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?
Author: Megan Miranda
Length: 336 pages
Source: ARC from NetGalley
Release date: 14th Feb (UK)
I really wanted to love Hysteria – the premise sounded so interesting, it’s had some fabulous reviews and I’ve heard great things about Megan Miranda in general. This for me though, was a fairly solid 2 stars (It was okay). There were things I liked about it, and a lot of people seem to have loved it, but I found it disappointing overall.
Firstly, from the blurb, I was expecting a psychological thriller, possibly with some paranormal elements (Interestingly, a lot of people seemed to expect the same thing). If you’re looking for paranormal – I’d stop now. Once I adapted to the lack of paranormal elements, I got invested in the story, and really started to enjoy it. I loved the flashbacks, and trying to piece together what happened. I loved Colleen and Mallory’s friendship, and Colleen was by far my favourite character in the book. I liked Reid, and learning about Hysteria and even seeing Mallory’s parents’ reactions to their daughter murdering someone.
I also loved Megan Miranda’s writing.
But, what can I say about the ending? Without giving away any spoilers (which is pretty difficult), I have to confess that it was the ending in particular that let this book down for me. Throughout the first half of the book, admittedly not a lot happened, but I was riveted as we followed Mallory, our less-than-reliable protagonist, as she tries to remember what happened the night her boyfriend was killed, and cope with her guilt, and her parents’ reactions. The ending of the book though, for me, was a disappointment, partially because The Big Revelation about Brian’s death felt unexciting. I didn’t see it coming, but I also wasn’t shocked by it if that made sense – it had so little impact on me in fact, that I had to go back and re-read to remember exactly what happened. The other part to the ending, the climax to the present-day boarding school drama had the opposite problem – it felt predictable but also overdone.
I think my biggest issue with the book, if I were to summarise it in brief, is that I felt like there were two storylines that just weren’t cohesive. There are the flashbacks, trying to piece together the night of Brian’s death, which I very much enjoyed – they were interesting, believable and fit in perfectly with the contemporary fiction I expected. Then there was the present day storyline; who killed the girl and why? That storyline, in my opinion, just didn’t fit with the realism of the flashbacks. Without giving away any spoilers, it felt unbelievable; the motive just didn’t seem to fit for me.
All in all, I loved the first two-thirds of this book, but the ending made it overall just okay in my opinion. You may love it, so give it a try, but I felt like the level of realism was inconsistent, and that was something I couldn’t get past.
Buy it? A library book for me – worth a read, but I found it pretty average
In a nutshell: A great premise but overall it was just okay