The lives of teenage girls are dangerous, beautiful things in Abbott’s (Dare Me, 2012, etc.) stunning seventh novel.
At Dryden High School, 16-year-old Deenie Nash and her best friends Lise Daniels and Gabby Bishop are an inseparable trio. The daughter of Tom, a popular teacher, and younger sister of hockey star Eli, Deenie radiates the typical teenage mixture of confidence and vulnerability. When Lise suffers an unexplained and violent seizure in the middle of class, no one is quite sure how to react. Until another girl and then another exhibit the same symptoms. The rumors seem to spread as fast as the mysterious affliction, which is blamed on everything from a rotten batch of vaccine to female hysteria. Abbott expertly withholds just enough information to slowly ratchet up the suspense until the reader is as breathless as Deenie at the arrival of each new text message or cryptic phone call and the school vibrates with half-formed theories and speculations. Finding herself becoming slowly more isolated with each incident, Deenie must not only sort through the infinitely complex social and emotional issues ignited by the events—she’s also dealing with her first clumsy sexual experience—but also the very real fear that something in the town is causing the fits, and it’s only a matter of time before she’s next.
Nothing should be taken at face value in this jealousy- and hormone-soaked world except that Abbott is certainly our very best guide.