"Tense, dark, and beautifully written" (Gillian Flynn), this novel of friendship and betrayal from an Edgar Award-winning author is a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl.
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. Writing with "total authority and an almost desperate intensity" (Tom Perrotta), award-winning novelist Megan Abbott delivers a story as unnerving and thrilling as adolescence itself.
"Spectacular . . . It's Heathers meets Fight Club good." -- Chelsea Cain, the New York Times Book Review
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Megan Abbott, the author of stunning books that bridge the worlds of young adult and crime fiction, deserves her moment in the sun. Her 2012 novel exploring the twisted machinations of a high school cheerleading squad is being adapted for the small screen—and we bet it’ll be a bingeable treat. Dare Me is a propulsive, razor-sharp crime thriller that shows off Abbott’s gift for creating dark and intriguing portraits of American teens.
Edgar Award-winner Abbott dives into a gut-churning tale of revenge, power, desire, and friendship in the insular world of high school cheerleading, in her latest (after The End of Everything). Addy Hanlon, 16, has always been second lieutenant, "fidus Achates," to her best friend Beth, who's pep squad captain. But when a new coach flippantly removes Beth from power and takes Abby as her confidante, Beth turns vengeful. The new coach transforms the squad, changing it from a costumed clique to a competitive team and earning the cheerleaders' adulation, but the squad's development has a darker side: eating disorders, rivalries, cruelty, and the blurring of lines between student and adult. The coach has a darker side, too, and Abby is drawn into her secrets, including a troubled marriage. A shocking turn sends everyone spiraling wildly and traps Abby in the middle. Abbott's writing in her sixth novel is deliciously slick and dark, matching her characters' threatening circumstances, and the plot is tight and intense, building a world in which even the perky flip of a cheerleader's skirt holds menace. "There's something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls," one character says. Indeed.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This book is unbelievable. Not only does Megan Abbot provide a chilling plot line, but she creates this dark world that is impossible to stay out of. We have all heard the horrors of cheerleader before, but the way Abbot approaches the eating disorders masked in glitter and the fierce bonds formed not only shows you the world but makes you understand it. The characters are compelling and a part of you knows what is coming... But trust me, it's not what you think!
Twisty and twisted
This book is playfully and beautifully written, and without giving too much away, I'll just say that it takes you in a certain direction, and you think you basically know what's going on, then end up realizing that you didn't really know what was going on at all. It's much more thoughtful--and dark, and heartbreaking--than the cheerleader context might lead you to expect.
Dont waste the time
This book did have decent suspense, but it was less due to the plot and more because I was waiting to get it. The girls are all written very strange and disjointed. All 1/2 conversations that left the reader wondering why Addy felt so intense towards Coach, beth, or anything at all. I have nothing against cheerleading, I read this book liking that angle, but the writing was so contrived and simply silly. I was hoping for a Heathers meets Bring it On type story and was sorely disappointed. I still give it 2 stars because I did read it and rather quickly. I just didn't care for the characters or plot.