The Fever

Little, Brown. 2014. 240p. ISBN 9780316231053. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316231022. F
OrangeReviewStarIt begins when Lise Daniels starts convulsing in math class. Her horrified classmates, including her friend Deenie Nash, watch as she crashes to the floor. That evening, Lise enters the hospital after another violent seizure. Soon more girls at the high school begin falling ill and the questions begin. Is this the result of the HPV vaccines all the schoolgirls received? The polluted lake water in which some of the victims took a forbidden dip? Or is it something more sinister—and why is it only happening to the girls? Tension mounts in the suburban community, and rumors spread like wildfire. Deenie searches for answers, beginning with a look at her closest friends and their evolving relationships, while her schoolteacher father and hockey-playing brother confront uncomfortable truths about themselves.
VERDICT Abbott's seventh novel (after Dare Me) may be her best so far. It has elements of David Lynch, Shirley Jackson, and the best of Stephen King but in a voice all her own. The sinuous, liquid prose is evocative and startling, and Abbott's ability to delve into teenagers' psyches is true and clear. For fans of the author and those who like Laura Lippman's stand-alones, dark YA, and suburban noir. [See Prepub Alert, 1/6/14; see also "Books for the Masses: Editors BEA Picks," LJ 7/14, p. 30.]
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