Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Won from author
"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."
Summary from Goodreads.Hysteria has a very eerie atmosphere, exemplified by the setting, a foggy boarding school set in the middle of the woods. Even the high school drama that takes place at this school has a sharper edge than in most contemporary novels. Add to this Mallory's mental deterioration- is she hallucinating, or is she truly imagining the ghosts that haunt her- and the plethora of flashbacks. These flashbacks are to the night of the murder, and serve as puzzle pieces. This is what had me a bit wary, as flashbacks tend to be tricky to do well, and in the beginning I wasn't crazy about them. As the story progressed, however, I became more and more interested in Mallory's memories and impressed by the dreamy, dark style in which Miranda wrote them.
Miranda's writing style drew me in more than any aspect of the story. Of course I was intrigued by the mystery, but there's just something about the way she writes that made me want to keep reading. The chapters are fairly short, as well, so Hysteria was a quick read.
Another aspect of this novel that added to the story was the characters. I wouldn't say that these characters feature any amazing development, but they're just interesting. You have your usual characters, the mean girls, the mean girls' lackey, the cute boy, the obnoxious athlete. But Miranda adds something to each character to make them new and fresh, especially the mean girls. Mallory herself is going through a lot of emotional trauma, but the reader can still get an idea of what she was like before she killed her boyfriend. She's still sarcastic and pretty cool, even as she struggles to reconcile her actions with everyday life.
In conclusion: Hysteria is a good read. The writing is addictive, the plot keeps you interested, and there's plenty of suspense. I can't say I have any real criticisms!
Other books by Megan Miranda: Fracture
Do you ever have a book that you like, but just don't love, even though there's nothing wrong with it?