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Friday, April 5, 2013

Book Review: Hysteria


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.

In a lot of ways this was kind of like watching one of those Police Procedural shows.  Criminal Minds or Cold Case, maybe even CSI (when Grissom was in charge).  We have what's going on now--Mallory's life at Monroe, trying to move on, trying to make sense of that night and then we have what happened before.  Her and Reid's history, her and Dylan's history, her and Colleen's history, her and Brian's history.  Everything kept weaving around itself and at times it became one big ball of tangled.

As I was reading this book I grew more and more confused, wondering what one thing had to do with another, why that detail was so much more important then some other.  In hindsight the narrative works really well, but a reader doesn't read in hindsight. 

In hindsight its fairly obvious that what she had with Brian was not the stuff of dreams.  In hindsight it was obvious that Dylan was manipulating her just as surely as Brian.  As a narrator of both then and now, Mallory is mostly unreliable.  She built so many things up in her head about her relationships with everyone that her memories were tainted.

So yeah I spent up until the very last chapter thinking that Mallory was a murderer and possibly psychotic as well.

When the truth comes out about the murder at Monroe it kind of makes sense and kind of doesn't.  Mallory spent so much time worried about her problem and what other people were thinking of her, that any inferences she had about the murdered victim and the circumstances surrounding their death wouldn't have been enough if not for the deus ex machina Miranda pulls.  

Look convenient plot info dump is convenient and noticeable.  Instead of saying 'Of course that makes perfect sense!' because as a reader I put the clues together, it was 'Well I guess that makes sense'.  The lead up to the reveal was just so muddied by everything else happening to Mallory that it just kind of happened and then it was the next day.

It was entertaining and was different from other boarding school set books.  I just wish it had been more.