Reading like a Writer | The Fever

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Join me as I explore books that didn’t meet my expectations – for better or worse. Spoilers, obvi.

The Fever by Megan Abbott

About this Book

I adore Megan Abbott. I enjoyed The End of Everything and loved Dare Me. When I read the synopsis for The Fever, I knew it would be a must-read:

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.

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).

Here’s what I didn’t expect. The book is about an epidemic among teenagers at a local high school. The last books of hers were told from a young woman’s perspective. And while authors can, will, and should change up their use of voice, I wasn’t expecting the plot from all three of the Nash family members’ perspectives.

Reading like a Writer Lesson

Seeing events unfold from Tom’s, Eli’s, and Deenie’s viewpoints worked well because Abbott captured them as unique individuals. She presents a range of voices, each representing unique motivations and perspectives. For example, Tom is the literal and figurative father figure, allowing the reader to see events from an “adult” perspective. Eli, meanwhile, serves in a male gaze capacity, which gives him different access to the dynamics of the teenage girls – the very population mysteriously afflicted. Deenie is our “boots on the ground” character, in the thick of the action. Each character wants to find out what is happening, but their “why” is unique – and coupled with lenses and roles, every section allows the mystery to deepen more.

Disagree? Want to know more? Leave a comment and let me know!

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