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.Dare Me by Megan Abbott
Published by Reagan Arthur Books on July 31st 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller
Source: the Publisher
Also by this author: The Fever, The Turnout
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?