Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Walker Childrens
Source: ARC from ALA
Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian. She can’t remember the details of that night but everyone knows it was self-defense, so she isn’t charged. But Mallory still feels Brian’s presence in her life. Is it all in her head? Or is it something more? In desperate need of a fresh start, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a fancy prep school where no one knows her . . . or anything about her past.But the feeling follows her, as do her secrets. Then, one of her new classmates turns up dead. As suspicion falls on Mallory, she must find a way to remember the details of both deadly nights so she can prove her innocence-to herself and others.
In another riveting tale of life and death, Megan Miranda’s masterful storytelling brings readers along for a ride to the edge of sanity and back again.
So in case you didn’t know, I love Fracture by Megan Miranda. I thought it was brilliant and when I heard that there is going to be a sequel, I did a happy, nerdy dance. I picked up a copy of the ARC of Hysteria from ALA and I am part of the blog tour. Hopefully, I will remember to list the tour stops at the end of the review but just ask me in case I don’t.
Anyway, moving on to the novel.
To be completely honest with you, I am still a bit uncertain about how I feel. This book is compulsively readable – Miranda’s prose still has the ability to suck me in and keep me reading. The novel is relatively short and I managed to finish it in three hours. But then again, I read inordinately fast where aesthetic reading is concerned. Heh. The pacing of the novel is very fast, perhaps too fast, and I think there were moments when the novel would have benefited from a slower pace and a bit more detail.
Mallory has killed her boyfriend. That much we know. The details of the night are purposefully left blank and it is only as the novel progresses that we become aware that there is more to the story. (Obviously.) The thing is, the more I found out about Mallory, the more I disliked her. Or rather, if not an active dislike, I felt indifferent to her. It became difficult for me to sympathize and/or even empathize with her. There are two distinct narratives taking place. The whole boyfriend killing and the boarding school drama. There are characters introduced but their motivations remain blurry. They are not as individuated as I would have liked.
Why Mallory is sent away from her parents when she needs them most gave me pause. Why isn’t she seeing a shrink – would the court not make that mandatory? Wouldn’t that be good parenting? I mean, I was convinced by Mallory’s perceptions of her parent’s rejection – that was well done but I still think the premise would have made more sense had there been a longer period of time between the boyfriend killing and the boarding school attending.
The romance doesn’t impress me too much here which is too bad because Decker from Fracture was kind of awesome. I think the problem here is that there were too many boys. The narrative began reaching for a crucial problem but then would falter and introduce another factor. It also seemed ridiculous to me that Mallory would make the moves on a guy at his father’s funeral and then be hurt when she is pushed away. I mean, come on now, his dad had just died! There were more things on his mind that a relationship, ya know? The ending is also a tad confused and seems a bit cobbled together though this just may be because I was reading the ARC copy. I wasn’t satisfied by the whole resolution to the boyfriend killing mystery either – it just seemed a bit antic-climactic after all the building up it had received.
I think the best thing about this novel was the friendship between Mallory and her best friend. It was heartwarming and satisfied all my yearnings for true portrayal of sisterhood in YA novels. There was actual friendship and the best friend wasn’t used as a willing ear to hear the many problems of the protagonist and I appreciated that.
In conclusion, this is a mixed bag of nuts, you guys. Some of you may appreciate it more than others. I was entertained by this novel but I cannot in good conscience say I was swept away by it. I think you’ll have to make up own your mind about this one as I am truly conflicted about my own feelings. However, I can safely assert that Miranda’s writing style is fresh and engaging and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next (other than the sequel to Fracture!).