"Impossible to put down, creepy and claustrophobic. It’s ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane’ in ballet shoes." —Stephen King
Best Book of the Year
NPR • Wall Street Journal • Boston Globe • Library Journal • CrimeReads • LitReactor • Air Mail
Longlisted for the Joyce Carol Oates Prize A TODAY Show #ReadWithJenna Book Club PickAn Instant New York Times BestsellerNew York Times bestselling and award-winning author Megan Abbott's exquisite and disquieting new novel, “dark and juicy and tinged with horror” (The New York Times Books Review), set against the hothouse of a family-run ballet studio.
With their long necks and matching buns and pink tights, Dara and Marie Durant have been dancers since they can remember. Growing up, they were homeschooled and trained by their glamorous mother, founder of the Durant School of Dance. After their parents' death in a tragic accident nearly a dozen years ago, the sisters began running the school together, along with Charlie, Dara's husband and once their mother's prized student.
Marie, warm and soft, teaches the younger students; Dara, with her precision, trains the older ones; and Charlie, sidelined from dancing after years of injuries, rules over the back office. Circling around one another, 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 sisters' delicate balance.
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The world of ballet turns sinister in this taut chiller about tradition, family, and dark secrets. Trained since childhood to be dancers, Dara and her sister, Marie, now teach at the ballet school that their late mother founded. When a fire damages the institution, a contractor offers to build the school of their dreams, but his meddling soon threatens to tear their ballet studio—and family—to pieces. Megan Abbott has always loaded her roiling thrillers (Dare Me, You Will Know Me) with realistic characters and keen insights into personal relationships…especially between women. This one is no exception—she really puts us through our pirouettes with vivid details about the Durant School of Dance and its students’ grueling lives. That gritty realism fills each chapter with a delightful amount of dread and building tension as hidden truths are brought to light. Even if you’ve never dreamed of wearing a leotard, The Turnout is a great, creepy read.
Sisters Dara and Marie Durant, the protagonists of this gut-punching noir from Thriller Award winner Abbott (Give Me Your Hand), have been running the Durant School of Dance since the accidental death of their parents. They're aided by Dara's husband, Charlie, who was the ballet school's prize student and who became a surrogate sibling after his mother moved to England. Marie's move out of the family home to live in the building housing the dance studio changes the dynamic among the three, which is upended even further after a fire damages the school. Derek, an overbearing contractor who assesses the scope of the necessary repairs, hard-sells the Durants on extensive renovations to be funded by the insurance settlement. Dara has cause to worry when Marie becomes attracted to Derek. A suspicious death follows. Abbott is pitch-perfect at making the sisters' complex dynamic and mix of emotions plausible and painful, while capturing the competitiveness and cruelty of children's ballet, where every young girl wishes to be the center of attention. This look at the darker side of the dance world demonstrates why Abbott has few peers at crafting moving stories of secrets and broken lives.
Well, I’m only giving it an average rating. I’m not really sure why except it just didn’t do a whole lot for me. I might go so far as to say that it is not really a Must Read. Yes, there some little surprises along the way, but nothing earth shattering. Just a Meh……
Dark & twisty!
This started off a little slow, but quickly turned into a complex web of divisive family dynamics along with past and present trauma. This book was highly descriptive and really drew you into the inner workings of its characters. Centering around two sisters running their late mother’s ballet studio along with a former student, I loved how Megan Abbott fleshed this out. You’re only given bits and pieces of information and are left waiting on pins and needles for the big reveal. Definitive trigger warnings. This is a dark thriller that really touches on childhood traumas of different kinds and how difficult it can be to escape them. Incredibly well written; the twists and turns kept me guessing until she shocking end. As a former dancer myself, I thought the descriptions of the darker underbelly surrounding ballet was very accurately described. If you can handle the trigger warnings and are looking for a dark, interesting thriller that will keep you guessing, this one is for you. *I received an ARC prior to release in exchange for my honest review.
This was a most disappointing book. It was incredibly boring and the characters were not believable at all. They were disturbed and unhealthy. A poor story line. The writing was tedious. I could not wait to finish this read.