Monday, 11 February 2013
Mallory's life is falling apart.
Her boyfriend was stabbed. He bled to death in her kitchen. Mallory was the one who stabbed him. But she can't remember what happened that night. She only remembers the fear...
When Mallory's parents send her away to a boarding school, she thinks she can escape the gossip and the threats. But someone, or something, has followed her. There's the hand that touches her shoulder when she's drifting off to sleep. A voice whispering her name. And everyone knows what happened. So when a pupil is found dead, Mallory's name is on their lips.
Her past can be forgotten but it's never gone. Can Mallory live with that?
As soon as I read the first line, I knew I'd been right.
It opens with "My mother hid the knife block. In hindsight, that was the first sign." We already know from the synopsis that the main character, Mallory, had stabbed and consequently killed her boyfriend, so when we read this first line, we're straight into the story - and I don't know about anyone else, but even though she killed her boyfriend, and that's obviously why she hid the knives, I felt immediately sorry for Mallory. I could imagine exactly how she must have felt, seeing that, and I was immediately sympathetic towards her.
This sympathy only increased as I learnt more about her situation - even though I didn't have all of the information to begin with, I couldn't help that feel Mallory was a victim, caught in a horrible situation, and ended up just making a mistake. I felt scared for her, but I also ended up admiring her character - if I'd been in her situation, I genuinely think I would have crumbled. It took such strength for her to carry on, when it seemed like everything was against her.
When Mallory arrived at Monroe, this was when the story really got going - up until that point, we'd just been filled in on the vague details of what had happened leading up to, and after, Brian's death. We do hear much more about this throughout the book, as Mallory remembers more and more of the details that she'd blocked out from that terrible night. From the frequency of these flashbacks, it's also clear that the memories haunt her, and I loved the way that they'd not only dribble new information into the story, but also keep it full of suspense. I had to keep reading until the next one, just to see if Mallory remembered anything else!
It's when she gets to Monroe that more of the mystery in the book begins. Fracture, Megan's first book, was full of mysterious, subtle paranormal events, and Hysteria continued this really well, even though the stories are totally different. Mallory takes sleeping tablets because she can't sleep, but that doesn't stop the nightmare - the presence that follows her everywhere, unrelenting, wherever she goes. First she hears the 'boom boom boom' - Brian's heart? - and then comes the shadow that always stays just out of sight, but she knows is there - and finally, the hand - the one that can't possibly be real, but somehow still leaves a bruise.
This remains a slightly unnerving mystery right up until the end, and even then, I don't think all of it is fully explained. Could it just be the hysteria?
It wasn't just this that made this book so gripping, though, it was also that it eventually became obvious that someone, or something, was after Mallory, but it was impossible to tell who, when every student knew what she was and what she'd done. Friends didn't come particularly easily.
When a pupil is found dead - one of the most popular students, too - the plot picks up much more pace and everything suddenly becomes much more sinister and dangerous. For around the last third of the book, I literally couldn't put it down - especially right at the end, when the plot twists in a direction that I definitely did not see coming!
I loved how unsettled I felt the whole way through the book, and how I personally felt the injustice of what Mallory was going through.
Despite the tone and events of the story, there was also a kind of romance developing between Mallory and one of the boys at Monroe, Reid. I adored his character, mostly because (it has to be said) he refused to believe any of the rumours about Mallory, and despite what happened with Brian, persists in trying to get closer to her, and to show her that he cares. Obviously, this was not going to be a straight-forward relationship, but I did find myself getting nervous about it, hoping that things would work out between them, despite the odds.
I really enjoyed everything about this book - it was packed full of great characters, mystery, and plenty of thrills and suspense. Megan Miranda is an author who started off with a bang, but just keeps getting better! I loved Hysteria, and I can't wait to see what she will write next!
Posted by Dani C at 23:39