Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review: Hysteria by Megan Miranda

Thursday, January 31, 2013 with 9 comments
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Title: Hysteria
Author: Megan Miranda
Series: stand-alone
Publisher: Walker Childrens/Bloomsbury
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Source: from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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.

I kind of loved Megan Miranda's debut novel Fracture when I read it early last year, so I had pretty high hopes for Hysteria, despite seeing a lot of mixed reviews for it.  But I know what resonates with me as a reader, and I rarely go wrong with psychological thrillers, so I maintained those high expectations.  I just knew that I would enjoy this novel, and I'm not at all surprised that I was right.  That's the price you pay for being an insufferable can't surprise yourself anymore.  =)

The author has a background in science, and it shows in both Fracture and Hysteria, in the way she presents the story in a slightly clinical manner.  I can see why that would be off-putting for some readers, but I love it.  Science and the paranormal weave together in this story to create a narrative that is both emotionally gripping yet able to confound the reader into suspecting everyone.  I also love the use of flashbacks and half-dreams throughout the story to impart secrets or otherwise hidden knowledge.  While some aspects of the mystery were easy to speculate upon, others remained elusive till the bitter end.

So, normally I need to really feel a connection to the main characters in order to truly enjoy a novel, but in this case -- and with Fracture, if I really think about it -- the mystery itself was the aspect I was most drawn to, and since it encompassed a big percentage of the storyline, it made the fact that I wasn't completely enthralled with the characters a little easier.  That's not to say that the characters weren't likeable or relatable; they simply won't go down as my favorite characters or anything.  And that's okay with me.

The relationships in the book balance out the characters in such a way that I was able to overlook a lot of character flaws.  Like the fact that given a chance, Mallory would rather run than face her problems.  Every single time.  She did a lot of running in this story.  But her friendship with Colleen put us back on even footing.  Because even though Mallory wasn't ready to meet her own problems head-on, she would do anything for her best friend, including fighting Colleen's battles if need be...and vice-versa.  The fact that there was such a strong, solid friendship at the center of this story really compensated for any of the shortcomings it might have had.

There's a bit of romance in this book.  Nothing earth-shattering, and no love triangles, but we do get to witness two (three?) very different relationships in Mallory's life...all within the last six months.  These relationships are all equally important to the story.  It isn't all about the murdered boyfriend but rather about the repercussions.  It's about the memories, the ability to determine reality from the imagined.  It's about the friendships and relationships that survive and the ones that don't.

Hysteria is a stark look at how one night, one choice, can change the course of  your life.  Full of heartbreak, betrayal, and guilt, it's a slightly gritty contemporary with a paranormal vibe, and if you enjoyed Fracture, I can almost guarantee you'll like this book, as well.  In fact, I can't think of a reason why I wouldn't recommend this novel to someone.

Rating:   photo 4-1.png


  1. I've been really curious about your thoughts. I know you loved Fracture. I did too. A lot if people who liked Fractire didn't like Hysteria as much. I honestly think it sounds great, so I'll give it a try at some point.
    Great review.

  2. I like how you said the mystery is what you were most drawn too. I agree, sometimes something really good like that can make it easy to overlook less character development. I can't wait to read this! It's up next. Great review! :)

  3. Well now I am confused. You and Michele usually like the same books, but she did not like this one. I enjoyed Fracture but thought it lacked a bit of originality. Still I like a good psychological thriller so I might check this out. Thanks for the honest review. I am glad to see that someone liked this one!

  4. You know, I hesitated about reading this series because I'd seen some mixed reviews for the first one. I do love mysteries, though, and knowing you liked the second book enough to give it 4 stars is very promising! Thanks for the review, Jen. :)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  5. I've seen so many mixed reviews for this book, but I'm beginning to think I would really enjoy it. I love a good mystery, and like you, I'm a fan of scientific reasoning backing up the paranormal elements. Wonderful review! :-)

  6. Glad the relationships balanced out the character flaws. I have looked at this one but not sure it is for me.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  7. I haven't heard of book before, it sounds pretty interesting. I am not a big mystery book fan but I might give this one a try? Thanks for the review!

    Just started following you. Maybe you can stop by my page and maybe follow back?

  8. I haven't finished writing my review so will just skim this, but thanks for the chat :)

  9. I was happy to see the lack of a love triangle in this one. :) I also enjoyed the friendship between Colleen and Mallory. And I'd have to agree, Mallory did run... A LOT! I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the book, Jen! :)


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