Author: Megan Abbott

Book Review | The Turnout by Megan Abbott

Posted August 12, 2021 by Bonnie in 2021, Adult, Book Reviews / 2 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review | The Turnout by Megan AbbottThe Turnout by Megan Abbott
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on August 3, 2021
Pages: 352
Genres: Thriller
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: Dare Me, The Fever

two-stars

Bestselling and award-winning author Megan Abbott's revelatory, mesmerizing, and game-changing new novel set against the hothouse of a family-run ballet studio, and an interloper who arrives to bring down the carefully crafted Eden-like facade.

Ballet flows through their veins. Dara and Marie Durant were dancers since birth, with their long necks and matching buns and pink tights, homeschooled and trained by their mother. Decades later the Durant School of Dance is theirs. The two sisters, together with Charlie, Dara's husband and once their mother's prize student, inherited the school after their parents died in a tragic accident nearly a dozen years ago. Marie, warm and soft, teaches the younger students; Dara, with her precision, trains the older ones; and Charlie, back broken after years of injuries, rules over the back office. Circling around each other, the three have perfected a dance, six days a week, that keeps the studio thriving. But when a suspicious accident occurs, just at the onset of the school's annual performance of The Nutcracker, a season of competition, anxiety, and exhilaration, an interloper arrives and threatens the delicate balance of everything they've worked for.

Taut and unnerving, The Turnout is Megan Abbott at the height of her game. With uncanny insight and hypnotic writing, it is a sharp and strange dissection of family ties and sexuality, femininity and power, and a tale that is both alarming and irresistible.

“It was the three of them. Always the three of them. Until it wasn’t. And that was when everything went wrong.”

Marie, Dara, and her husband Charlie all work together at the Durant School of Dance in addition to living together in the girls’ childhood home until Marie moved out abruptly a few short months ago. She didn’t go far, however, taking up residence on the third floor of the school; an area only accessible via an old spiral staircase. The third floor used to be the domain of their late mother, a woman that even in death holds a strange thrall over the trio. After an ancient space heater caused a fire at the school, they’re forced to shut down one of the studio’s because of the excessive damage. They hire a contractor that woos them with wondrous imaginings of what their school could become, a far cry from the antiquated state that its been in since their mother was a teacher. He ends up becoming a far larger part of their lives when Marie develops an eerie obsession with him.

“What is it, Dara kept asking herself. What is it we’ve let in our studio, our mother’s studio. My sisters’ bed. My sister’s body. Our lives.”

The dynamic between the sisters was incredibly unusual, ripe with the feeling that you were missing something, some story, to clarify the strangeness. But honestly, “strangeness” is putting it lightly. The abundant amount of sexual references and detailed descriptions permeated this story and it was more than just a little disconcerting especially when it involved the children in their classes or recollections of their own sexual experiences as children.

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“You build this family. And it’s perfect. It’s everything you wanted. And then something goes wrong. Slowly or all at once.”

Abbott’s stories always have a creeping wrongness to them, stories that go wrong slowly. You know it would be foolish to expect anything resembling a happy ending but the path to get there is languid and full of holes. There was a time when I enjoyed that type of story, one that simmers endlessly, with no boiling point in sight. I think that time has passed for me because Abbott’s stilted and fragmented way of storytelling has become more grating than anything. As always with Abbott, the twist was quite unpredictable, but I disliked such a large portion of the book that any twist was unlikely to change my mind.

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Paperback Release Day Blitz – The Fever by Megan Abbott

Posted May 12, 2015 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Blitz, Giveaways / 1 Comment

Paperback Release Day Blitz – The Fever by Megan AbbottThe Fever by Megan Abbott
Published by Back Bay Books on May 12, 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Mystery
Format: Paperback
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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Also by this author: Dare Me, The Fever, The Turnout

The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.

A chilling story about guilt, family secrets and the lethal power of desire, The Fever affirms Megan Abbot's reputation as "one of the most exciting and original voices of her generation" (Laura Lippman).

Megan Abbott is an amazing writer that has quickly become a favorite so I’m thrilled to be promoting the paperback release of The Fever by Megan Abbott hosted by Rockstar Book ToursThe Fever is part mystery part real-life horror that is actually based on a true story which makes it all the more terrifying. Check out my review here and to read more about the real life story of Le Roy, New York.

This book blitz also includes a giveaway opportunity courtesy of Megan, Little Brown, and Rockstar Book Tours so check out the Rafflecopter to enter below!

5 winners will receive a paperback copy of THE FEVER! US Only.
Ends on May 22nd at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Duo Review – The Fever by Megan Abbott

Posted November 7, 2014 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Dani's Reviews, Duo Review, Read in 2014 / 3 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Duo Review – The Fever by Megan AbbottThe Fever on June 17th 2014
Pages: 303
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.

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‘You spend a long time waiting for life to start–the past year or two filled with all these firsts, everything new and terrifying and significant–and then it does start and you realize it isn’t what you’d expected, or asked for.’

The Fever centers around the Nash family: 16-year-old Deenie, her 18-year-old brother Eli and their divorced dad, Tom, who is a science teacher at the two siblings high school. On a seemingly ordinary day, Deenie’s friend Lise falls from her school desk convulsing from a seizure. Their friend Gabby suffers a similar incident shortly after and the hysteria swells further when another girl at their high school succumbs to this strange sickness. The reasons range between environmental concerns to a recent vaccine all the girls received but the doctor’s all fail to provide any solution to the problem.

“It has to do with all of them. All of them. Don’t you see? It’s just begun.”

Dare Me made me an instant Abbott fan, primarily due to her most impressive skill of being able to accurately portray teenagers without cutting any corners or lessening the intensity and her skills are on display once again in The Fever. Abbott provides various points of view, separate from the teenagers, including that of  Tom who presents the ‘parental’ point of view of the story and allows us a glimpse firsthand the paranoia consuming the town because of these incidents. I found the mystery to be riveting and baffling (yet scarily plausible) but was ultimately left displeased by the perfunctory and almost ambiguous ending. That is until I found out that this story of hysteria in a small town is actually based on a real-life incident in Le Roy, New York. After reading up on a New York Times article detailing this event, Abbott’s story doesn’t stray far from the truth. (If you don’t want to be spoiled, I wouldn’t read up on Le Roy until you’ve finished The Fever.) Knowing that this story is based on truth, only makes it more fearful than it was originally.

Megan Abbott is a truly unique writer, portraying female adolescence in a way that we can all (frighteningly) understand. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Bonnie’s Rating:
four-stars
 

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“We put them at risk just by having them. And the hazards never stop.”

The plot grabs you at the very beginning with a huge shocking “ka-pow” of an introduction. A mysterious illness is ravaging through all the girls of a small town high school. The story continues to be shrouded by false paths and deception. With all of the build-up, the resolution demands to be shocking and in your face. Instead, it could be summed up in three words: Girls are batshit.

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“Maybe you bring the darkness inside you. Maybe [she] has it inside her now.”

Fever is full of gorgeous writing that accurately captures so much of a teenage girl’s thoughts and emotions in her relationships and everyday life. Megan Abbott very convincingly describes small-town paranoia and mob mentality during chaos. I was ultimately concerned with my perception that the moral of the story was slut-shaming gone viral, literally. While this book left me feeling unsatisfied, I’m not put off from reading her other works – that’s how beautiful the writing is alone.

For great reads on pandemics, check out Blindness by José Saramago or The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton. Want to more of all the joy of snarky teenage girls, look for Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard (for the ultimate Mean Girls) or The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares (for the best friend forever experience).

Dani’s Rating:

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Fever: A Novel by Megan Abbott

Posted January 15, 2014 by Bonnie in Waiting on Wednesday / 6 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Fever: A Novel by Megan AbbottThe Fever: A Novel by Megan Abbott
Published by Little Brown and Company on June 17th 2014
Pages: 320
Genres: Horror
Format: Hardcover
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Dare Me, The Fever, The Turnout

The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hocky star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.

A chilling story about guilt, family secrets and the lethal power of desire, THE FEVER affirms Megan Abbot's reputation as "one of the most exciting and original voices of her generation."*

*Laura Lippman

I wasn’t expecting to like ‘Dare Me‘ as much as I did but it quickly made me a forever fan of Megan Abbott. I have yet to pick up any of her older works that for the most part appear to be all Mystery/Noir but I’ll definitely be picking up ‘The Fever’. Sounds fantastic!

What do you think of the ‘The Fever’? Have you read anything of Megan Abbott’s?

What are you Waiting on this Wednesday?

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Early Review – Dare Me by Megan Abbott

Posted July 28, 2012 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012 / 4 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Dare Me by Megan AbbottDare Me by Megan Abbott
Published by Reagan Arthur Books on July 31st 2012
Pages: 290
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller
Format: Hardcover
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Fever, The Turnout

four-half-stars

Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy's best friend and trusted lieutenant. Beth calls the shots and Addy carries them out, a long-established order of things that has brought them to the pinnacle of their high-school careers. Now they're seniors who rule the intensely competitive cheer squad, feared and followed by the other girls -- until the young new coach arrives.

Cool and commanding, an emissary from the adult world just beyond their reach, Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life. Only Beth, unsettled by the new regime, remains outside Coach's golden circle, waging a subtle but vicious campaign to regain her position as "top girl" -- both with the team and with Addy herself.

Then a suicide focuses a police investigation on Coach and her squad. After the first wave of shock and grief, Addy tries to uncover the truth behind the death -- and learns that the boundary between loyalty and love can be dangerous terrain.

The raw passions of girlhood are brought to life in this taut, unflinching exploration of friendship, ambition, and power. Award-winning novelist Megan Abbott, writing with what Tom Perrotta has hailed as "total authority and an almost desperate intensity," provides a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl.

‘The drone in my ear, it’s like the tornado drill in elementary school, the hand-cranked siren that rang mercilessly, all of us hunched over on ourselves, facing the basement walls, heads tucked into our chests. Beth and me wedged tight, jeaned legs pressed against each other. The sound of our own breathing. Before we all stopped believing a tornado, or anything, could touch us, ever.’

Ah, the sordid lives that teenagers lead, hidden under their masks of perfection. Seemingly perfect girls Addy and Beth are cheerleaders but it’s more than just a hobby to them; it’s a part of who they are. Their lives would mean nothing if they weren’t in cheer. When the new school year comes around and with it a new cheer coach, it sets about a change so big that no one can even begin to imagine the end results.

‘…we work hard because it raises a din, a rabid, high-pitched din that can nearly drown out the sound of the current and coming chaos. The sense that everything is changing in ways we can’t guess and that nothing can stop it.’

Now, when I first read the synopsis and how it’s about two troubled high school girls who are best friends and also cheerleaders my mind automatically flashed to scenes from Bring It On and Gossip Girl and I physically winced and completely lost all interest in ever pursuing it. And then it shows up in my mailbox. FINE. I’ll give it a shot. Well. These girls make Gossip Girls look tame in comparison and they are far from the perky preppy bitches in Bring It On. They are brilliantly methodical and the strength they exude is at times quite scary, especially when you realize these are 16 and 17 year-olds. Often I’ll read a story based on young adults and if it’s not done well their mature acts come across as phony and insincere. Addy and Beth were real and it was nothing short of enthralling.

‘Time comes, you have to listen to yourself.
As if listening to yourself was just something you could do. As if there were something there to listen to. A self inside you with all kinds of smart things to say.’

And as far as the writing goes, the only way I can think of describing it is being incredibly intense. This is not YA so just because the main characters are in high school, do yourself a favor and don’t jump to conclusions. But wow, the storyline was already extreme, the characters vivid, but the powerful lines thrown in really completed it. Megan Abbott… where have you been hiding?

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