Review of Hysteria by Megan Miranda

Today I'm posting as part of Triple Threat Blog Tour by Bloomsbury/Walker

Hysteria by Megan Miranda

Published on February 5 by Bloomsbury/Walker

Source: eARC from the publisher via NetGalley.

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

Review of Hysteria by Megan Miranda

I love psychological thrillers. In fact, they are probably my favorite genre to read. And I like to think that I'm good at predicting the outcome. In this case, not so much.

Me: in email to Jen from  Starry Eyed Revue
I am definitely suspicious of [name redacted]

Okay, so every theory I had about the ending of this book was wrong. Dead wrong. I would tell you all my outlandish theories, but that would be sort of spoilery. So I won't. I'll just say that I really enjoyed Megan Miranda's first book, Fracture. And I think Hysteria is even more complex and interesting.

Hysteria opens as Mallory is trying to cope with a horrific incident. She killed her boyfriend, Brian. In her family's kitchen. She's traumatized. And Brian's mother is constantly parked outside her house, watching her. From exactly 200 yards away, as stipulated by law.

Me to husband: Don't worry. If anyone ever murders you, I will so have a restraining order against me.

Husband:  That statement is disturbing on so many different levels.

The same could be said about Hysteria. Mallory is sent to the same boarding school her father attended as a way to a) give her a fresh start and b) get her away from the boyfriend's mother.  

In a sort of Edgar Allan Poe touch to the story, she keeps hears this pounding, like the Telltale Heart. She has nightmares. But, I mean, she just killed someone. Gossip spreads quickly at her new school, and once again she's a pariah. The one person who's nice to her is Reid, a fellow student who remembers her from the time her family attended his father's funeral.

Hysteria has a number of flashbacks -- something I'm not generally a fan of  -- but I think they were necessary to contextualize Mallory's crime. There is -- eventually -- an explanation for what happened. Then Mallory is either having weird hallucinations or someone is trying to drive her insane. Or both. 

Between the flashbacks and the hallucinations, Hysteria had me confused at times. I really felt that I was experiencing the world through the eyes of someone who has a tenuous grasp on reality. Due to her fragile mental state, Mallory isn't the easiest character to identify with, and there were times when I thought she might have lost it completely. I think that is the most interesting part of the book: I was never sure what to believe. I don't love being confused when I read, but I really do enjoy unreliable narrators.

Poor Mallory. She only has two people she can trust ... or can she? They are:

Colleen. She's Mallory's best friend from home. She's the one who found Mallory on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood. She wants to be there for Mallory, but she's grounded and Mallory's isolated boarding school has patchy cell reception.

Reid. Loved him! I mean, it takes a special kind of person to go on a date with someone who murdered her last boyfriend. Their relationship always felt a little out of sync, which I loved.

If you love psychological thrillers, I definitely recommend Hysteria. Be prepared to be confused, but know that by the end, everything does make sense.

If you are looking for reviews of Megan Miranda's adult book, check out this review of The Last to Vanish.


  1. I love an unreliable narrator, too...Mallory reminded me of Mara at times, which endeared her to me. Also, I love that you'd require a restraining order. I'm the same way. :P Mallory's relationships with both Colleen and Reid are what kept me from thinking I was insane while reading this...I, too, had a tenuous grip on the situation while reading, and they kind of kept the pieces from falling apart. Great review...I wish we'd talked before I wrote mine because you made me reconsider some things. I still want to do that read-along of the last Mara book when it's time. :)

  2. I love your statement to your husband-disturbing but also kind of romantic. I adored Colleen. At first, I wasn't sure about her but as we got deeper into the book I knew she was good people.

    1. I scare him sometimes. Clearly I read too many thrillers!

  3. The conversation with your husband made me laugh. But... moving on, I love unreliable narrators and psychological thrillers. And I want to read about Reid now.

  4. Fantastic review Jen! All my theories were dead wrong as well, but I rather that then it be too predictable. Your comment to your husband and his response made me chuckle =)

  5. Reid sounds intriguing as well as a story that can truly keep you guessing.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  6. I'm really good at predicting outcomes, so it's always a HUGE plus when an author can keep me guessing and even surprise me. I love that.

  7. I loved this one too! I really need to pick up Fracture. I also thought of The Tell Tale Heart with how she was always hearing his heartbeat! Glad you liked this too!

    I just finished The Murmurings today. I have a feeling you'll like that one. It was an awesome thriller!

  8. Is this a stand alone Jen? I'm sorry if you mentioned it and I just don't see it.

    I've been interested in this book for awhile now but I have mixed results when it comes to psychological thrillers & unreliable narrators but I'm going to give it a shot anyway. I have a good feeling about Hysteria.

  9. Eh, I had some problems with this book. Good but not something I read again.

  10. I used to hate the unreliable narrator but now I could not be a bigger fan. I can't wait to get my hands on this book!

  11. While I had some issues with this one, and didn't flip over it, I did enjoy it. Great review!

  12. I haven't read ANY Megan Miranda, but I really want to. This book looks super good and I LOVE the cover(s) for it ... great review!

    rowena of Centerpieces with Floating Candles


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