- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
- Format: Paperback | 352 pages
- Dimensions: 129mm x 198mm x 22mm | 249g
- Publication date: 14 February 2013
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 1408834847
- ISBN 13: 9781408834848
- Sales rank: 154,482
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?
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Megan Miranda is the author of Fracture. She studied biology and anthropology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she twice won a coveted award for research in bioengineering. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children. www.meganmiranda.com
By Sarah Elizabeth 01 Mar 2013
(I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing Plc and Netgalley.)
Mallory has been having a hard time of things, and the sleeping tablets aren't really helping. Every time she looks at her kitchen she's feels it throbbing, and every time she closes her eyes, she hears the boom, boom, boom of a heartbeat.
This is all because of an incident that left her boyfriend Brian stabbed and bleeding to death on her kitchen floor. An incident that Mallory can't even really remember properly. All she knows is that she killed him, and now she has to learn to live with it.
Now though, Mallory's parents are sending her to boarding school for a fresh start, although to Mallory it feels more like a punishment. Why has the noise of the beating heart continue to haunt her though? And why does she still feel Brian's presence? Has Brian's mother followed her to her new school? And what about the nightmares that seem shockingly real?
This was a good book. Totally one of those that keeps you up late cause you want to find out what happens next.
Mallory was an interesting character, but she was also a bit of a mystery, mainly because there was so little information surrounding the event that ultimately defined Mallory's life at the time of the story. We know that Brian died, we know that Mallory stabbed him, but that's all we know. Memories are revisited during the course of the book, which shed a little more light on what happened, but it's never 100% clear why Mallory stabbed him, or exactly what took place.
To be honest, I really did not understand why Mallory had actually stabbed Brian, and I did wonder if she was maybe a little crazy. Mallory most reminded me of Mara Dyer from 'The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer', who I also thought needed psychiatric help. Even having finished the book I'm not sure if Mallory over-reacted a bit when she killed Brian. Things just weren't clear enough from Mallory's memories to really explain what happened that night, which was a little disappointing.
This 'WTF is going on?' theme then continues once Mallory gets to boarding school. She has weird episodes where she may or may not be dreaming, and senses strange things. There's also real-life things that are happening to Mallory, where it is also unclear who or what is the culprit, and when disaster strikes again, Mallory once more finds herself in the firing line.
This sense of mystery keeps going throughout the whole book, and right up until the end it is unclear how and why certain events have occurred.
I think my favourite character was Mallory's best friend Colleen, who was so loyal and would do absolutely anything to protect Mallory, which was exactly what Mallory needed. Colleen was an amazing friend to Mallory, and I was glad that Mallory actually appreciated her, and felt the same way back.
Mallory's mother was a bit of an odd one too. She seemed to be coping pretty badly with coming to terms with what Mallory had done, which you can't really blame her for, although I think that Mallory really needed her mother's support to come to terms with things herself, so her mother being a bit absent emotionally really didn't help.
Mallory being sent away to boarding school felt like the right decision to me. Although she hated the idea, I can't see how sticking around in a town where everybody treats you like a murderer, and your victim's mother has it in for you, would have really helped.
Overall; I enjoyed this book, and the mystery element was done really well. I would have liked things to be a little clearer by the end though.
7.5 out of 10.
By Shelley Cusbert 14 Feb 2013
With it's intriguing premise, and having enjoyed Megan Miranda's debut novel, Fracture, I had been looking forward to reading Hysteria.
Mallory remembers fear, and blood, so much blood, but very few of the details about the night she killed her boyfriend. Though the consensus is she acted in self defense, her parents can barely look at her and his family stalks her in the streets. To escape the condemnation Mallory agrees to go to boarding school, hoping that she will also leave behind the vivid flashes of horror that haunts her.
Hysteria starts strongly and builds around Mallory's inability to recall the circumstances that led to Brian bleeding out on her kitchen floor. Anxious, ashamed and guilt-ridden, when the nightmares that plague her each night begin to bleed into her waking life she is certain that her dead boyfriend is seeking revenge. Miranda's artfully slow reveal of details kept me off balance, just as I was convinced a ghost would reveal itself it would retreat in the cold light of day. I enjoyed this uncertainty, the blurring between reality and dream and the ever present sense of unease.
The author also creates another layer of mystery involving the school headmaster's son and his cousin who trade in nasty secrets. Their hidden agenda becomes tangled in Mallory's fear and confusion with deadly results.
I have to admit that in some ways I felt the author succumbed to the YA fiction stereotypes she deftly avoided in Fracture - a love triangle, a beautiful blonde mean girl, a quirky, super supportive best friend and minimal adult supervision. For me these elements weakened what is otherwise a well crafted and creative plot.
Hysteria is in essence a psychological thriller but it straddles the genres of contemporary mystery and paranormal fiction and should appeal to young adult fans of both.