Dare Me: A Novel
  • Dare Me: A Novel
  • Dare Me: A Novel

Dare Me: A Novel

3.4 42
by Megan Abbott
     
 

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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… See more details below

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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. Agent: Dan Conaway, Writers House. (July)
Alafair Burke
"DARE ME sneaks up on you from behind, pulling on long-forgotten memories of teenaged desperation, obsession, and desire. This is truly masterful storytelling."
Rosamund Lupton
"Arresting, original and unputdownable."
Chevy Stevens
PRAISE FOR DARE ME:

"A fascinating, almost voyeuristic, glimpse into the power struggle that goes on between teenaged girls. Not just any teenaged girls-cheerleaders-with their own unique hierarchy and fierce code of loyalty, which they'll protect at any cost. There's a dark and twisted love story here, told with a rich sensual undertone that lingers long after you close the last page, still breathing in your ear: Dare me."

Susanna Moore
"Megan Abbott's brilliant new book presents a number of possibilities-the mysterious and the erotic, as well as the inevitable and paradoxical lessons of girlhood-with such illumination that the joyful terrors of adolescence were once again present in me. Abbott's characters, confronted with unaccustomed questions and strange, new difficulties, remind us that the loss of innocence can, if we are fortunate, emerge into a lustrous wisdom."
Tom Franklin
"I dare you not to love this book. You lucky reader."
Daniel Woodrell
"In Dare Me Megan Abbott guides us into the subculture of athletic and fierce young cheerleaders, who train together, compete, andbond until they form a rugged unit much as Marines form a rugged unit. She finds the nearly sinister underside of everyday events and somehow builds great suspense from ingredients that seem so familiar. Abbott has become expert at revealing truths we thought we knew but didn't, delivered in prose that is by turns elegant and incantatory."
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR DARE ME:"

A fascinating, almost voyeuristic, glimpse into the power struggle that goes on between teenaged girls. Not just any teenaged girls-cheerleaders-with their own unique hierarchy and fierce code of loyalty, which they'll protect at any cost. There's a dark and twisted love story here, told with a rich sensual undertone that lingers long after you close the last page, still breathing in your ear: Dare me."—Chevy Stevens, New York Times bestselling author of Still Missing and Never Knowing"

Arresting, original and unputdownable."—Rosamund Lupton, New York Times bestselling author of Sister"

DARE ME sneaks up on you from behind, pulling on long-forgotten memories of teenaged desperation, obsession, and desire. This is truly masterful storytelling."—Alafair Burke, author of Never Tell"

Megan Abbott's brilliant new book presents a number of possibilities-the mysterious and the erotic, as well as the inevitable and paradoxical lessons of girlhood-with such illumination that the joyful terrors of adolescence were once again present in me. Abbott's characters, confronted with unaccustomed questions and strange, new difficulties, remind us that the loss of innocence can, if we are fortunate, emerge into a lustrous wisdom."—Susanna Moore, author of In the Cut

Library Journal
Abbott's (The End of Everything) new novel takes readers behind the glitter and pom-poms of a varsity cheerleading squad to explore the dark undercurrents of high school girls. Captain Beth Cassidy, her first lieutenant Addy Hanlon, and the rest of the squad are upended when their school hires a new cheerleading coach. Sleek and knowing, Coach Collette French slices through their bravado and turns the girls into true athletes rather than merely "cheerlebrities." This results in an atmosphere in which some alpha girls falter, while others rise through the ranks. But the coach's relationship with the girls outside of school drags them into a very adult world of romantic entanglements, culminating in a shocking crime that threatens them all. VERDICT Abbott has a keen sense for the beauty, danger, and vulnerability of teenage girls; her spare, elegant prose cuts straight to the heart of the high school pecking order and brings the girls' world to life. Recommended for readers who enjoy dramatic stories about female relationships; it may also appeal to mature young adult readers. [See Prepub Alert, 1/21/12; seven-city tour.]—Amy Hoseth, Colorado State Univ. Lib., Fort Collins
Kirkus Reviews
Following the direction taken by her last novel (The End of Everything, 2011, etc.), Edgar winner Abbott again delivers an unsettling look at the inner life of adolescent girls in the guise of a crime story. The setting is an unnamed, frighteningly familiar town that could be found anywhere in contemporary America. Narrator Addy has been lifelong best friend to Beth, now the powerful captain of Sutton Grove High School's cheerleading squad. The cheerleaders are popular mean girls, and Beth is the meanest and most popular. Then a new coach, young and pretty Colette French, arrives. She immediately asserts her authority, not only taking away the girls' cell phones, but also announcing there will be no squad captain. A battle of wills ensues between Coach and Beth. Skilled at manipulation, Coach has the early upper hand. The girls respond to her tight discipline as well as to her perfect hair and her invitations to hang out at her carefully decorated house, where she lives with her workaholic husband and little girl. In particular, Coach befriends Addy, whose relationship with Beth has been strained since a dark episode at cheerleading camp the summer before. Addy tries to balance her increasingly divided loyalties but is gradually pulled into Coach's orbit. Soon, Addy is spending more time at Coach's house than anyone else. When Beth and Addy catch Coach having sex in the faculty lounge with a handsome National Guard recruiting officer assigned to the high school, Addy swears Beth to silence. But Beth's simmering resentment and jealousy concerning Addy's relationship with Coach have reached a boiling point by the time the officer turns up dead in his apartment. The whodunit aspect surrounding this death pales against the dark sexual and psychological currents that ripple among the girls (and Coach); the question of who is emotional victim versus who is predator becomes murkier and more disturbing than any detective puzzle. Compelling, claustrophobic and slightly creepy in a can't-put-it-down way.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316203234
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
07/31/2012
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
17,840
File size:
1 MB

What People are saying about this

Entertainment Weekly
Abbott's latest is not only a page-turning mystery—it's also a close look at teen girls' ferocious rivalries and intense bonds.
—Entertainment Weekly ("Summer Must List" column)
Chevy Stevens
A fascinating, almost voyeuristic, glimpse into the power struggle that goes on between teenaged girls. Not just any teenaged girls—cheerleaders—with their own unique hierarchy and fierce code of loyalty, which they'll protect at any cost. There's a dark and twisted love story here, told with a rich sensual undertone that lingers long after you close the last page, still breathing in your ear: Dare me.
—Chevy Stevens, NYT bestselling author of STILL MISSING and NEVER KNOWING
Susanna Moore
Megan Abbott's brilliant new book presents a number of possibilities — the mysterious and the erotic, as well as the inevitable and paradoxical lessons of girlhood — with such illumination that the joyful terrors of adolescence were once again present in me. Abbott's characters, confronted with unaccustomed questions and strange, new difficulties, remind us that the loss of innocence can, if we are fortunate, emerge into a lustrous wisdom.
—Susanna Moore, author of IN THE CUT
Rosamund Lupton
Arresting, original and unputdownable.
—Rosamund Lupton, NYT bestselling author of SISTER
Daniel Woodrell
In Dare Me Megan Abbott guides us into the subculture of athletic and fierce young cheerleaders, who train together, compete, andbond until they form a rugged unit much as Marines form a rugged unit. She finds the nearly sinister underside of everyday events and somehow builds great suspense from ingredients that seem so familiar. Abbott has become expert at revealing truths we thought we knew but didn't, delivered in prose that is by turns elegant and incantatory.
—Daniel Woodrell, author of WINTER'S BONE
Tom Franklin
I dare you not to love this book. You lucky reader.
—Tom Franklin, NYT bestselling author of CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER
Alafair Burke
DARE ME sneaks up on you from behind, pulling on long-forgotten memories of teenaged desperation, obsession, and desire.
This is truly masterful storytelling.
—Alafair Burke, author of NEVER TELL
Rosamund Lipton
Arresting, original and unputdownable. (Rosamund Lipton, NYT bestselling author of Sister)

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