The Nashes are a close-knit family. Tom is a popular teacher, father to two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend Lise is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure during class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.
As hysteria swells and more girls succumb, a series of tightly held secrets emerge, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.
The Fever offers a chilling story about guilt, family secrets, and the lethal power of desire.
The Fever is now being adapted for an MTV series with Sarah Jessica Parker's production company.
The Fever has been chosen as one of the best books of the year by Amazon, Kirkus, LA Review of Books, Grantland, the Boston Globe, the Globe & Mail, the Sun Sentinel, the Village Voice, Parade Magazine, School Library Journal and is one of NPR's favorite novels of the year.
"The book to beat… in the "Is it the next 'Gone Girl'?" sweepstakes" —Janet Maslin, New York Times
"The lives of teenage girls are dangerous, beautiful things in Abbott's stunning novel… Abbott expertly ratchet[s] up the suspense…nothing should be taken at fact value."—Kirkus, Starred Review
"The Fever holds true to its title: It's dark, disturbing, strangely beautiful and utterly unshakeable. Megan Abbott has created a mesmerizing, modern portrait of teenage life today: Brutal crushes, competing allegiances and first-bloom sensuality, all magnified by the rush and crush of technology." —Gillian Flynn
The Fever is loosely inspired by a recent outbreak in upstate New York, which received international media attention:
Megan's Huffington Post article about the true-life LeRoy, NY case
Mystery Illness (Time)
School baffled by 12 girls' mystery symptoms (Today Show)
What Happened to the Girls in Le Roy (New York Times)
14 Reads That Are Worth the Wait
"THE FEVER: An idyllic suburb is gripped by a bizarre epidemic as one teen after another begins suffering from unexplained seizures. JUNE"
For media inquiries:
Please contact Michelle Aielli at Little, Brown at 212-364-1223 or michelle.aielli (at) hbgusa.com
Deenie couldn't get the look on Lise's face out of her head.
Her eyes had shot open seconds after she fell.
"Why am I here?" Lise had whispered, blinking ferociously, back arched on the floor, her legs turned in funny ways, her skirt flown up to her waist, and Mrs. Chalmers shouting in the hallway for help.
It had taken two boys and Mr. Banasiak from the classroom next door to get her to her feet.
Deenie watched them steer her down the hall, her head resting on Billy Gaughan's linebacker shoulder, her long hair thick with floor dust.
"Deenie, no," Mrs. Chalmers said, taking her firmly by the shoulders. "You stay here."
But Deenie didn't want to stay. Didn't want to join the thrusting clutches of girls whispering behind their lockers, the boys watching Lise turn the corner, her skirt hitched high in the back, her legs bare despite the cold weather, the neon flare of her underpants.
"Deenie, I heard something." It was Gabby, sneaking up behind her in her sparkled low-riders. They never made any noise. "About you."
Gabby's face seemed filled with fresh knowledge, but there was no way she could know what Deenie had done the night before. Sean Lurie went to Star-of-the-Sea. People couldn't know.
"Did you hear what just happened to Lise?" Deenie countered, pivoting to look at her. "I was there. I saw it."
Gabby's eyebrows lifted and she held her books to her chest.
"What do you mean? What do you mean?" she repeated. "Tell me everything."
At first they wouldn't let her into the nurse's office.
"Deenie, her mother isn't even here yet," snipped Mrs. Harris, the head of something called facilities operations.
"My dad asked me to check on her," Deenie lied, Gabby nodding next to her.
The ruse worked, though not for Gabby, who, lacking my-father-is-a-teacher privileges, was dispatched immediately to second period.
"Find out everything," Gabby whispered as Mrs. Harris waved her out.
The nurse's office door was ajar and Deenie could hear Lise calling her name. Everyone could hear, teachers stopping at their mailboxes.
"Deenie," Lise cried out. "What did I do? Did I do something? Who saw?"
Peering in the open door, Deenie saw Lise keeling over on the exam table, her lips ribboned with drying froth, one shoe hanging from her foot. She wasn't wearing any tights, her legs goose-quilled and whiter than the paper sheet.
"She … she bit me." Nurse Tammy was holding her own forearm, which looked wet. She hadn't been working there long and, rumor was, a senior athlete with a sore knee had scored two Tylenol with codeines from her on her very first day.
"Deenie!" Head whipping around, Lise gripped the table edge beneath her thighs, and Nurse Tammy rushed forward, trying to help her.
"Deenie," she said. "What happened to me? Is everyone talking about it? Did they see what I did?"
Outside the nurse's office, Mrs. Harris was arguing with someone about something, the assistant principal's stern jock voice joining in.
"No one saw," Deenie said. "No way. Are you okay?"
But Lise couldn't seem to focus, her hands doing some kind of strange wobbling thing in front of her, like she was conducting an invisible concert.
"I...I..." she stuttered, her eyes panicked. "Are they laughing at me?"
Deenie wanted to say something reassuring. Lise's mother, vaguely hysterical under the best of circumstances, would be here any second, and she wanted to help while she could.
"No. Everyone saw your Hello Kitty undies, though," Deenie tried, smiling. "Watch the boys come now."
Copyright © 2014 by Megan Abbott
May 12, 2015
Back Bay Books
June 17, 2014
"Thrilling...a gripping story fueled by razor-sharp treachery, jealousy, hormones, and the insecurities of teenage girls."
(click on image below to see full article)
"A terrific psychological thriller... A reminder of the great P.D. James adage that the most dangerous emotion is love."
--Toronto Globe and Mail
Girl Trouble: The Fever reviewed in the Los Angeles Review of Books
"Artful...gripping...[An] award-winning author with exceptional gifts for making nerves jangle...[handled] expertly from the first page."
--New York Times Book Review
The Fever was one of "5 books for your summer reading list" on Fox New York nightly news.
"Beautifully written... The perfect summer read."