

    Again, I don’t have a sibling, but I can’t say I’ve ever looked at my sister in any kind of way and imagine a guy interpreting sexuality through her facial expression. It’s far too much.

    And geez, Eli’s stud status is so overemphasized in this book. He gets a ton of texts from girls wanting to hook up and sending him PIXXXX.

    Eli Nash looked at the text for a long time, and at the photo that had come with it. A girl’s bare midriff.
    Eli, for you xxxx!

    His dad notices that he ignores the flocks of girls coming after him, and makes a note in his mind that it makes his son even more popular. He has to fend off the number of girls who just want to spread their legs for him.

    Did she want him to text her back, invite her over? To sneak her into his bedroom and nudge her shaky, pliant legs apart until he was through?

    Hell, even his sister Deenie falls victim to Eli’s promiscuous ways. It’s pretty gross, she receives lewd text messages meant for him.

    One of the texts had said—Deenie never forgot it—my pussy aches for u. It had to have been the worst thing she’d ever read. She’d read it over and over before deleting it.

    She also overhears him having sex in the next room. Ugh.

    Once, a few weeks ago, she’d heard a girl’s voice in there and wondered if it was porn on the computer until she could tell it wasn’t. She heard the voice say Eli’s name. E-liiii.

    I understand that sex is a normal thing, but in this book, it just felt squicky and out of place. There was really not much point for it in the narrative, other than a break from the constant monotony.

    I just really don’t have a lot to say about this book. It was tremendously dull. All the characters were pretty dumb. The teenagers are nitwits. The mystery was a letdown. There’s a tremendous amount of misogyny, too, because both the Tom and his son Eli don’t seem to have a good opinion about any females in the book besides their daughter and sister.

    He could tell she was the kind of woman who told men what they wanted to hear. That didn’t strike him as a bad thing, even though he knew it should.


    …more

    karen

    Jan 23, 2014

    rated it
    really liked it

    oh, megan abbott.

    she does such a good job of writing bad girls.

    i have loved her neo-noir books with their saucy femmes fatales, but her last three books have all been contemporary fiction spilling all the secrets of mean girls and their strategies or laying bare the dark side of the modern teenage girl’s coming of age and entrée into sexuality. this one does both.

    it’s a crawly story of an epidemic that begins plaguing the girls, and only the girls, of one suburban high school, causing seizures

    she does such a good job of writing bad girls.

    i have loved her neo-noir books with their saucy femmes fatales, but her last three books have all been contemporary fiction spilling all the secrets of mean girls and their strategies or laying bare the dark side of the modern teenage girl’s coming of age and entrée into sexuality. this one does both.

    it’s a crawly story of an epidemic that begins plaguing the girls, and only the girls, of one suburban high school, causing seizures, hallucinations, and a community-wide panic. is it a result of the polluted lake nearby, with its urban legends and fluorescent algae? is it a side effect of the HPV vaccination to which the girls have been strongly encouraged to submit? or is it something more insidious and supernatural in nature? the not-knowing is what drives this story, as more and more girls succumb, while the boys treat it all like one grand joke.

    “You’re all going down.” The other boy laughed, beats thrumming through the open mouths of his headphones. “One by one.”

    which is echoed by deenie’s earlier observation about the loss of virginity amongst the other girls in the school:

    Sexual debut. Sometimes it seemed to Deenie that high school was like a long game of And Then There Were None. Every Monday, another girl’s debut.

    in this way, the epidemic seems to be tied in some way to female sexuality, as the novel keeps emphasizing the onset of the illness with the sexual histories of the girls. deenie has just lost her virginity, unexpectedly, to someone she feels guilty about having attracted. as her closest friends are taken ill, she keeps her secret, feeling that it is all somehow her fault as she remains unaffected.

    it’s a tight and haunting story as the situation escalates, and abbott does a fantastic job creating the life of a close-knit community and its secrets and crimes. as we learn more about the people making up the community; the social and sexual politics of high school girls, the long-incubated romantic yearnings, the failures of parents and the helplessness of a town in crisis, the story becomes much larger than i had anticipated, and once again she has managed to convey perfectly that particular minefield that is adolescence. another dark and bloody gem from megan abbott. if you have never read her, it’s time to remedy that.
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    Kemper

    (I received an ARC of this from NetGalley for this review.)

    The whole time I was reading this I had to fight the urge to walk around imitating Christopher Walken from that famous Saturday Night Live skit. “I got a FEVER and the only prescription is more Megan Abbott!”

    Sorry. I had to get that out of my system….

    Deenie Nash is a pretty typical American teenage girl. She lives with her school teacher father Tom and her brother Eli. After her best friend Lise has a seizure in class followed by more gi

    The whole time I was reading this I had to fight the urge to walk around imitating Christopher Walken from that famous Saturday Night Live skit. “I got a FEVER and the only prescription is more Megan Abbott!”

    Sorry. I had to get that out of my system….

    Deenie Nash is a pretty typical American teenage girl. She lives with her school teacher father Tom and her brother Eli. After her best friend Lise has a seizure in class followed by more girls becoming violently ill, a wave of hysteria rises which makes all of them examine what they thought they knew about the people around them.

    Megan Abbott showed her impressive noir chops in great books like The Song Is You and Queenpin, and in her more recent work (Dare Me) she’s been illustrating how the inner lives and social circles of teenage girls can be a darker and scarier topic than mob-owned night clubs or the seamier side of Hollywood. She’s outdone herself in The Fever by starting with a simple premise of a mysterious illness causing panic, and then using it to touch the variety of things that would come up in any teenage girl’s life. When Deenie is jealous of her friend Gabbie’s new relationship with the odd Skye or struggling to understand her adolescent sexual urges or angry at her mother for leaving her father it makes adult reader remember the confused emotionality that goes along with teenagers.

    What impressed me even more than her ability to put us inside the head of a teenage girl was how Ms. Abbott also nails the male side of the equation. Tom is a single dad trying to do his best for his kids but still constantly feels like he’s failing them in one way or another. Eli is a handsome hockey star who is bewildered by the attention he gets from girls, but that doesn’t stop him from occasionally hooking up with one of them. Tom and Eli often regard Deenie and her friends as mysterious creatures best observed from some distance.

    Another terrific aspect is how authentic the reaction of the community is portrayed. Parents embracing conspiracy theories based on no evidence and pointing fingers at school administrators and government health workers is exactly the kind of irrational and panic-stricken total bat-shit freak-out that would occur.

    Mystery illness, paranoia, teenage angst, high school politics, sex, divorce, environmental issues, social media gossip…… This book has something for everyone and proves once again that if you aren’t reading Megan Abbott, you should be.

    Also posted at Kemper’s Book Blog.
    …more