REVIEW: Hysteria by Megan Miranda

by Megan Miranda

PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury Publishing
RELEASE DATE: 14th February 2013
FORMAT: Ebook, 272 pages
GENRE: Mystery, Young Adult

Mallory’s life is falling apart. Her 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? (Goodreads)


Hysteria is a dark and disturbing mystery novel written from the point of view of the main protagonist sixteen year old Mallory. From the outset we are thrust into the confused, scared mind of Mallory who had recently stabbed her boyfriend Brian to death in her kitchen.

Mallory keeps living this stabbing over and over in her mind and feels some sort of presence haunting and punishing her, this is the main theme throughout Hysteria and I love the fact that you are uncertain if this presence is real or a figment of her imagination, this keeps you turning the pages easily trying to solve the mystery.

With no friends left except her best friend Colleen and to give Mallory a chance to move on, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a boarding school to try and build a new life. Boarding school has its own trials and school would never be a normal affair without a cute, caring boy on the scene and the inevitable mean girls.

The cute boy comes in the form of Reid, an old family friend of Mallory’s and a past crush. It’s obvious that Reid cares a great deal about Mallory and despite the rumors about Mallory, he watches out for her, even though Mallory tries to push him away. I liked Reid and his compassionate nature, he is loyal, protective and positive, giving Mallory the encouragement she needs.

The mean girls, Bree, Krista and Taryn are spiteful and of a totally different calibre to Reid giving Hysteria another dimension to its plot and another obstacle for Mallory to overcome.

I loved the flow and pace, Miranda kept the balance between school life, romance, fear, suspense and mystery pretty much perfect. You were in the confused head of Mallory the whole way through, trying to deal with the traumatic incident and going through the emotions with her.

As the events unfold, it becomes apparent who is behind the stalking’s, allowing you to be able to predict part of the twist. Even though I did predict part of the story correctly, there was still a part that surprised me.

When Mallory’s best friend, Colleen needed her, I was amazed by the strength that Mallory possessed, especially after all Mallory had been through. However, Mallory on the whole was unlikeable, this was due to her temperamental nature and sulky attitude, I even had to question why Reid was attracted to Mallory.

It was obvious that Mallory was going through some post-traumatic stress and was unable to deal with her emotions, shutting herself off and taking vast amounts of sleeping pills.

The air changed in my dorm room. It started throbbing with the slow and steady beat. And because I was a coward, I ran for the desk. I threw open the bottom drawer, snatched the vial of sleeping pills, and took one. I buried myself face down on my bed and covered my head with my pillow, but sleep didn’t come quickly enough. I felt something taking shape behind me. And this time, I swear I could hear it laughing. I felt the hand on my shoulder, fingers digging in, as it held me down.

There were marks the next morning.

Until the conclusion, you never know if these episodes are caused purely by hallucination or someone taking advantage of Mallory’s drugged up state. This caused me to wonder why she wasn’t in some sort of care rather than at school. Especially when a body is discovered on the floor to her bedroom!

With death on her hands already, Mallory becomes the prime suspect and has to clear her name by finding the real culprit. Mallory has her suspicions and now needs to find the evidence and motive to support her theory.


I’m very mixed in my overall opinion of Hysteria, I think Miranda is a clever writer, the suspense and mystery surrounding the stabbing of Mallory’s boyfriend is intriguing and exciting sucking you in from the very first page. With Mallory’s confused state and hallucinations you are never really certain what parts of her life are imagined or which are real, this keeps the pages turning freely in your quest to discover what happened on that dreadful night. There are a few twists and I must admit I did see some of them coming and even though I thoroughly enjoyed my journey with Mallory I was left deflated at the end and I can’t quite put my finger on why. An exciting, yet forgettable, read.


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A midnight book worm who loves dystopian and young adult fantasy and paranormal romances. As long as the leading man is dead sexy, she's happy. [Becs no longer reviews for the site.]


Carolyn February 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Not sure if this sounds like my kind of book. I love a thriller, but adult one’s as I find they are more gritty and dark. I know what you mean about enjoying a book, but feeling underwhelmed at the end of it, but not being able to put your finger quite on what. I’ve had that with a few books, it makes writing a review harder, don’t you think?


Becs February 14, 2013 at 11:14 pm

It’s a good thriller for YA and I do agree, adult thrillers are definitely grittier.

It does make reviewing more difficult when you can’t quite explain your reasons for not giving it a higher rating.


Brandie Mcnemar February 13, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I am not sure this is my kind of book either. I also really enjoy a good thriller. I need a lot of substance in the books I choose, I am not sure I would find that here in this one. I recently completed Coming to Rosemont by Barbara Hinske, it was awesome. The characters were deep, and the story was gripping. I have been looking for a similar tryp story to get caught up in, but I am not sure this one is it. But take a look at Hinske’s book, barbarahinske.com if you want a really good read! Thanks for the review!


Becs February 14, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Brandie, I think you knocked the nail on the head with your comment, Hysteria lacked the substance you are talking about.

Thank you for your recommendation I will check out Coming to Rosemont.


Bobby February 13, 2013 at 10:07 pm

I’ve been debating whether to buy this for a while: it looks interesting but I do think YA thrillers often make the ‘twist’ obvious, or I just don’t invest in the characters enough to care what the outcome is. I might buy this anyway though – I have a history of not enjoying books I thought I would, and loving books I thought I would hate :).


Becs February 14, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Bobby the twist is a little obvious and I find the same thing, I enjoy the books I thought I wouldn’t and dislike the ones I thought I would.

It’s a easy read and the pages turn easily, it will be interesting to see if you have the same feelings at the end as I did.


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