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307 pages, Hardcover
First published June 17, 2014
"The first time, you can’t believe how much it hurts.”This is from the prologue, and no, these girls are not talking about losing the big V.
“It just kind of burns,” says another. “You’re sore for a few days. I heard by the third time, you don’t even feel it.”
Her desk overturned, clattering to the floor.That was Lise, Deenie's best friend, and everyone in school has their theories. Some dumber than others, from a grand mal seizure, here referred to as grand male by the brilliant young ladies at the school.
And with it Lise. Her head twisting, slamming into the tiles, her bright red face turned up, mouth teeming with froth.
“She had a grand male in Algebra Two,” Brooke announced, eyes popping.To pregnancy.
The jocks broke into a fresh round of laughter.
“A grand mal?” he asked, squinting. “A seizure?”
“Is she pregnant?” whispered Kim, her tongue thrust between her wired teeth.To a sexual parasite.
“Pregnant people faint all the time,” Kim said, tugging her tights up her legs.
“He had a big house on the lake and he gave her all this great red-string Thai stick. He leaves for the Philippines, she wakes up with trich. That’s a sexual parasite. It crawls inside you.” She reached down for her bag, tangled with fringe. “So.”To Toxic Shock Syndrome...
Have u heard of toxik shok? tampax can kill uThen another girl falls sick, and the town runs rampant with theories.
He’d known Lise Daniels since she was ten years old and first started coming to the house, hovering around Deenie, following her from room to room. Sometimes he swore he could hear her panting like a puppy. That was back when she was a chubby little elfin girl, before that robin’s-breast belly of hers disappeared, and, seemingly overnight, she became overwhelmingly pretty, with big fawn eyes, her mouth forever open.And recalling how Lise looks in a swimsuit.
Tom felt his face warm. Last summer he’d seen Lise in a two-piece. From across the town pool, from behind, he’d mistaken her for one of Deenie’s swim instructors. Carla, the graduate student in kinesiology who always teased him about needing a haircut.It's not out of place. I mean, I know perfectly well that middle-aged men (and let's be honest, most men in general) have sexual thoughts about pubescent women, but I just found it very creepy and odd reading about it in a book where it felt out of place.
There’d be those moments he was forced to think about her not just as Deenie but as the girl whose slender tank tops hung over the shower curtain. Like bright streamers, like the flair the cheerleaders threw at games.And when he's having sex in the room next to his sister, he's conscious of her, in the next room.
Since then, he could only ever think about his sister, one wall away. And how he hoped Deenie never did things like this. With guys like him.So why not just avoid the situation, man. And he sees sexuality in his sister's eyes, the way another boy would see her.
But she didn’t realize what they saw, looking back at her: a girl, lips slightly parted, her head tilted hungrily. What they saw was I’m ready. Let’s go.Again, I don't have a sibling, but I can't say I've ever looked at my sister in any kind of way and imagine a guy interpreting sexuality through her facial expression. It's far too much.
Eli Nash looked at the text for a long time, and at the photo that had come with it. A girl’s bare midriff.His dad notices that he ignores the flocks of girls coming after him, and makes a note in his mind that it makes his son even more popular. He has to fend off the number of girls who just want to spread their legs for him.
Eli, for you xxxx!
Did she want him to text her back, invite her over? To sneak her into his bedroom and nudge her shaky, pliant legs apart until he was through?Hell, even his sister Deenie falls victim to Eli's promiscuous ways. It's pretty gross, she receives lewd text messages meant for him.
One of the texts had said—Deenie never forgot it—my pussy aches for u. It had to have been the worst thing she’d ever read. She’d read it over and over before deleting it.She also overhears him having sex in the next room. Ugh.
Once, a few weeks ago, she’d heard a girl’s voice in there and wondered if it was porn on the computer until she could tell it wasn’t. She heard the voice say Eli’s name. E-liiii.I understand that sex is a normal thing, but in this book, it just felt squicky and out of place. There was really not much point for it in the narrative, other than a break from the constant monotony.
He could tell she was the kind of woman who told men what they wanted to hear. That didn’t strike him as a bad thing, even though he knew it should.
Sexual debut. Sometimes it seemed to Deenie that high school was like a long game of And Then There Were None. Every Monday, another girl's debut.Nobody (and I mean nobody) writes the dark and secretive interiors of a teenage girl's psyche better than Megan Abbott. But make no mistake: while she is writing about teenagers, she is not writing Young Adult. Her books are so far removed from YA Lit it's not only a different country, but another planet. So if you haven't had the shocking and titillating pleasure to read her yet and have Ms. Abbott shelved as Young Adult, get her off there post-haste please -- asap -- I mean immediately.
--The Fever, Megan Abbott
She started clearing her throat, and once she started it was like she couldn't stop. "But most of all it's here," she said, clawing at her neck. "It feels like there's something in my throat. And it's getting bigger."::shiver::
My only sadness and regret is that I'm finished, and this book isn't even coming out until June, which means I've got a bit of a wait before I get my next Megan Abbott fix. I'm jonesing already. What can I say: she's made me her junkie bitch.