Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Book Review: Dare Me by Megan Abbott

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
335 Pages

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.

I dare you to not feel something when reading this book. Whether it’s disgust, anger, camaraderie, kinship – I guarantee something will strike you. And that’s why it’s so hard for me to rate this book. If you’re looking for your average YA love story, then Dare Me is not for you. If you’re looking for something a little dark, then you just may like this.

Dare Me is a story about a cheerleader. A very popular cheerleader. Basically, your stereotypical mean girl cheerleader. The story starts with their coach leaving and the girls getting a new one in her place. They soon find out that the new one isn’t so easy to bend to their will as the previous. However, one girl, Addy, goes against the will of the Queen Bee (captain) and falls into a very unhealthy relationship with the new coach. As the book goes on, more and more girls follow Addy’s lead until the lines are blurred on the student/teacher relationship.This is where things take a dark turn. The Queen Bee, angry that her followers have left her, decides to take down the new coach.

Addy idolizes her new coach. And why shouldn’t she? Coach has a loving husband, a beautiful child, and she used to be the Queen Bee of her day. But as the story goes on, we learn more about Coach and turns out, she never really grew out of the Queen Bee faze. Her actions are downright despicable for a person in a teaching role – giving alcohol to the girls, inviting them for sleepovers at her house, involving them in her infidelity. The lack of any sort of parental guidance makes this story even more unsettling. These girls, and their coach, basically go unchecked throughout the entire story with almost no repercussions for their actions.

Abbott is a great story teller. Her words and descriptions really drag you into this dark world of high school. However, I'm not sure you really want to connect with any of these characters. Did I love it? No. Did I hate it? No. But I'm still really not sure how I felt about it. I guess, I just really didn't get it. This is definitely one to judge for yourself and not go in with expectations


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