Friday, 8 March 2013

Review - Hysteria by Megan Miranda

By Megan Miranda
Bloomsbury, 352 pages
Published: February 14th 2013

"You wanted him.
You needed him.
You killed him.

Life can change in an instant.
Fear can take you to the very edge.

Mallory's old life is dead. Her boyfriend is gone; his blood washed from the kitchen tiles. Still it stains her mind. She can't ever go back.

Monroe Prep School is her new start. But everyone thinks they know what happened that night.
They think they know her. They don't.

Secrets are deadly.
Secrets are the only real currency".

- From the book

4 out of 5

Hysteria, simply, blew me away. Just when I thought it was heading in one direction, Miranda would make a u-turn and head in a completely different direction. Sometimes this was confusing as hell, but on the whole, it just added to the suspense and thrill of the ride, emulating Mallory's thought process. There were some things that I saw coming, but that wasn't a disappointment. Actually it was a nice change of pace, to know what was going on for a change, in addition to upping the tension. You know what's about to happen, and are willing the characters to figure it out too before it's too late.

There are two storylines running almost simultaneously in Hysteria, which compliment as opposed to distract from each other, and the ending does a great job of tying all those loose ends together. I know the ending will please some readers but may disappoint others. I was in the former category. There are several unnerving scenes of bloody handprints which definitely upped the tension throughout, and those combined with a series of flashbacks to the events before Mallory came to boarding school give us just enough to keep questioning what the heck is goings on.

The characters were engaging and believable, and their reactions to specific events were very realistic. Mallory herself is a contradiction in terms. Brave but shattered, she has been through something traumatic, and as intended, she sometimes comes across as slightly unhinged. Like Mallory, we are kept guessing as to what is real, and Miranda does a fantastic job of keeping us guessing.
There is romance there, it was sweet and just what you'd expect from the characters, but it was more in the background than upfront, which I think in this case was the way to go, leaving the main focus to be Mallory's struggle with right and wrong, real and not real.

I'm not sure what else I can say without giving any of the story away, but if you're looking for a creepy, Soul Survivors type of psychological thriller, then this is the book for you.


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