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Publisher's Summary

An instant New York Times best seller 

A Today Show #ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick

New York Times best-selling and award-winning author Megan Abbott's exquisite and disquieting new novel, “dark and juicy and tinged with horror” (The New York Times Books Review), set against the hothouse of a family-run ballet studio.

With their long necks and matching buns and pink tights, Dara and Marie Durant have been dancers since they can remember. Growing up, they were homeschooled and trained by their glamorous mother, founder of the Durant School of Dance. After their parents' death in a tragic accident nearly a dozen years ago, the sisters began running the school together, along with Charlie, Dara's husband and once their mother's prized student.

Marie, warm and soft, teaches the younger students; Dara, with her precision, trains the older ones; and Charlie, sidelined from dancing after years of injuries, rules over the back office. Circling around one another, the three have perfected a dance, six days a week, that keeps the studio thriving. But when a suspicious accident occurs, just at the onset of the school's annual performance of The Nutcracker — a season of competition, anxiety, and exhilaration — an interloper arrives and threatens the sisters' delicate balance.

Taut and unnerving, The Turnout is Megan Abbott at the height of her game. With uncanny insight and hypnotic writing, it is a sharp and strange dissection of family ties and sexuality, femininity and power, and a tale that is both alarming and irresistible.

©2021 Megan Abbott (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“Abbott is a legend for good reason. No one combines the style of classic noir with the psyches of sophisticated men and women who are willing to do anything - anything - to succeed better than Abbott. Her latest is a dizzyingly fascinating story of a family-owned dance studio and the weight of unrequited ambition. An instant classic.” (Washington Post)

“Abbott casts her disquieting fictional magic as the obsessive dynamics of a self-contained family - sisters Dara and Marie, and Dara’s husband, Charlie - running a small-town, run-down ballet school, collide with the presence of a sinister newcomer.” (The Boston Globe)

"Abbott - so good at plucking the dark and twisted strands of female friendships and rivalries in books like You Will Know Me and Give Me Your Hand - fashions her unsettling new novel around a ballet academy run by three high-strung former dancers, two of them sisters." (The New York Times)

What listeners say about The Turnout

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Wear OUT!

I was so invested in this book, I didn’t realize how worn out I was by the end.
So many adjectives.. words on words on words.
This is one book that the “abridged” version might be better.
Storyline is great… but again..a wear out!

4 people found this helpful

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you will know me is the only good MA book

strange disjointed boring yet creepy story. I did not finish it with 3 hours left. it could have been shortened a few hours as well.

3 people found this helpful

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Not at all what I expected

Too much sexual content. Too preposterous of a premise at times. I did not ever get to like the characters. It was read beautifully. There were too many references to smells - it made me want to barf like the dancers seemed to so frequently. So many smells - as though there were no other senses to experience through. I think it is the story and the unlikeable characters that put me off mostly.

2 people found this helpful

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Hard to discribe how much I disliked this book.

I read a few pervious reviews that said it was slow to get going and I agree. I bought it because it was a Jenna Bush Book Club Recommendation. Had a waited a week I would have seen all the current reviews very much like mine and I would have saved my time. There is very little dialoge between the three main characters and the author just goes on and on with strange very detailed metephors to discribe everything in the room. Speaking of the main charachters. They are being taken advantage of by a creepy contractor but I found it hard to care as I found it hard to have any emotion toward any of them anyway. They are just weird and boring people. The sexual metphors are constant and just drone on and on and would just be really monotenous and boring if it weren't for the fact that all the sexual inuindo is always related to children. The story is about a children's ballet school and the author discribes the childrens feet as swollen, pink, and engourged and the pink shoes that the girls would caress and penetrate with their fingers. She describes the smells of the children and the smells of the boy's crotches. The pain and pleasure of ballet is constantly related to the pain and pleasure of sex but always as it relates to the sisters as children. I was pretty much done with all this about half way thru and then I had an hour and a half run to do and no time to get a new book downloaded so I stuck the earbud in my ear and took off. When the author discribed "Clara" the girl in the Nutcracker as stroking the nutcraker to wake him up while he shivered in her hands and grew I was almost home and then there was the scene with the 15 year old boy and oral sex with the mother figure and I pulled the ear bud out of my ear and I was done with this book. I'm no prude but 14 year olds, raised as siblings, having sex and 10 year olds being described several times as mastubating and having orgasams that caused them to kick out the slats of the bunk beds. I just can't believe that this book is okay with anyone. I sent it back and got a refund. I'll happily find a book that doesn't blatently sexualize children. BTW - I made it thru 2/3 of the book and there still wasn't any real story. If it hadn't been so disgusting it was have just been boring. The narrator was good.

1 person found this helpful

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long boring book

this really could have been a great thriller but it went nowhere and I was glad it ended

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Loved it!

I don't really understand all the pearl clutching reviews. I understand some can be put off by sexual content, but that doesn't mean the book isn't for everyone. I disagree that Abbott sexualized children. To me, it was about abuse. About being taken advantage of. And yes, sometimes about adolescent desires, hormones, etc. This doesn't have to be a taboo topic. And especially in the world of ballet where girls ARE sexualized from a young age, develop eating disorders, perform on injuries, forced to retire so young, etc. I could go on and on. None of this is new. But Abbott uses the backdrop of sisters who own a ballet studio and the Nutcracker, arguably as famous or more than Swan Lake, and it really worked. It's a murder mystery and also an inside look at the ballet world. Abbott also did this well with cheerleaders in Dare Me.

Anyway, that was a long way of saying I really enjoyed the book. Maybe I like metaphors. And the allusion to smells, setting the scene. Maybe I like the realism. Some say they don't warm to the characters, and I say you're not exactly supposed to. The sisters are supposed to be odd and mysterious. That's why they're interesting.

But I also really enjoyed the narration. Cassandra Campbell is excellent at what she does. I've listened to several books she has narrated and actually only just realized it was her. Her voice takes you into the story without calling attention to herself. She's a pro, at her best.

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  • DP
  • 09-28-21

Maybe Just a Bit Much

Right when I just wanted to be finished with this book, it got crazier. Maybe a bit too much. I have friends who loved it, but I think it was just…too much. Although definitely a crazy, creative storyline.

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Slow moving

Good plot with some unexpected twists, but a little slow moving and hard to get into.

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What a mix of themes

You will never see the Nutcracker the same again. Your imagination will be sparked just seeing the ballerinas. Against this backdrop, so many different stories. Keeps you thinking, surprises, twists and turns.

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Thrilling.

Gripping, thrilling, you never know where it’ll go. This is a lovely novel. A must read.