Today, Olivia from YA-Mag sat down with Megan Abbott, author of THE FEVER! Check it out!


The Fever coverThe Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town’s fragile idea of security.




Megan Abbott photoOlivia with YA-Mag: Megan, welcome to the Young Adult Magazine! I’ve been greatly looking forward to chatting with you about THE FEVER.  That cover is haunting; and the concept really speaks to me.


YA: So!  Let’s talk about Deenie.  How did you two first meet?  What makes Deenie the perfect character to tell this story vs. any other character?

Megan Abbott: Boy, what a great question. In some ways, she’s like the teenager I was—earnest, a loyal friend, bookish—so she came very naturally. And it felt important, given the high drama and hysteria of the story, to have a protagonist who’s pretty grounded. So she could be our guide. Also, for the story to work, she needed to be someone very devoted to her friends, so the stakes would feel terribly high as her closet pals, Lise and Gabby, are struck by these terrifying seizures.


YA: What sets Deenie’s story apart from other YA mysteries?  What will readers find that is unique to this tale?

MA: Well, it’s a story with three points of view—Deenie, her brother Eli and her father Tom—so I think the three perspectives are compelling (I hope so). We get to experience Deenie’s world and how she sees it, but also get to experience the teenboy world, the parent world.


YA:  What non-book influences (films, television shows, music, plays, etc) helped spark this story?

MA: Two big influences were: 1) a lifelong fascination with the Salem Witch Trials, since I was a little kid and 2) a real-life case of girls who developed these mysterious tics in upstate New York. Combined, they gave me the impetus to begin. Also, a bit of Twin Peaks, and a little of the movie Contagion.


YA: When you were a teen, what was your favorite book (YA or otherwise)?  Now that you’re an author for teens, what is your favorite contemporary YA?

MA:  There was not a lot of YA when I was young—I read Judy Blume, Lois Duncan, V.C. Andrews and then ended up turning to adult books with teen characters, like Catcher in the Rye, or Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle. And a great current YA I just read is E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars, which I adored.


YA: What is the story behind the title THE FEVER?

MA: I’d like to take credit for this one, but my agent came up with it after reading only fifty pages. And I knew it was right the minute I heard it!


The Fever quoteYA: I read an article recently about CONVERSION by Katherine Howe, and that neither of you knew about the other’s novel–inspired by the same events–until recently.  Have the two of you talked and bonded over your mutual brilliance?

MA: We’ve only talked via Twitter, but I’m so looking forward to reading her book and talking more with her about our process. Conversion sounds terrific.


YA: If you could cast the Dream Film of THE FEVER, who would be in the lead roles?

MA: For Deenie, Kieran Shipka (Sally Draper on Mad Men and Cathy in Lifetime’s Flowers in the Attic). For Tom, Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights). For Eli, I think maybe Tye Sheridan from Mud and Tree of Life. But I’m open to other suggestions, of course!


YA: What’s up next for you in YA land?  Any pet projects you can tease us about?

MA: My next book is called You Will Know Me, about the family of teen gymnastics prodigy.


YA: All right, last one!  If you could spend one day with Deenie and Eli, what would you do together? What would advice would you give to Deenie about her past or future?

MA: I’d like to go ice-skating with them. It’s where Eli gets all his peace and I’d love to see, given how close they are, Deenie and Elie share that together. I’d tell Deenie that I think she’s an awesome young woman and not to doubt herself or her choices. And, above all, I’d tell her not to get anywhere near a lake (wink).


YA: Thank you very much, Megan!  And again, from YA Mag, congratulations on THE FEVER!

MA: Thank you!


Readers, be sure to check out Megan Abbott at her website Or follow her on Twitter @MeganEAbbott.

The Fever, published by Little, Brown and Company, is now available at your favorite retailers and local independent bookstores!


Olivia Hennis is a transplanted New England girl dropped by a tornado into the magical Land of Jersey.  For more info, follow her on Twitter @OliviaHennis.