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.
In another riveting tale of life and death, Megan Miranda's masterful storytelling brings readers along for a ride to the edge of sanity and back again.
5 of 5 Hysteria
Hysteria is a surprising read. I was totally hooked from the book cover but as I started reading right from the first chapter I was hooked! Lord Megan has a way with writing that captures you and keeps you reading until the end. I love Psychological thrillers and this is one of them.
Mallory is accused of killing her boyfriend Brian. She can't remember a thing that has happened. All she remembers is waking up and realizing Brian is dead on her kitchen floor. The town hates her and Brian's family especially his mother is determined to ruin Mallory's life. To make matters more complicated Mallory is being stalked by Brian's ghost and she is not sure what to do. Her family decides it is best to send her away to the boarding school her father attended.
Once there Mallory still does not feel like she is safe. The ghostly visions of Brian and some of the kids at the boarding school start to act weird around her. Mallory finally realizes that some of the students know what happened to her back home and they are telling others. All Mallory wanted was to left alone and start a new life after what happened between her and Brian but she soon finds out that someone has it out for her and when the dust settles she will have to fight for her life.
Then another student Jason ends up dead in Mallory's room and she is not sure how he got there and why he was there in the first place. Once again she is accused of killing a boy and she has no memory of it. See the doctor prescribed her some sleeping pills and when she takes them she is knocked out cold. What is a girl to do? She will have to uncover the mystery behind Brian's death and piece together Jason's death and who is responsible because she was sleeping when he was killed.
I loved this Psychological thriller. It had me at the edge of my seat and it will leave you breathless! This is a must read YA book for 2013!
Chapter One Preview:
My mother hid the knife block.
In hindsight, that was the fi rst sign. And then, two nights
ago, she locked her bedroom door. It had to be subconscious,
but still, I didn’t want to think too hard about what she
was secretly thinking. I guess that was the second sign. And
now there was a suitcase on my bed. Which wasn’t really a
sign at all. It was the actual event.
The suitcase was full, bulging at the top, but nothing
seemed missing from my closet. Jean skirts. Check. Twenty
thousand tank tops. Check. Floor covered with mismatched
fl ip- fl ops. Check. When I unzipped the top and peered inside,
all the hope drained out of me in a single breath. Khaki pants,
tags still on. A stack of identical collared shirts. I recognized
the emblem from my father’s old pictures. Gold crest on red
material. Oh, excuse me, not red—scarlet.
Those were the colors at Monroe Prep. Gold for victory,
scarlet for the bond of blood. They were wrong, though. Scarlet
was not the color of blood. And despite what Nathaniel
Hawthorne led me to believe, it wasn’t the color of shame
I should know.
Brian’s blood had stained the kitchen tiles a fi re- engine
red. And as I watched him slide to the fl oor, the color I felt
inside was a deep, deep burgundy.
I closed the suitcase, tiptoed down the wooden steps, and
curled my toes on the cold tiled fl oor. The air conditioner was
set too low and the vent rattled above my head. It was Labor
Day weekend, humid, practically stifl ing, but using the air
conditioner was a new thing in our house. We were a block
from the beach and the cross breeze kept things perfectly cool
as long as the windows were open.
But we didn’t open the windows anymore.
I walked toward the couch where my parents were busy
ignoring me and rubbed at the goose bumps forming on my
arms— partially from the artifi cially cold air, but mostly from
the feeling coming from behind me, from the kitchen. Like a
high- pitched frequency with no sound. I kept my back to it.
Dad had the newspaper folded open to the crossword
puzzle in his lap, and Mom had her feet propped up on the
coffee table, painting her toenails a pale pink. But her hands
kept shaking, and the pink seeped out from the borders and
onto her skin, spreading like blood.
I cleared my throat, and Dad looked up. Mom concentrated
on her shaking hand, like she wasn’t sure what it would
“You’re sending me to Monroe,” I said. I phrased it like an
accusation, but it still came out sounding like a question.
Mom closed the bottle of polish and frowned at her feet.
She wiped her nails with her bare hand. Then she looked at
her palm like she was confused about how the color got there,
mumbled to herself, and walked into the kitchen. She didn’t
seem to notice that the kitchen was pulsating.
Dad spoke. “Mallory, we’re incredibly fortunate. They
usually don’t accept applications this late in the pro cess. But
given the circumstances, and given my connections, they
were willing to make an exception.”
“The circumstances?” I asked, but he didn’t respond.
Must’ve been an interesting conversation. We have a bit of a
situation, being that my daughter killed a boy— specifi cally, her
boyfriend— in our kitchen, and people are really none too pleased
about that here, you see.
He could rearrange the sentence any way he chose. It’d still
end with me holding the knife and Brian dying on the fl oor.
Mom walked back to the couch, drying her hands on a
dish towel. “Mom?” I asked. This wasn’t the fi rst time Dad had
tried to send me to Monroe. As a kid, he had dragged me to
reunions and weddings and charity golf tournaments. I guess
he just expected I’d eventually go there, like most alumni
kids. So two years ago, before the start of freshman year, he
had sent in a preliminary application. Mom got the phone
call from the school requesting my transcript. It didn’t go
“Over my dead body,” she had said back then.
Now she still wouldn’t look at me. She opened the nail
polish, propped her feet up, and started again. “It’s a fresh
start,” she said to her toes.
Apparently, two years ago, my mother had lied. Apparently,
any dead body would do.
I ran back upstairs, taking the steps two at a time, and dialed
Colleen’s number. Someone answered and promptly hung up.
I tried her cell phone, but it went straight to voice mail. Still
grounded. Colleen was always getting grounded, though it
had never lasted this long before.
She typically got a weekend of house arrest for sneaking
out at night. She was sentenced to three days for plagiarizing
an En glish paper once, but it was midweek, so that barely
even counted. And that one time she lugged her mom’s supply
of alcohol down to the beach in her guitar case and the cops
dragged her home got her two full weeks. I ran when the cops
I always ran.
This punishment was going on six weeks. Six weeks for one
lie. Such a waste. No matter what she told the police, I wasn’t
going to be charged. That’s what my lawyer said anyway.
He’d been here the week before, when the knife block
was still on the counter and my parents still left their bedroom
door unlocked. John Defano or Defarlo or something.
He was tanning- bed dark with slicked- back hair, bleached
teeth, and a gold chain that was visible if his collar was unbuttoned
(which it was)— and he was, unfortunately, as sleazy as
“Mallory Murphy,” he’d said, scanning my tanned legs
resting on the coffee table. “Just rolls off the tongue.”
“So does Lolita,” I mumbled, picking at a nearly invisible
speck on the sofa. But then I stopped digging at the couch
cushion and stared at him, at his unnaturally white teeth
smiling at me.
The lawyer had never spoken to me before. It was always,
“Keep her inside,” or “Don’t let her talk to anyone,” with a
thumb jutting in my general direction. And now he was talking
to me. And smiling. Even my parents could sense it. They
leaned forward in their seats, practically salivating for the
“It’s over,” he’d said. Mom jumped up and looked around
like she wanted to grab onto someone. Possibly me. Instead she
wrapped the lawyer in an awkward hug. Then Dad and the
lawyer did this overly enthusiastic handshaking, and Dad
smiled so wide I could see his gums. Then they all turned
to me, like they were waiting for something to happen. Like
maybe I should hug someone or smile or something.
“What happened?” I’d asked, staying on the couch.
The lawyer stretched his arms out to his sides and waved
them around the open fl oorplan of the downstairs, taking
in the living room, dining room, and kitchen beyond. “This
is your home,” he said. “It’s yours to defend. Here in New Jersey,
you have no duty to attempt to fl ee the premises unless
you are positive you can make it out unharmed.” The lawyer’s
gaze slid down my exposed arms, but this time he wasn’t
checking me out. He was eyeing the fading pink scars that
covered my forearms. “Based on the evidence,” he said,
pointing at my arms, “the prosecutors are satisfi ed with your
I glanced at my parents, but they were looking toward the
kitchen. No, they were looking past it. At the door. “The victim
was committing a felony,” the lawyer continued. He motioned
toward the living room window, still missing a screen. And
below it, the display table, now lacking anything to display.
“As such, the homicide is justifiable.”
Mom kept saying things like “How wonderful” and “Fantastic,”
but I could tell she wasn’t really listening anymore.
I squeezed my eyes shut so I wouldn’t sneak a glance at
the kitchen. It didn’t matter. I still saw it burned on the
insides of my eyelids. The granite island in the center of the
white tile fl oor. The stainless steel appliances. The skylight.
The knife block, now missing one knife. And the door. Of
course, the door.
I could’ve made it. It’s what the lawyer thought. It’s what
my parents thought. It’s what everyone thought. I could tell
because they never asked.
I heard Mom rummaging around in the cabinets while
Dad walked the lawyer to his car. And that night, when I ran
into the kitchen to grab a soda, the entire knife block was
missing. Just in case I didn’t already know what she thought.
I snuck out the side door— not the one in the kitchen—
behind the laundry room, and kept to the sidewalk alley
between the backs of the beach houses. I walked, arms
folded across my stomach, until I reached the intersection
two blocks away. Then I paused, took a deep breath, and ran. I
didn’t turn my head, but I still saw the pine- green car sitting
at the corner, where I knew it would be. Exactly two hundred
yards from my front door. Where it had been every
I barely caught a glimpse as I ran, but I knew she saw me.
I knew by the way the hairs on the back of my neck stood on
end and the way my ears rang and the way my instincts begged
me to keep running. I felt his mom’s eyes on me. I felt her
hate. I didn’t have to look to feel it.
I never looked.
I kept running until I reached the back of Colleen’s
house halfway down the next block. I didn’t feel safe until I
opened the gate of her high wooden fence, eased my body
through the tiny entrance, and latched it silently behind me.
I kept off the noisy pebbles by jumping from stepping stone
to stepping stone. The house was one level— an older beach
home that hadn’t been demolished and rebuilt like the rest of
ours— and its windows were wide open.
“Coll,” I whispered into her bedroom window.
She had her music turned up and face turned away, brown
curls bouncing to the beat. Yet somehow she knew I was there.
She spun around, glanced at her open bedroom door, and sent
me a quick sequence of hand signals. A twist of her fi rst two
fi ngers. A cross of her wrists. A fl ash of three fi ngers. Dairy
Twist. The one near the Exxon. Three minutes.
Yes, there were two Dairy Twists within walking distance.
Yes, we ate at both. I let myself out of her yard and walked
the last two blocks to the Dairy Twist. I was slouched against
the white vinyl on the side of the building when Colleen strode
across the intersection. She sank down beside me on the pavement,
like me and nothing like me. She was pale and curvy
where I was tan and straight. Curly light- brown hair to my
dark straight hair. Blue eyes to my brown.
People still got us confused. Must’ve been the way we
walked, or maybe talked. We’d been inseparable since her
family moved to town in the fi fth grade. Ever since Carly Preston
made fun of the gap between her front teeth and I’d told
Carly it was better than walking around with a hideous mouth
full of metal. Nobody makes fun of anything about the way
Colleen looks anymore, but not because of me.
Colleen laced her fi ngers with mine and leaned her head
back on the wall. “She says I’m grounded for life. What do you
think that means in Dabner family talk? Two months? Three?
What will you do without me?”
“They’re sending me away,” I said, my voice wavering.
Colleen released my hand and stood up. “Sending you
where? Did the lawyer come back?”
I shook my head and stood. “Not prison. Boarding school.”
Colleen sucked in a giant breath and exhaled, “No!”
“Yes. New Hampshire. My dad’s old school.”
She shook her head, her curls whipping around. “No. No
fucking way. This isn’t happening.”
I started to panic at the way she was panicking— so unlike
Colleen. When the cops showed up, she lied through her teeth.
And when she found me later that night under the boardwalk,
she didn’t freak out. Didn’t adamantly shake her head or say
things like no or no fucking way or this isn’t happening. Instead
she’d said, “I’m sorry,” which made no sense. And besides, I
And now she was freaking out. “God, I can’t believe I didn’t
go home with you that night.”
“Cody Parker,” I said, forcing a smile. Trying to force her to
smile. “Who could blame you?”
“Cody fucking Parker,” she mumbled. “So not worth it.
God, this is one of those things I don’t think I’ll ever be able to
make up to you, you know?”
“Coll, it wasn’t your fault,” I said, because it wasn’t.
And she said, “No, it was Brian’s fault. That little prick.”
Because that was just the sort of thing a best friend should say.
She started crying and said, “Shit,” as she wiped at the mascara
under her eye.
She grabbed me around the middle and cried into my
shoulder, and I felt that ache in my throat like I was going to
cry too, but nothing came out. I held on tight, reasonably sure
that I would never love another human being as much as I
loved Colleen Dabner in that moment.
Someone leaned out a car window and whistled. We both
shot him the middle fi nger. And then Colleen’s hand tightened
around my arm. Because standing on the corner of the
street was a group of guys, watching us in a way that made
Colleen dig her fi ngers into my skin.
Joe and Sammy and Cody fucking Parker. And Dylan. Brian’s
brother, Dylan. I did a double take before I realized it was
him. Even though Dylan was three years younger than Brian,
sixteen like me, he had his brother’s same lanky build, same
blond hair, same amber eyes.
Empty now, just like Brian’s.
They didn’t speak. Dylan stood so still I wondered whether
he was breathing at all, until I noticed the fi ngers on his left
hand twitching. Cody stared straight at me, but he wasn’t
making eye contact. Sammy dropped his hands to his sides,
and chocolate milk shake sloshed out the top of his cup, running
across his knuckles. And without communicating with
each other, they spread out in a semicircle in front of us. I could
see it happen, the shift in thinking. Like they were losing
individual accountability, becoming part of something more.
“Hey now,” Colleen said, putting her hand palm out in
front of her.
They shuffl ed closer, and we backed up against the dirty
siding. The only one who seemed to be thinking anything for
himself was Dylan, and it didn’t look like he was thinking
“Cody,” Colleen said, brushing her hair off her shoulder.
Cody jerked his head, registering Colleen for the first time.
Colleen could get guys to do what ever she wanted with a single
sway of her hips or a tilt of her head, and this was no exception.
Cody stepped to the side, forming a little path.
“Get out of here, Colleen.”
“Yeah, I’m gone.” She gripped me by the wrist and pulled,
like maybe they’d think I was just an extension of her. I brushed
Dylan’s shoulder as I passed, and all the muscles in his arm
I turned my head to say something, but really, there was
nothing to say. And Colleen was moving fast. One more step,
and we were gone. We sprinted until we reached Colleen’s
“Maybe leaving for just a little while isn’t such a bad idea,
huh?” Then she squinted, even though there wasn’t any glare,
and backed into her yard. I heard her feet scrape against the
siding as she scrambled back through her bedroom window.
There was pizza on the dining room table, but my parents
were eating on the couches in the living room. We didn’t eat
in the dining room anymore because of the tiny fragments
of glass. There weren’t any, really, not anymore. But no matter
how many times my mother vacuumed the fl oor, she swore
there were pieces left behind. She said it wasn’t safe. And the
kitchen, well, it looked pretty much the same as always except
for the spot on the fl oor where the cleaning company had
used bleach. Even though the tile and the grout were both
white, we could still see the outline where they had to scrub
out the blood. Whiter than all the rest.
And there was this feeling now. A presence. Not quite a
ghost. But something.
It was that same something my grandma tried to tell me
about before she died, but after she knew she was dying. I’d
sat on the side of her bed, looking anywhere but at her, and
she snatched my hand and pressed it into her bony chest. “Do
you feel that?” she asked. I didn’t know whether she was talking
about her heart or her soul, but all I felt was knobby bone,
riddled with cancer. And then, below that, a weak pulse. “That
I glanced to the door, hoping Mom would come in soon.
I never knew what to say when the medicine took control of
her mouth. She squeezed my hand tighter and said, “Mallory.
Pay attention. That’s real. It lives on. It has to.” Then she released
me. “It’s not the end,” she’d said. “This cannot be the end.”
She died anyway. All of her. But sometimes when I’d walk
by her room, I’d catch a whiff of her perfume, feel a fullness
to her room. I’d think about what she told me, and I’d stand at
the entrance, staring in. Not sure what was left behind. But it
was something. And sometimes I’d turn around and fi nd my
mom standing behind me, watching me, watching the room.
But I didn’t stand at the entrance of the kitchen contemplating
what that something was. I didn’t really want to know.
This one time I was supposed to meet Brian on the boardwalk
after lunch, which was infuriating because he wouldn’t
specify a time. Summer was supposed to be timeless, he’d said,
which usually meant I ended up waiting so I wouldn’t miss
him. I found Colleen hanging out with a group of guys from
school and joined her. We were both in the usual dress code
for the shore: bathing suit tops and short shorts, and some
guy had his hand on my bare back when Brian walked up
He’d wrapped his arms over my shoulders and said “Hey”
into my ear, and I could tell he was smiling. Then he pulled
me backward and tightened his arms and said, “Sorry, guys,
this one’s mine.” I smiled and mouthed the word “Bye” to
Colleen, and walked with Brian’s arms around me, smiling
because he had called me his.
But now when I walked in the kitchen, the fullness to the
room was suffocating. Like his arms, wrapped around me,
squeezing and squeezing until I was short of breath and then
out of breath. I felt the word whispered throughout the room,
grazing the exposed skin on my arms, my legs, my neck. Mine,
it whispered. This one’s mine.
I shivered and grabbed a slice of pizza from the dining
room table and took it to my room. I packed a second
suitcase. My flip- flops and shorts and frayed jeans. My toothbrush
and cell phone charger and sleeping pills. The essentials.
Then I swallowed a sleeping pill and waited. It sucked me
down into the mattress, my limbs heavy and sluggish. And
as I waited, I stared at the ceiling fan, same as every night. I
looked straight upward so I wouldn’t catch a glimpse of his
shadow beside my closet door, his outline on the curve of my
dresser. I kept the comforter pulled up to my chin so I wouldn’t
feel his breath against my neck. The word “mine” whispered
onto my skin.
I heard it coming, same as every night. Far away at fi rst.
Boom, boom, boom.
Coming closer. Slow and steady, in that place between
sleep and wake. Like I was half hearing, half imagining.
I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. I didn’t want to,
Because it was here.
Boom, boom, boom.
My whole room throbbed with it.
The beating of his hideous heart.
And then there was nothing but the dream. Same as every
night. One moment, stretched out to fi ll the hours. A breath.
A blink. Infinity in a heartbeat.
Amber eyes clouding with confusion. A raspy voice pleading,
“Mallory, wait.” The word “no” dying on his mouth.
The blood on the fl oor, the blood on my hands.
The door as I pushed through it, staining it red.
The dark. The night.
Even in my dream I ran.
I always ran.
About This Author
Megan is a scientist - turned - teacher - turned - stay-at-home-mom - turned - writer. She is not nearly as indecisive as she sounds. She lives near Charlotte, North Carolina, where she volunteers as an MIT Educational Counselor, does the mom thing by day, and writes by night.
Her first novel, FRACTURE, was published in January 2012 by Walker/Bloomsbury. HYSTERIA, a YA psychological thriller, will be published in February 2013. VENGEANCE, a companion/sequel to FRACTURE, will follow in 2014.
FIND MEGAN ON: