To say I was disappointed with Catching the Fever by Kylee Gwartney would be an understatement. I knew the novel was going to be a fun, light read about four teenage girls chasing their favorite pop idol in order to save their school, but I couldn’t get past the shallow characters and rudimentary grammar mistakes.
The novel starts out with three girls in a liberal arts boarding school who have had every luxury given to them by their parents. One of the girls, known as a queen bee type, gets a hippie girl with dreads as a roommate. Soon after, the girls realize their beloved school is about to be closed down due to lack of funding and decide to steal another student’s BMW to go plead with pop star Justin Crew to perform at a benefit concert. Justin Crew is described to be everything that Justin Beiber is today. Also, Gwartney writes that girl’s succumb to “Crew Fever,” which is very similar to the current Beiber Fever.
This is where I, as a reader and former copy editor, grew very weary of this story. It seemed like Gwartney was just taking current events and writing them word for word into her story. It felt very cliché and unoriginal. Pairing this with the delinquent actions of this novel’s main characters, I would say that the story was not only unbelievable, but creatively uninspired.
The ending to the story was not only short, but also not well-developed. All of the characters seem to have a bubble gum happy ending, but there’s little proof that these actions could have actually taken place given past encounters throughout the novel. Also, there were many comma mistakes sprinkled in every chapter of the book. This made me believe that the author was not prepared to take on a novel.
I don’t mean to sound harsh. I know that Catching the Fever was supposed to be a fast read for teenage girls, but I think that the author could have put a little more time into the characters and writing to make the story more believable and to make the characters have more depth. I would say a very young pre-teen would enjoy the story, but then there is the issue of the girls in the story stealing a car. I think Catching the Fever could have definitely used more editing before it went public.
Sarah Emily Lelonek has a BA in English Literature from Kent State University. She is planning on attending Graduate School for English Rhetoric and Composition. She enjoys traveling and gaming while on breaks from working on her novel.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.