In Hysteria, Sixteen year old Mallory Murphy killed her boyfriend, Brian, one night, but can’t remember the details. After being let off for defending herself, Mallory tries to return to her regular life, but she can’t. Her best friend’s mother doesn’t want her talking to her, she’s being stalked by Brian’s mother everywhere she goes, and her parents hide the kitchen knives from her.
In attempt at a fresh start, Mallory’s parents enrol her in Monroe, a fancy prep school. But the past follows Mallory, and before she knows it her secrets come out and she is ignored and mocked. But as Mallory tries to settle herself into her new school and new life, it seems like Brian’s mother- or his presence- has followed her to Monroe.
Mallory constantly feels someone following her, her room is trashed, and she keeps waking up with bruises on her shoulders. Is Mallory being haunted by the ghost of her boyfriend, or is it all in her mind?
This was a strange book. Parts of it were quite strange, and other parts made absolutely no sense. But I kept reading through, a) because I’ve abandoned too many books of late, and b) I just wanted to know if Mallory was imagining it all.
The summary of the book reminded me a lot of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, which I absolutely loved. Both girls have had a traumatic incident and are psychologically disturbed because of it. While Mara Dyer was a haunting, creepy read, Hysteria was more puzzling.
But let’s start with the good stuff first. Mallory’s voice was an enjoyable one to read. Very early on, you realise that she’s an unreliable narrator and this amps up the mystery in the book, since you don’t quite know what is true or not, when it comes to Mallory. She isn’t exactly your typical, cliched YA heroine either. She has spunk to her, which I appreciated.
The friendship between Colleen and Mallory was also a great addition. In a book like this, with Mallory off at boarding school, I didn’t imagine that Miranda would put much focus on Colleen, other than the odd email or phone call. But there’s a sweetness and a realness in the girls’ friendship, and in the way they’d literally do anything for each other. It was a nice touch.
The bulk of the story focuses on Mallory trying to adjust at boarding school, while trying to figure who- or what- is stalking her. The answer that answered this question wasn’t really satisfying, and instead comprised of a number of people who were out to get her, in addition to psychological trauma. It was a mixed bag of stuff, and was not satisfying at all, especially after all the lead up to the big reveal.
There’s a big showdown between Mallory and one of her supposed-stalkers at the end, and it ended in such a poor, anti-climactic way that I didn’t even realise it was over until I noticed that the stalker weren’t in the scene anymore. This is example of the choppy writing, which made it difficult to follow the story at times.
Despite that, Miranda’s premise was an interesting one, and there was enough of a creepy factor to keep me going to the very end, which is more than what I can say for the majority of books I’ve been reading recently.
So for that: 2.5/5.
Thanks for reading,