Official Stuff –
Author – Megan Abbott
Pages – 320
Publisher – Little, Brown and Company
Expected Release Date – June 17th, 2014
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 hocky 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.
My Rating – 4 of 5 stars
I received a free copy of this novel from Netgalley on behalf of Little, Brown and Company in exchange for a fair review.
The characters that tell the story are the Nashes, Tom, Eli, and Deenie. Tom is a single dad and a popular science teacher. He struggles with understanding his children. Eli, gorgeous hockey player that is completely confused by all the female attention he receives but doesn’t hesitate to use it to his advantage. And Deenie, good student with a close knit group of friends.
But the story really centers on Deenie, Lise, and Gabby, best friends, the two hanger-ons to their little group Kim and Skye, and the politics of being a girl in high school.
Deenie has just lost her virginity to someone she shouldn’t have. Out of guilt and shame, she skips meeting her longtime best friend, Lise at her locker before class. Deenie’s day only gets worse when Lise suddenly has a violent seizure during class.
Word spreads fast at school about Lise’s seizure, students took pictures and videos. When Lise is taken home, Deenie skips school to visit her, only to discover that she had another seizure at home and now she’s in a coma at the hospital.
At first, it’s just an isolated incident that makes the whole run rampant with rumors and theories. Then it hits Gabby in front of the whole school. Then Kim. One by one girls are having tics and seizures and blinking obsessively.
Though none are as bad as Lise, parents start freaking out. Some parents are convinced it’s the HPV vaccines. Some think it’s the toxic lake. They all want answers but the real answer is a lot more sinister.
I really enjoyed this book. It should a darker side of high school and friendships but in a realistic way. The jealousy of friends getting new friends and the awkwardness of becoming sexual. How rumors and assumptions can tear friendships apart. The boys of the high school spread rumors that’s it’s STDs. The sickness is very much tied to sexuality of the young girls in this book.
The book switches POVs between Tom, Eli, and Deenie quite a bit. Lots of fragmented sentences and short skipping paragraphs. The final reveal isn’t as dramatic as I had hoped but I still enjoyed it. There is a bit if an open hanging ending, which I never like.
A few years ago at a small town in my state a bunch of high school girls suddenly developed tics and seizures and it spread just to the girls and parents went rampant with accusations about HPV vaccines and environmental toxins. I guessed drugs but I’m a very cynical person. It was determined to be mass hysteria, last I checked. It was very similar to the characters in the book. It was very interesting to me.
So overall I liked the book. It had some minor flaws but I recommend!