Thursday, October 4, 2012

ReView of 'Dare Me' by Megan Abbott

Mystery Thriller; 290pgs
Reagan Arthur Books Publishing.

Addy and Beth, best friends and ruling their high-school careers.  At the top of their game, cheer-leading and otherwise, no one dares to mess with them.  That is until, their new coach arrives and sets the tone for all the girls, most of all Beth.  Beth becomes demoted from cheer-leading captain all the way to the bottom of the command order.  This rivals Beth and she sets out to turn against the coach.  Little do we know as the readers that a tragic even will turn their whole lives upside-down.

I borrowed this book, and I think I read it in just a few days.  I was pleasantly surprised by how well Megan Abbott writes.  I have to say I am a big fan of hers, now.  I will be reading a few other ones by her from now on, including 'The End of Everything.'  

You know, I didn't much care for the plot, meaning the topic of cheerleading.  I do have to say that Megan Abbott almost made me enjoy the plot around cheerleading.  She has a sophisticated and ambitious style of delivering the novel to you in just such a fashion that you find yourself immersed into the story by surprise.  You know she's a special genius because she makes the novel effortless to read.

I loved the tension between the two best friends before and after the new coach arrives.  These two young girls have a hard young life, making it and surviving it in a cut-throat environment of teenage hormones and revenge.  This book is a reminder of how evil the teenage years can be for young adult girls.  Unfortunately, this book is far from a young adult novel even though it has certain elements that might make it seem so.  It is very much an adult novel with adult themes.

Let me know what you think, if you've read it.  Personally, it isn't the kind of book I normally read, but there were certain topics I found myself wondering about.  Megan Abbott also has such an impeccable talent for capturing the mood and slang of teenage 'gangtas,' which is pretty much how she portrays these cheerleaders as.  This quote in particular says it all:

"At the pep rally, they see our swagger, our balls, our baddassery.  They get to see what we can do, how our bodies are not paper dolls and how our tans are armor.  How we defy everything, including the remorseless sugar maple floor planks nailed a half century ago, ten feet below, our bodies tilting, curving, arcing, whipping through the air fearless."

The caliber of this novel left me speechless at times.  

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