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. (from GoodReads)
So obviously everyone (including myself) is going to compare Hysteria with Megan Miranda's first novel, Fracture. They both have similar tones, feature the paranormal, and involve death. It's hard to say which one I liked more because both have their flaws, but I can say that I enjoyed reading Hysteria.
Since the two books are so similar, I have to do a small comparison. My main issue with Fracture (which I really liked), was that there was too much going on and not enough space for all the subplots to be developed and resolved. That problem isn't as prevalent in Hysteria because the author has cut down on the extra subplots. Even so, there are still a few storylines running throughout the novel: the flashbacks to before, during and after the homicide; the person who is following/harassing Mallory; her relationship with Reid; and the conflict between Mallory, Jason and Krista. Hopefully by the next book we can have a story with only one or two subplots! Even with all that was going on, the book was paced pretty evenly and the flashbacks were definitely appropriate. The death of Brian was so mysterious and I really wanted to know more. How could a sixteen-year-old stab someone in her own house? Was that really her only option? I'm still not sure of the answer.
Megan Miranda does a great job of creating a spooky atmosphere in both her books. I can't even imagine living in the house where I killed someone and I got the chills every time the author described the kitchen where the incident occurred. Even when Mallory leaves for boarding school, the feeling that something is watching her continues and Miranda effectively conveys the unease that Mallory frequently experiences. Weird things happen to Mallory, like a bruise on her shoulder in the shape of hand and you don't know if it's real or in her mind.
I seriously couldn't put this down because I wanted to know who was harassing Mallory. Was it Brian's ghost from beyond the grave? Or something more human? I think readers will be satisfied by the answer.
Overall I really enjoyed Hysteria and can't see what other creepy things Megan Miranda is going to write about next.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library.
2013/Walker Childrens/336 pages.