The Fever:

A Novel

A June 2014 Entertainment Weekly “Must Read”

A New York Times Editor’s Choice

An Amazon Best Book of the Month for June 2014

A School Library Journal Top Pick of Adult Audiobooks for Teens

A School Library Journal Best Book of 2014

A BookPage Top Pick for July 2014

One of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014

The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher and the father of two teens: Eli, a hocky star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school, and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families, and the town’s fragile idea of security.

A chilling story about guilt, family secrets, and the lethal power of desire, The Fever affirms Megan Abbott’s reputation as “one of the most exciting and original voices of her generation” (Laura Lippman).

Editorial Reviews

“With The Fever, Megan Abbott has created a mesmerizing, modern portrait of teenage life today: brutal crushes, competing allegiances and first-bloom sensuality, all magnified by the rush and crush of technology. The Fever holds true to its title: it’s dark, disturbing, strangely beautiful and utterly unshakeable.”

Gillian Flynn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl

“This smart thriller about the dynamics of panic keeps you guessing till the last scene.”

Good Housekeeping

“Make no mistake, this is no pulpy teenage tale: It’s a very grown-up look at youth culture and how bad behavior can sometimes be redeemed by a couple of good decisions.”

O, The Oprah Magazine

“Megan Abbott writes about the madness of adolescence better than anyone. She seems to understand teens’ urgent rush to grow up, to try on adult masks and costumes, and play adult games. But she also knows: in the big game of pretend, there are often grown-up consequences…The Fever is a brilliant and chilling tale of the bewildering age when everything—friendship, love, sex, revenge—feels ‘new and terrifying and significant.’ To survive it? It’s heartbreaking.”, editorial review

“Megan Abbott is a seasoned, Edgar Award–winning author with exceptional gifts for making nerves jangle and skin crawl. She is also skilled at turning teenage sexuality into cause for squirming…The Fever is all about innuendo, which Ms. Abbott handles expertly from the first page onward.”

New York Times

“[Megan Abbott is] a unique talent with a signature style that gets stronger with every book. With its confident plotting and lyrical prose, The Fever may be her best novel yet.”

Los Angeles Times

“Like her stunning 2012 book, Dare Me, Abbott’s new novel focuses on teenage girls and the damage they can do…In spare, ferocious language, Abbott captures their energy…The beauty of Abbott’s writing, and the skilled way she weaves the men’s lesser narratives into Deenie’s story, make this a standout in contemporary crime fiction. Megan Abbott knows what girls are made of.”

Boston Globe

The Fever is a potboiler in the truest, best sense of that devalued word: Its ingredients are expertly combined, patiently agitated, and heated to an inexorable boil. But it’s also a great novel, full stop, without any of the usual genre caveats, and…[with] sharp, dare I say literary, insights about her characters that Abbott effortlessly scatters throughout."


“A chilling new novel set in the emotional world of teenagers...In many ways, the message of The Fever is about how these things—ambivalence about sex, insecurities about their appearance, and navigating the intensity of female friendships—affect the girls and their families and how a traumatized community stumbles through a crisis.”


The Fever sends chills. Megan Abbott’s ‘high school noir’ is sensual and sinister...atmospheric and compelling...What sets Abbott apart from other mystery scribes is her evocative language. There is drama and a fast-moving narrative, but she skillfully weaves a mounting dread into the novel, as well as a claustrophobic sensuality. You feel as if you’re in the heads of each of the teenagers in the fictional town of Dryden but also privy to the inner life of the adults, as well.”

Detroit News

“The lives of teenage girls are dangerous, beautiful things in Abbott’s stunning seventh novel...Nothing should be taken at face value in this jealousy and hormone soaked world except that Abbott is certainly our very best guide.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Once again, Abbott makes an unforgettable inquiry into the emotional lives of young people, this time balanced with parents' own fears and failings. It's also a powerful portrait of community, with interesting echoes of The Crucible: it's the twenty-first century, and, in many ways, we're still frightened villagers, terrified of the unknown. Abbott may be on her way to becoming a major writer.”

Booklist (starred review)

“Abbott’s new novel about a mysterious illness that strikes high school girls is performed by a trio of narrators: Caitlin Davies (the teen daughter), Kirby Heyborne (the older teen son), and Joe Barrett (the father, a science teacher). This casting works wonderfully to illustrate the alternating points of view in the novel. The combination of styles emphasizes the generational differences between these characters as well as their varying perception of events. Davies embodies the drama of the high school girl, which contrasts with the apathy of the teen boy. Barrett exudes the age and wisdom of the father as well as his rose-colored impression of his children. The novel itself is anticlimatic, but the performances make this audiobook engaging.“


Author Biography

Megan Abbott is an Edgar Award–winning author of several novels. She received her PhD in English and American literature from New York University and has taught literature, writing, and film studies at New York University, the New School, and the State University of New York at Oswego. Her writing has appeared in Salon, the Guardian, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She lives in New York City.

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Reader Biography

Joe Barrett has appeared both on and off Broadway as well as in hundreds of radio and television commercials. He has earned multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards and has been nominated for the prestigious Audie Award. He has narrated books by such authors as Trevanian, Brian Freeman, Don Winslow, and James W. Huston.

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