Posts Tagged ‘Megan Miranda’

Hysteria

Megan Miranda
hysteriaHer 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?

By her own admission Mallory always runs away. So it is no surprise that she jumps at the opportunity to transfer to her father’s old school to escape the threatening stares and accusing whispers, which have surrounded her since the night she found herself covered in Brian’s blood, holding a kitchen knife. But her residence in Munroe, isn’t the fresh start she was hoping for. Not only has her reputation preceded her to the school where secrets are power, but also the stifling, vibrating, presence from the kitchen has followed her. As too has the distinctive green car of Brian’s disturbed mother.

Hysteria is told in first person past tense, from Mallory’s perspective. The bulk of the story focuses on Mallory as she attempts to settle in to her new school, reconnect with old family friend Reid, catch up with her schoolwork and avoid the attentions of creepy Jason and his cold, calculating cousin, Krista. All the while she is still coping with the issues that have followed her from home. This account is interspersed with a series of first person past tense flash backs that slowly, but satisfyingly unveiled the shocking events of the night that changed Mallory’s life forever.

I found that I was equally interested in Mallory’s situation at Munroe, wanting to get to the bottom of her bizarre experiences and her mysterious injuries, and wanting to know exactly what happened that fateful night that ended with Brian in a pool of blood in Mallory’s kitchen.

I loved the ambiguity of Mallory’s experiences, was she the victim of a deranged stalker, at the center of paranormal activity, cracking under the strain of trauma, or causing it herself?

Regardless of the cause of her distress, for me the most uncomfortable experience came from Mallory’s helplessness. Not only was she unable to escape from the situation, going against her natural instinct to flee, but the use of sleeping medication rendered her completely vulnerable at night.

The story of Brian’s death unfolded in tantalizing glimpses, which the author cleverly revealed out of sequence. On one hand this highlighted the realism of Mallory recounting and her memories, as different events would trigger her disclosure. On the other hand it enhanced the twists and turns of the plot as the author deliberately triggered feelings of self-doubt in Mallory and distrust in the reader.

I couldn’t help trying to form theories about what had happened and how this was continuing to affect Mallory. These theories changed and developed as different information became available. I found myself questioning Mallory’s character and her decisions. At best they were unwise, at worst evidence of her unraveling mental health. This led me to question her reliability as a narrator, adding to the general feeling of unease and tension, and enhancing my experience of this suspenseful book.

While the characterisation of Mallory and her friends Reid and Colleen were spot on, I felt that some of the secondary characters, particularly the more unpleasant ones, could have benefited with a little more fleshing out. However given the perspective of the book, it is not surprising that Mallory would have a deeper knowledge of her friends.

Verdict: This thriller captured me from the first sentence and kept me guessing until the final page.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Publication Date: February 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 352
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: None
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Fracture

Megan Miranda

By the time 17-year old Delaney Maxwell is pulled out of the icy waters of a frozen lake, her heart has stopped beating. she is officially dead. Then Delaney starts breathing…The doctors are mystified. But Delaney knows something is very wrong, even though outwardly she has completely recovered.
Pulled by sensations she can’t control, Delaney now finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her brain predicting death or causing it? Then Delaney meets Troy Varga. Is Troy a kindred spirit who somehow understands her weird and frightening gift? Or are his motives chillingly more sinister…

Having received this copy of Fracture as an ARC from an event, and thinking it to not be the sort of book I’d naturally pick up for myself, I was very interested to see if it would be my cup of tea. After a couple of false starts, I found a nice chunk of time to snuggle up on the couch and get stuck in and found that I couldn’t put it down! I loved this book!

Fracture tells the story of 17 year old Delaney, a high school senior who is hardworking and wants to do well for herself. When out with her best friend Decker, they cross a frozen lake to go and meet friends. Decker goes on ahead and the unthinkable happens. The ice cracks and Delaney falls through the ice. She stopped breathing for eleven minutes. She should be dead. She was medically dead. And yet she is very much alive. She is discharged from hospital and physically, everyone is confident that she is well. But Delaney knows different. She feels different, and that something is very wrong. She can’t ignore the tugging pulling sensations that seem to take over and control her body. They begin to lead her to places and she starts to feel that death is all around her. Everything is changing in her world and her relationships, those with her parents and her friends, are changing too. How do you start living again after you were dead and everything is different?

This is Megan Miranda’s first book, but you would never know it. You are drawn in to Delaney’s world and the scene is set well. I could imagine and feel the bleakness of the cold and frigid Maine winter and the ‘deadness of everything under the snow’, as Delaney describes it. As Delaney tries to figure out what is going on with her, she finds herself keeping Decker at arm’s length. I enjoyed the relationship between Delaney and Decker, the familiarity and closeness of a long held childhood friendship with all the shared memories and experiences and now that they are older I could feel the awkwardness when it was clear that Delaney or Decker wanted to say something but held back. It reminded me of those teenage days of potential first love and the angst that comes with it! Assumptions about each of their relationships with others doesn’t help and then Delaney then meets the dark and sexy Troy Varga which causes further distance between her and Decker.

Troy is the only one who can shed some understanding about her circumstances. She finds herself drawn to him as he can explain what is going on with her somewhat, and yet he is a disturbing character. He scares Delaney and she can sense his presence even when she can’t see him. I didn’t know how to feel about Troy. My emotions were certainly conflicted as Delaney’s were and I didn’t know how Delaney and Troy would resolve their relationship. Once I found out, I found myself both sad and relieved at the outcome. I enjoyed the feeling of suspense that you just didn’t know what was going to happen with Troy around- would it be good, or bad?

Delaney’s mother was an interesting character. As you begin to discover her history and how it affected her dealings with and reactions to her daughter it was quite sad and poignant in places. I very much enjoyed reading this. I liked and connected with the characters and found myself rooting for them and for peace and closure for all those that were suffering due to this one event. Occasionally it felt a little creepy and tense and I don’t normally like anything scary but I couldn’t stop myself from turning the pages to see what happened next. You are left pondering the question if you only had one day to live, what would you do? I will be keeping an eye out for Megan Miranda’s next book for sure!

Verdict: A dark but very enjoyable gripping and unique read.

Reviewed by Lesley

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: January 2012
Format: ARC
Pages: 264
Genre: Paranormal
Age: YA
Reviewer: Lesley
Source: Received at event
Challenge: Debut Author
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