Synopses & Reviews
"I dare you not to love this book. You lucky reader."---Tom Franklin, New York Times
bestselling author ofCrooked Letter, Crooked Letter
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.
"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)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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
"I dare you not to love this book. You lucky reader."--Tom Franklin, New York Times bestselling author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
"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
"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
Abbott marries the best pleasures of the pulp tradition with the highest ambitions of literary craft, yielding a novel that offers a strikingly diverse spectrum of readerly pleasures: It's a gripping murder mystery cloaked in a shrewd examination of female friendships, draped in rah-rah Americana, then reflected in the funhouse mirror of contemporary teenagerdom."--Adam Sternbergh, Slate
The high school cheerleading squad has a new coach: Colette French, perfect in every way, a cool and commanding presence who instantly wins the girls' approval and allegiance. The girls find themselves drawn into Coach's life, opening up to her and eagerly vying for her attention.
But when a suspicious suicide hits close to home, and the police investigation involves Coach and her squad, the girls are left wondering where their loyalties truly lie - and how far is too far to go for those in power.
When it's all over, someone will emerge on top, and the others will have fallen. Megan Abbott brings all of the raw passions of girlhood to life in this taut, unflinching exploration of what it means to be a leader, and what it means to truly fly.
About the Author
Megan Abbott is the Edgar Award-winning author of five previous novels. She received her Ph.D. in literature from New York University and has taught literature, writing, and film at NYU, the New School, and SUNY-Oswego. She lives in New York City.