Being in high school is tough as it is — dealing with the popular and jock cliques, trying to find a place in the world and developing who you are as a person. However, high school becomes someone’s worst nightmare when there’s a killer on the loose targeting classmates and close friends. Natasha Preston’s book “The Fear” follows Izzy, a high schooler who is uninterested in the social hierarchy.
Trying to go undetected throughout the school day becomes a challenge when one winter day in Izzy’s small town, someone anonymously posts a meme sharing their biggest fear: the scariest way to die. Unbeknownst to the students and the locals of this town, someone is recording all the answers.
Izzy, being the person who is finding bodies left and right, is bombarded into this world of investigation and whodunnits. There is no return for her, and there’s a reason why she was the one to find the bodies. School continues to be as normal as it can be, as the parents of the town believe it’s the safest place for their kids. Yet, murders are still happening and are getting more personal.
While investigating, Izzy is paired up with the school’s loner, Axel, for a class project. She teams up with her crush and high school celebrity, Justin, and Axel’s cousin, Tristan, to try to figure out who could be behind these murders.
What Izzy doesn’t realize is that the murderer, which turns out to be murderers, has been after her all along.
I found this book on “BookTok,” and I am not disappointed. Preston’s books, like “The Twin” and “The Lake,” are known for their thriller and mystery. “The Fear”lives up to those expectations. In fact, this was such an interesting read that it took me less than a day to finish this book.
Preston’s style of writing is easy to follow and creates a quick read. However, the concept of this book is what kept the beginning interesting, as the background information is shared by Preston over and over again. Preston repeats the setting of the book so many times that it becomes a nuance without adding anything to the plot. Stating that it’s snowing outside isn’t telling the reader who murdered who.
In the book, the characters could have been developed more thoroughly. “The Fear'' focuses on Izzy and Axel making the side characters, who turn out to be important to the plot, seem disposable. Not only that, but Izzy herself is quite the annoying character. She is the stereotypical whiny, average teenage girl that is often portrayed in horror movies, like the kind of girl who is killed by curiosity.
I reveled in this read because it kept me on my toes. However, towards the end, it was easy to guess who had been behind the murders all along. Even then, the end was action-packed with a twist that came out of nowhere, so I was not let down.
This book has left me shocked and wanting answers as to what happens next, but those questions remain unanswered. Preston has over 20 books that follow the same format as “The Fear.”Leaving her readers on cliffhangers is Preston’s speciality.
I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a quick read and is interested in murder investigations and coming-of-age stories. I have already bought two more of her novels because of how much I enjoyed her writing style and the anxious thrill this genre creates.