They were back in the audio-visual room again and Ted said, "Joy, we're crazy to do things here in school!"
Her eyes were shining. "But isn't it great when you almost get caught?" she said. "Don't you feel so alive?"
Ted Wharton, 42, a teacher at Whitman High in Somerside, New Jersey, lives a routine suburban life with his wife and kids. After fifteen years at the school he is disenchanted with teaching; he's just going through the motions at work- and also at home. Nothing excites him anymore, he fears that nothing ever will, and the clock is ticking.
Then it happens: on the same day that one of Ted's colleagues drops dead of a heart attack, Joy Dollinger, 17, a bright, irreverent, stunningly beautiful senior in one of his classes, makes a play for him. He puts up no resistance, and lets Joy take him on a long soul-shattering trip that shakes his spirit from its sleep. Exhilarated, fully alive for the first time in years, he revels in his wild trysts with Joy- many of which take place at Whitman High.
Day after day, Ted lives on the edge, obsessed with Joy- and terrified that his life will unravel. If his wife finds out what's going on, what then? If his colleagues find out? If Joy's father, who's trying to purge the Somerside schools of "obscene" books finds out? Or what if Joy, as she hints she might, tells all to her parents unless Ted vows to marry her? Panicked, he tries to end their relationship-and things spiral out of control.
A tragicomical tale of desire, deceit and betrayal, Fever 42 is a thunderbolt of a novel, an unforgettable Joyride.