Liz Currently Loves….Dare Me by Megan Abbott.


Publication Date: Available now from Picador

Source: Purchased Copy

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.

As a reviewer I get sent an awful lot of books which I will always be eternally grateful for, and an offshoot of that life is that I also get a great many recommendations from readers in the online community each month all of which I consider carefully but often never get around to reading. Dare Me from Megan Abbott had been recommended to me several times, which is always a good indication that it has that special “something” so it was one of my book budget picks last month and I loved every minute of it.

There is a quote from it that sums things up perfectly. There’s something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls.  And often there is, there really really is…

In “Dare Me” we meet Addy, a popular girl, second in command to main popular girl Beth, and for a long time they have ruled school life and the cheer squad with relentless charm and ruthlessness and lived their lives by a certain order and routine that outwardly looks pretty cool but both of these girls have a lot of inner turmoil. Some of it standard teenage angst but some of it a lot darker…

When Colette arrives to coach the team everything changes – in a lot of ways she is like an older version of the girls she teaches, with added life experience and not necessarily their best interests at heart. I found her to be a particularly fascinating character as she draws the team into a more adult world, one they really are totally unprepared for. Her agenda is unclear, but everyone gets caught up in her maelstrom with often devastating results.

Megan Abbott writes with a beautifully dark and intense prose that draws you into the world she has created and gets you right to the heart of the matter. Her characters are insightfully drawn with a real depth of feeling so that you believe you understand them and their actions…until the rug is pulled out from under you and you realise that things are not that straightforward. Intelligently done and with some very dark themes bang at the centre, I found this to be a highly intriguing, emotional and captivating coming of age tale.

Characterisation really is key here, as understanding grows as to the true nature of the players, it is compelling and often downright scary reading. The things that are hidden just below the surface of the glitz and glamour of the cheerleading life are thought provoking and terrifically gripping, I could barely put it down.  I’m loathe to give anything away, but the story flows in an engaging and captivating way that makes this easily a one sitting read and as things unfold, you may often be on the edge of your seat.  This is a disconcerting, often startling and very unsettling read but absolutely riveting and with a real psychological depth especially when it comes to manipulative personalities. Be afraid…be very afraid…

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Happy Reading Folks!



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