Author: Megan Miranda
May Contain Spoilers
Okay, this was a different read for me. Mallory killed her boyfriend one rainy night during the summer, after he broke into her house. She isn’t charged because it was ruled to be in self-defense, but Mallory isn’t sure. She can’t remember what happened that scary, rainy night, and she’s not sure that she wants to. Unable to sleep without the aid of sleeping pills, she suffers from the emotional trauma that she can’t put behind her. She feels a dark, heavy presence when she’s alone, and she keeps hearing the ominous boom, boom, boom of Brian’s dying heartbeat. When her parents send her away to Monroe, the boarding school her dad went to, she doesn’t think things can get any worse. Boy, was she wrong.
Hysteria is a compelling, character driven story. There is a steady building of suspense, and you aren’t sure whether Mallory is completely nuts or just suffering from PTSD. Her escape mechanism when things get too intense for her is to run. Run as fast and as far away from whatever it is that’s making her uncomfortable. She runs a lot in this book. From herself, from her memories, from her classmates. But mostly she runs from the truth. What happened that awful night, and why can’t she remember?
I was bewildered at Mallory’s parents’ apparent abandonment. What the heck? Their daughter is going through the worst time in her life, and they ship her off to boarding school. Mallory can barely function because she is so consumed with what she did. It colors everything in her life, as it should. She killed someone, and she is being eaten mercilessly by remorse. What could she have done differently? Why did she do what she did? The flashbacks to that night when everything went wrong are intense and compelling, and kept me wondering how all of the pieces would fit together. After first I wasn’t sure whether or not I liked Mallory because she is so emotionally shattered that she comes off as uncaring and indifferent. As the story unfolds, though, it becomes more and more evident that she is suffering but she has no one to turn to for help. Her best friend back home isn’t responding to her emails or phone calls, and her parents are emotionally distant. What Mallory needed was a good shrink, but all she seemed to get was a slick lawyer. I didn’t get that. If her parents could afford to ship her off to boarding school, they could have provided her with counseling as well.
Whether or not you enjoy Hysteria will depend on whether or not you like Mallory. She is one messed up girl, and her coping methods are suspect at best. Weird things are happening to her, and instead of trying to seek help, she tries to deal with all of her problems by herself. The few times she reaches out to her parents are rebuffed. When events become too much for her to handle, the authority figures in her life don’t believe her because of her past. Mallory irritated at times, but I did come to like her, and I wanted her to find peace from her memories and her nightmares. The pacing is a little slow at times, but I found this a hard book to put down.
Review copy provided by publisher