Sunday, October 7, 2012

Book #62: Dare Me

Book #62: Dare Me by Megan Abbott
5/5 stars

I had never read anything by Megan Abbott (Not to be confused with The Princess Diaries author, Meg Cabot), before this, but I think I found out about this novel through some site related to Gillian Flynn. It was a few months ago, so I'm not really sure, but the reason it took me so long to read this book is because it took a few months to get a hold of through the library. It's Abbott's newest novel, and after reading it, I can understand where her popularity is coming from!

Dare Me is a suspenseful, dark novel about cheerleaders and their new coach. Yes, I know, cheerleaders. I'm not sure about you, but cheerleaders aren't usually the protagonists in the novels I read. As a former high school drama nerd, I was never a fan of cheerleaders. However, if I can like this novel despite the cheerleaders, I'm sure most people can.

In Dare Me, Addy is the narrator, and she starts with a startling, ambiguous prologue in which it is clear that something has gone horribly wrong, probably in a violent way, but it's hard to tell. The novel then jumps back in time to the start of the school year, when Addy and her best friend, and cheer captain Beth, are gearing up for another competitive year of cheering and being super popular and amazing at everything they do. Yes, you'd think you couldn't stand reading about these girls, but I promise, the novel goes deeper than that.

There is a new coach for the cheerleaders this year, Colette French, a young, hardcore, yet somewhat mysterious woman. The girls on the team quickly flock around Coach...all except Beth, who isn't used to being out of the spotlight. Addy especially forms a strong bond with Coach, and the girls form almost a cult around their new idol, who works them to the bone in practice, but offers mature, coveted advice and just seems like everything they want to be.

However, when a suicide (no, I won't say who it was!) investigation effects Coach and the team,things start to get dark. Is Coach really who she seems? Is Beth? Are any of the girls? Do they all have dark sides? Who can be trusted?

In this novel of betrayal, secrets, and deception, the reader will see cheerleading practices and parties, but more often, you will encounter suspenseful dialogue, misleading circumstances, and cult-like obsessions. I loved this novel, and can't wait to read more of Abbott's work.

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