Speaking of that, I have a special Freebie Friday treat for you later today. I'm SO excited. Don't miss it!
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
My take: I love psychological thrillers. In fact, they are probably my favorite genre to read. And I like to think that I'm good at predicting the outcome. In this case, not so much.
Me: in email to Jen from Starry Eyed Revue
I am definitely suspicious of [name redacted]
Okay, so every theory I had about the ending of this book was wrong. Dead wrong. I would tell you all my outlandish theories, but that would be sort of spoilery. So I won't. I'll just say that I really enjoyed Megan Miranda's first book, Fracture. And I think Hysteria is even more complex and interesting.
Hysteria opens as Mallory is trying to cope with a horrific incident. She killed her boyfriend, Brian. In her family's kitchen. She's traumatized. And Brian's mother is constantly parked outside her house, watching her. From exactly 200 yards away, as stipulated by law.
Me to husband: Don't worry. If anyone ever murders you, I will so have a restraining order against me.
Husband: That statement is disturbing on so many different levels.
The same could be said about Hysteria. Mallory is sent to the same boarding school her father attended as a way to a) give her a fresh start and b) get her away from the boyfriend's mother. In a sort of Edgar Allan Poe touch to the story, she keeps hears this pounding, like the Telltale Heart. She has nightmares. But, I mean, she just killed someone. Gossip spreads quickly at her new school, and once again she's a pariah. The one person who's nice to her is Reid, a fellow student who remembers her from the time her family attended his father's funeral.
Hysteria has a number of flashbacks -- something I'm not generally a fan of -- but I think they were necessary to contextualize Mallory's crime. There is -- eventually -- an explanation for what happened. Then Mallory is either having weird hallucinations or someone is trying to drive her insane. Or both. Between the flashbacks and the hallucinations, Hysteria had me confused at times. I really felt that I was experiencing the world through the eyes of someone who has a tenuous grasp on reality. Due to her fragile mental state, Mallory isn't the easiest character to identify with, and there were times when I thought she might have lost it completely. I think that is the most interesting part of the book: I was never sure what to believe. I don't love being confused when I read, but I really do enjoy unreliable narrators.
Poor Mallory. She only has two people she can trust ... or can she? They are:
Colleen. She's Mallory's best friend from home. She's the one who found Mallory on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood. She wants to be there for Mallory, but she's grounded and Mallory's isolated boarding school has patchy cell reception.
Reid. Loved him! I mean, it takes a special kind of person to go on a date with someone who murdered her last boyfriend. Their relationship always felt a little out of sync, which I loved.
If you love psychological thrillers, I definitely recommend Hysteria. Be prepared to be confused, but know that by the end, everything does make sense.