Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Hysteria by Megan Miranda

Title: Hysteria
Author: Megan Miranda
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release: February 5th 2013
Pages: 272 (Paperback)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US

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?

The first I heard of Miranda was before the release of her debut novel, Fracture. As soon as I read the blurb, I knew I had to get it - but after it was published, I wasn't able to find it anywhere - and when I was, I didn't have any money on me! Oh, the dilemmas of a bookworm! Anyway, once I got asked if I'd like to review Hysteria, her second novel - well, it wasn't like I was going to say no, was it? From reading the synopsis, I thought that Hysteria would be a fast-paced thriller - and what a fast-paced thriller it was.

Going into the novel, aside from the short synopsis the reader doesn't really know anything about Mallory or her situation, which I thought would be confusing. However, it wasn't. As the novel progressed, Miranda slipped in memories from Mallory's past, not necessarily in the right order (which kept up the suspense, let me tell you), and the picture was gradually assembled. I thought it was a brilliant technique, and it is probably why I'd call this a 'thriller' - the suspense had me hanging off the edge of my seat, it was so good!

I think another key feature of this book is about the characters, and how they relate to the initial murder of Mallory's boyfriend, Brian. As you read on and more is revealed, you learn that although Mallory seems to be the one at fault, a lot of the other characters played a part in it, too. In a way, Miranda explores the ideas of decision, and how one person's decision can affect another person's, who can affect someone else, and so on - basically, the domino effect. If any one person had done something different, then there would have been another - and possibly a slightly better - outcome. When dealing with someone's death, a lot of different people will feel the burden of guilt, and I thought it was interesting to read Mallory's realization of it.

Leading on from that, I thought that Miranda characterized the character's excellently to fit the plot. You learn a lot about certain characters, like Mallory, Reid and Coleen - but you don't really break the surface with most of them. If I was talking about another novel, I'd probably hate this and rate it down - but for this, you didn't need to know their life story, only the key events. So I can't tell you Mallory's eye colour - but I can tell you how she came to meet Brian. I also thought that Miranda managed to keep the characters realistic whilst also making the good guys likable  and the bad guys just about tolerable. I don't think I even need to comment about Mallory - she was a perfect fit for the story - but I will comment that I loved the strange dynamics between Bree, Krista, Jason and Taryn. Throughout most of the novel, they were all so mysterious and unknown, and I genuinely found them terrifying. The only bad thing I'd say about them - and the only bad thing about this book, really - is that although it was explained what went on, I'm still confused. Were Krista and Jason related? What of the love triangle? That wasn't as well planned as the rest of it. But aside from that, it was brilliant!

Overall, I am so glad that I got to read and review this novel. I'm starting to think that Miranda is one of those authors that you just can't help but love - you have the guarantee of knowing that she'll always churn out a great read. Hysteria is set to be released on February 5th 2013 - so if you haven't got it now, head over to Goodreads, and add it to your TBR as soon as possible! This is a read worth waiting for.
Rating: 5/5

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