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.
©2012 Megan Abbott (P)2012 Hachette Audio
Mutually assured destruction
The secret history by Donna Tarrt due to the intensity of the relationships; the adult/ teen interplay & the dark undercurrent. Several of the Nicci French novels have similar themes of the perils of self/ other confusion.
The reader delivered the teenage voice with credibility & maimtained my interest in some of the details of Cheering, not a subject matter which initially engaged me.
Addy remains memorable for prevailing in the midst of the self destruction of Beth, Will & Coach. Beth was right, Addy was always the strong one.
For the first couple of chapters, i thought i had erred in buying a YA listen but after that this 50 something year old was fully engaged with the characters & their motivations while a vivid mind movie of their athletic feats was running throughout.The author managed to evoke memories of my own high school humiliations & gratitude that those memories now have the benefit of life experience.
You can't help but compare this to a cheerleader movie. Except that what made "Bring it on" one of those movies that was so bad, it was good, was the humor in it. Well, take some similarly vain and self involved teenagers, throw in a little mystery and take out all the humor, plus add a sprinkling of sexually confused teen angst - and voila! You got "Dare me"
It's not that it was bad exactly, it was just hard to get involved and care about the characters. Half the time you want to smack some sense in to them while groaning in exasperation, and the other half they are just boring cardboard cutouts who do predictably stupid things.
I suppose it will do as a summer read for the beach, but lack of substance was a turn-off for me.
I own a small shop selling custom/costume Jewelry. I love to listen to audio books while I create jewelry. I love all animals and get very upset when they aren't treated well, even in fiction.
Choppy, hard to follow. Waste of a credit. Very strange book. The reader was very good!
Elderly (1932), retired university professor, degrees in engineering and economics.
As other reviewers have noted, this is a poignant coming-of-age novel. Also there are elements of mystery and suspense. It should appeal to readers of all ages, especially YA readers. I recommend it highly.
The book also provokes questions about people who are already grown-up. Where are the adults in the lives of Addy, Beth and their Cheer Squad? Why are young girls assuming (correctly) that they can get in their cars at all hours and not be in trouble with, not even be missed by, their parents. Is Coach Colette ever concerned about the very real, potentially life threatening, danger in some of the routines she allows these kids to train for? Sharing alcohol and cigarettes with her students is not appropriate, but involving her student in her extramarital affair is totally unacceptable. Coach needs an adult in her life.
Abbott reminds us that beneath the bravado, the trash talk, the sexual experimentation, there is usually a fragile child trying to make it through some tough years. What is left when both the parents and the in loco parentis are missing.
The writing and the narration are excellent. The cover is extraordinary.
It's a lot like an LMN movie which I admit I like but other than that I didn't think it was that great. The cheerleaders are annoying, the story became predictable.
Evocative, startling voice
Wonderful writing from Megan Abbott. This woman really knows how to not only plot a taut story arc but also how to evoke compelling 3-D characters & craft precise, vivid, crackling prose. (Re. performance: I do so wish our narrators would stop making adolescent girls sound like munchkins. That said, this book's audio-narrator does give a *far* more nuanced performance than the audio-narrator of Abbott's The End of Everything, who basically ruins the latter book. Sad.)
It was witty in a very Snarky way. It was not childish soap opera in my opinion, but twisted, sarcastic, and humorous at times. It is not Shakespeare, but is amusing and entertaining.
Say something about yourself!
Ok, I'll admit I just came off a 3 book Gillian Flynn jag and if you've read her you know how intense and well written her novels are; so I may be judging this book by to high a standard. Overall I would say that only about a quarter of the book really held my interest. Maybe had I been a cheerleader I would have enjoyed this more. The ending was a complete disappointment. Narrator did a good job.
I picked up this book because I saw that one of my favorite mystery authors, Gyllian Flynn, recommended it. Parts of it felt too YA for me even though I enjoy a good YA novel. Other parts were like, "whoa! this is for kids?" The character development was pretty good in a lot of ways. But the rest of it just didn't pull together for me. Almost like a trashy teen novel trying to pretend it is something more meaningful.
This is a story of a mentally sick and hateful girl trying to control others including the other girls on their cheerleading squad.. Despicable language and attitudes. I found no redeeming value even in the protagonist who did not have the character to stop the tragedy to follow. I would not waste my time.
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