Thursday, January 23, 2014

REVIEW: HYSTERIA by Megan Miranda

Title: Hysteria
Author: Megan Miranda
Publisher: Walker Children’s
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Genres: YA, Suspense, Psychological Thriller
Reviewed by: Angie Edwards
My rating: 3/5


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.


Well, well, well. This was at least something a little different. Part mystery, part suspense, and part psychological thriller, I was captivated yet thoroughly confused by this story. So much so, I still can’t figure out whether I loved it or hated it. I feel rather “meh” about it, actually. In the end, everything makes sense once you get the complete picture, but to get to that point you first have to survive a somewhat tiresome journey with a very exasperating protagonist who tends to run from the merest mention of confrontation.

The main thing I did enjoy about Hysteria is that it is loaded with mystery and suspense. You don’t know why Mallory killed Brian. This is only revealed near the end when everything comes together. The author did a magnificent job keeping the reader guessing as to whether Mallory is being haunted or whether she’s just plain crazy. To complicate matters even more, add in three evil girls, a psychotic boy, a stalker, Mallory’s parents’ fear of her, and everyone at her new prep school keeping their distance from her, and you have a hotbed of creepiness and tension to see you through to the end of the book.

It seems I’ve read quite a lot of books since the start of this year in which the characters and I struggle to form a connection. With that said, Hysteria is no exception. Mallory was such a depressing character I felt as though I was swathed in a dark cloud of doom while reading her story. On the bright side, that gloominess added to the atmosphere in the book. Nevertheless, I didn’t feel anything for any of the characters, but what stood out for me was the close bond between Mallory and her best friend, Colleen. They have a friendship I envy, and that friendship is their saving grace for both of them when push literally comes to shove. I also felt good about how things turned out for Mallory and her mother when she needed her most.

There’s a little romance, but nothing to write home about. Of course, I was grateful that the romance formed only a miniscule part of the story.

Apart from it being an entirely confusing read, my other issue with Hysteria is that it builds up the anticipation to the point where you’re starting to lose patience; and once all the plot points starts forming the larger picture, the big reveal is rather anticlimactic and that was hugely disappointing for me because after all that build-up, I expected something spectacular. 

Thankfully this is a stand-alone and not the first in a series. It would’ve been a disaster if the author chose to drag it out even more. If you’re new to mysteries and thrillers, this might be a book you’ll enjoy. The writing is good and the suspense is riveting. Though Hysteria ended up disappointing me with its mediocre big reveal, it is still a book I’d recommend to readers of the YA genre, and I’ll certainly read more of Megan Miranda’s books.



Megan is a scientist - turned - teacher - turned - stay-at-home-mom - turned - writer. She is not nearly as indecisive as she sounds. She lives near Charlotte, North Carolina, where she volunteers as an MIT Educational Counselor, does the mom thing by day, and writes by night.

Her first novel, FRACTURE, was published in January 2012 by Walker/Bloomsbury. HYSTERIA, a YA psychological thriller, will be published in February 2013. VENGEANCE, a companion/sequel to FRACTURE, will follow in 2014.

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