Review: Hysteria – Megan Miranda

Cover of Hysteria by Megan Miranda

Title: Hysteria
Author: Megan Miranda
Publication date: February 14, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
Format: Ebook
Length: 353 pages
Genre: Mystery
Age group: Young Adult
Source: Netgalley
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository


Mallory’s life is falling apart. Her boyfriend was stabbed. He bled to death in her kitchen. Mallory was the one who stabbed him. But she can’t remember what happened that night. She only remembers the fear . . .

When Mallory’s parents send her away to a boarding school, she thinks she can escape the gossip and the threats. But someone, or something, has followed her. There’s the hand that touches her shoulder when she’s drifting off to sleep. A voice whispering her name. And everyone knows what happened. So when a pupil is found dead, Mallory’s name is on their lips. Her past can be forgotten but it’s never gone. Can Mallory live with that?

My thoughts

I read Fracture, Megan Miranda’s debut this time last year and fell in love with her writing instantly. The plot was fast-paced, the characters relatable and there literally wasn’t one dull moment in the story. So when I first saw that the author had a new book coming out this year, I knew I was in for a treat.

If I had to pick one thing I love about Miranda’s books it would definitely be her ability to grab my attention right away, right at the very beginning. Three sentences in and I’m already hooked – and not everyone can do that. Her ability to create suspense and keep you in the dark until the very end is definitely one of the reasons why I enjoy her books so much and why I’ll keep reading them in the future. And this is exactly how I felt about Hysteria.

It was really creepy. I loved the fact that it’s impossible to tell whether what the main character goes through – the dead boy’s mum following her wherever she goes, a mysterious hand pressing down on her shoulder when she goes to sleep and the red fingerprints and bleeding blisters on her skin the next day –  is only her imagination or if it’s reality. I was prepared for the worst – when Mallory leaves for the boarding school and needs to spend her nights in a dorm room totally alone I was convinced someone would try to kill her. I kept thinking what on earth might have happened to make Mallory kill this guy and the way Miranda describes the terror she’s felt everyday since the murder is great. The way the author works with flashbacks and how Mallory’s past is embedded into the present story worked really well as well and I think it was perfect for the book.

My only problem with this novel is that I just can’t not compare it to the author’s previous book. While Miranda’s writing style is brilliant and equally captivating in both stories and I found her characters relatable and realistic in both of her books, I just didn’t find Hysteria as fast-paced as Fracture and when it all came to an end, it fell a bit flat for me. I think I  was waiting for a heart-pounding showdown or some huge, dark secret and when it didn’t happen, I felt a bit let down. Just a tiny bit. I kept thinking ‘that’s it?‘. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the book. But if I had to pick between Fracture and this story, Fracture would win by a mile.

Having said that, did I enjoy the book? Immensely. Did the author manage to hold my attention and make me keep on reading? Absolutely. Will I pick up her next book? Without a doubt. Hysteria is a great story by a wonderfully talented author whose writing style is definitely one of my favourites among young adult novelists. If you like mysteries and young adult fiction (and the combination of the two), Miranda’s work is a good place to start.


“My mother hid the knife block. In hindsight, that was the first sign. And then, two nights ago, she locked her bedroom door. It had to be subconscious, but still, I didn’t want to think too hard about what she was secretly thinking. I guess that was the second sign. And now there was a suitcase on my bed. Which wasn’t really a sign at all. It was the actual event.”

4,5 stars
*Many thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of this book*


    • says

      Same here – I wasn’t really keen on the ending (and I’m not sure I liked the boarding school setting either) but her writing style is still one of my favourites among YA writers so I ended up enjoying it. I’m sure you’ll love Fracture, though – most people seemed to love it. :)

  1. says

    I’ve been reading some pretty mixed reviews about HYSTERIA lately, but I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed it! Oh, high creepiness levels are always a plus in my book, and based on your descriptions, I think HYSTERIA is a story to be feared. 😛 A bit anxious about the anti-climax, though, but overall, looking forward to getting my hands on this!

    Lovely review, Vicky!
    Megan K. recently posted..5 Lovely, Bookish WordsMy Profile

    • says

      Yeah, lots of people gave it three or two stars :( But I don’t think it’s that bad… The anti-climax thing bothered me a little bit because I was waiting for a stronger, more heart-racing ending but the writing (almost) makes up for it. Almost. 😀

    • says

      So am I! :) It doesn’t always work, though. I’ve read quite a few books where it just didn’t really work out as it should have, but Hysteria is great in this respect. You’ve seriously no idea if it’s real or if it’s just her imagination and it makes the story even creepier.

    • says

      Oh :( I’m the exact opposite – I loved Fracture but wasn’t really keen on Hysteria’s ending (although the writing is still brilliant and Megan is definitely one of my favourite YA writers). I hope you enjoy this one!

    • says

      That’s a good plan – most people who didn’t like this book and gave it only two stars have already read Fracture, so maybe if you read Hysteria first you’ll end up loving it. :) I did like it, or at least enjoyed it a lot more than most people, it seems – but I wasn’t a big fan of the ending and the last few chapters.

  2. says

    I’m so pleased to hear this book was a winner (especially because I requested it on Netgalley). I’ve never read anything by Miranda before so I have no basis of comparison, which, I suppose is a good thing. I like the idea of making the reader question the sanity and validity of the main character’s mental well-being, it’s very “Black Swan.” I can’t wait to find out if/why she killed her BF!
    Nikki @ Foil the Plot recently posted..Book Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan & John GreenMy Profile

    • says

      It is – most of the reviews I’ve read mentioned how good the author’s writing style is so maybe if you have no basis of comparison you’ll end up loving it more than we did. :) It’s still a page-turner and I still love Megan’s style, though, even if I wasn’t keen on the ending. Hope you enjoy it! x

  3. says

    I’ve seen this book around quite a bit. I think I’ll have to add it to the list. I love spooky books, so hopefully this’ll be a good one. I like this cover a bit more than the US version. Glad you enjoyed it :)
    Felicia recently posted..In My Mailbox!My Profile

    • says

      Yeah, I know – I’m gutted the ending fell a bit flat. :( But the writing was still amazing which definitely made up for it.

      PS. you could check Netgalley – that’s where I requested it from, although I’m not sure if it’s still available or not.

      Have you found any flats yet? :) xxx

        • says

          It was pretty fast-paced and REALLY scary at times so I’d say give it a try. I really enjoyed it (apart from being a tiny bit disappointed with the ending).

          Oh! Are you staying in Alton, then? I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you two – hope you find something nice and reasonably priced soon. xxx

  4. says

    I’ve read a few bad reviews of this one, and I almost gave up on it. But now, after reading your review, I decided that I DO want to read it! I love books that hook me right from the first page. I also love creepy stories that can keep me up all night!
    Great review. I love your blog!!! So happy I found it (:

    I would love it if you check out mine too. Thank you ^^
    Sapir @ Diary of a Wimpy Teen Girl

    • says

      So have I but don’t let that put you off! :) Megan is a great writer and I absolutely love her style. The ending might not have been as strong as Fracture’s was but it’s a good book all the same. :) I hope you enjoy it (if you decide to give it a try)

      And thank you so much, that’s so lovely! I’ll make sure to stop by your blog asap. xxxxx

  5. says

    The book sounds great (and her first one too) will have to check them both out. Since I need to read a few books that came out this year and also I have never read Megan Miranda, I think I will read Hysteria for my challenge.
    I seems to me that it is getting harder to find a book that when you are done, so is the story.
    I find the enjoyment of reading the book is the best. When you look forward to reading than you know the book and the writer are good, that you have made the right choice to read!

    Alice M (Aj) recently posted..Review: Further:Beyond the Threshold by Chris RobersonMy Profile

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