Author: Megan Miranda
Publication date: February 14, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
Length: 353 pages
Age group: Young Adult
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?
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.”