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Dare Me [Hardcover]

Megan Abbott
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 10.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

10 May 2012

Beth and me wedged tight, jeaned legs pressed against each other. The sound of our own breathing. Before we all stopped believing a tornado, or anything, could touch us, ever.

Addy Hanlon and Beth Cassidy are tough, inseparable, invincible. No pair more charismatic or sophisticated. No pair more dangerous.

But with the fall term, their new coach arrives and things begin to change. She has plans for the cheer squad: all sleek poise and cool command, the girls are soon entirely in her thrall. Faster, harder, higher, thinner, the stakes raised, their world contracting, they compete to risk – everything.

She, meantime, has been crossing a line of her own.

From the brilliant author of The End of Everything, Dare Me is a searing novel about the allure of adulthood and the dark heart of adolescence: the fierce bonds between girls, their bitter rivalries, and their power to transform one another.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (10 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144722115X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447221159
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 349,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Deliciously compelling' Heat

'Megan Abbott is an extraordinary writer' Nick Hornby, The Believer

'Mesmerising . . . A truly nerve-shredding crime plot . . . exemplary writing.' Independent on Sunday

'A taut, twisted tale . . . Dare Me shimmers with dark sexual tension' Marie Claire

'A tense, fast-paced psychological thriller' The Times

‘Truly nerve-shredding’ Independent on Sunday

‘A powerful tale of sexual awakening, obsession, twisted loyalties and murder’ Irish Times

‘Tense, fast-paced’ Sunday Times

Book Description

We thought nothing and no one could touch us. Addy Hanlon and Beth Cassidy are the unchallenged rulers of their high school kingdom. They’re the girls that nobody crosses, captains of the cheerleaders, invincible. Until their new coach arrives – all sleek poise and cool command – and their world is changed forever. That year, there are no limits. And in their quest for perfection the girls begin to risk their lives. Faster, higher, brighter, bolder: they become warriors. But Coach French has been crossing a line of her own, and the consequences are devastating. Dare Me is an electrifying novel about the fierce bonds between girls, their bitter rivalries, and their power to transform one another.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Like Megan Abbott's The End of Everything, this is another dark and unsettling read centred on the edgy instability of female adolescence.

Our narrator, Addy, is sixteen and is one of the high school's sassy cheer-leading team, along with her best friend Beth. A new female coach arrives and disturbs the status quo, soon inviting the team to her house where they drink, obsess over her and misunderstand her relationship with her quiet, seemingly dull husband. Only Beth refuses to succumb to Coach French's charms, and takes it upon herself to reveal what only she can see...

I loved this book which is more subtle and nuanced than The End of Everything. There's a dangerous edge to everything that happens but it's subliminal and oblique rather than obvious. Abbott is particularly good at charting the shifting tides of power and powerlessness, knowledge and innocence in these girls, as they experience an adult world which they think they understand but which overwhelms them.

The world of cheer-leading is an alien one to UK readers and it takes a bit of time for us to catch-up, but it fits well with the overall atmosphere of danger and unease as the girls push themselves physically and psychologically towards a kind of perfection. The hints of anorexia, dysmorphia, competition and physical danger blend well with the unsettling depiction of nascent sexuality.

So overall this is a gripping and atmospheric read with some important things to say about the modern female psyche - highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cracking good read 2 April 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
At the heart of this novel is the relationship between teenagers Beth and Addy, a friendship which goes back to their childhood; Beth, manipulative and often cruel, has always been the leader with Addy her willing shadow. A new Coach arrives, throwing a spanner in the works, and very soon she and Beth engage in a battle of wills; Addy adores Coach and is the eager puppy always willing to do her bidding, which in turn fuels Beth's jealousy; whilst the other team members gather at Coach's house for drinking sessions, Beth is nowhere to be seen, but always watching, waiting for her moment. The girls are pushed to physical and psychological extremes as they vie for the best postion on the team. Injury is just one wobble away. Then one dark night Addy is drawn into a nightmare......

Megan Abbot perfectly captures teenage girls' adolescent-speak, and attitudes; at times it's faintly amusing, at others dark and sinister. The novel is packed with detail about cheerleading, still very much an American activity, to the puzzlement of us Brits, and my only criticism is that perhaps there is a little too much detail which could have been pared down with no detriment to the storyline.

I chose this book on the strength of an earlier novel of Megan Abbot's: "The End of Everything" which I enjoyed very much. I enjoyed this just as much, with dialogue that snaps, crackles and pops with energy, and characters, though not particularly likeable, are wholly believable. All in all a cracking good read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, edgy and compelling 9 April 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is the second novel by Abbott that I have read. In many ways it is similar to her previous book, THE END OF EVERYTHING, but there are important differences. Once again, Abbott examines the darkness that can lie in the hearts of female adolescents. However, DARE ME feels more sustantial than THE END OF EVERYTHING.

The story follows sixteen-yesr-old Addy Hanlon and her cheerleading friends. Of all the girls on the squad, Beth is her closest friend. At the very beginning of the book, the cheerleading squad have a new coach, Coach French. It is upon her arrival that everything seems to change. She pushed them further, makes them aim higher, but it is her budding 'friendship' with Addy that really sets things into motion.

That is all of the synopsis I will give away. DARE ME is a novel which has many layers to it. Ultimately, it is the examination of adolescent sexuality, friendship, obsession and loyalty which binds this novel all together. Abbott uses cheerleading as a backdrop to Addy's, providing a metaphor for how the girls view themselves, each other and the world around them. The result is a dark, edgy book which is, in some ways, more subtle than THE END OF EVERYTHING, but perhaps more developed and engaging.

I would definitely recommend this novel. If you like dark and compelling literature, then this is for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, disturbing, completely compelling 23 Aug 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I read Megan Abbott's The End of Everything last year and was stunned by the quality of the writing and the brilliant way Abbot gets into the minds of adolescent girls. I didn't think that book could be bettered, but if anything Dare Me is even more brilliant.

The story concerns Addy Hanlon who's sixteen and lieutenant to cheerleading captain and master manipulator Beth. Beth is used to getting her own way and when a new coach comes along who apparently sees right through her, the status quo of the whole squad is unbalanced. But coach is not as clever as she first seems and lets the girls see too much of her life, her relationship with her husband and her friendship with the handsome yet damaged army recruitment officer.

What follows is a tense, edge-of-the-seat power struggle between Beth and Coach, with Addy trying to keep up with both of them and work out what's happening, who's right and who's wrong, and who she should trust. It's a brilliantly gripping story that had me literally desperate to get home from work to read more. And as a bonus, the writing is just exquisite. A lot of the cheerleading terms will be unfamiliar to UK readers but the way Abbott describes the human body in action, the bliss of attaining physical fitness and being able to use the body to its best ability, and the simultaneous cruelty and vulnerability of teenage girls is, in my opinion, second to none.

Highly recommended, but not for younger readers.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing.
Bought on the back of Bradley Walsh's book prog on BBC2 .....was unshocked by the shenanigans of cheerleader group. Tame.
Published 2 days ago by Sue Hadwin
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I guess my expectations were raised by the very positive reviews this had been given by other authors and its inclusion in the CWA Dagger Awards but I have to say I was very... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Ben
3.0 out of 5 stars M Abbott
To be very honest I did not read the whole book, just could not get into the storyline. It was recommended to me, so must be a good book for someone, but not to my taste.
Published 28 days ago by Cher
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark as hell!
I loved this book. Sure, I know nothing about cheerleading... and I still don't, it's secondary to the story. This is so dark, with twists at every turn. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Laura Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Be of good cheer!
An image of pony-tailed cheerleaders is arguably the ultimate cliché when we think of the most popular girls at High School in the USA. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Annabel Gaskell
4.0 out of 5 stars Multi layered
This is a book of many layers. It looks, on the outset to be about a cheer leading team who have just had a new coach. Read more
Published 4 months ago by S. A. Broadhurst
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Fantastic value, much, much cheaper than the shops and I didn't have to search high and low for it!! I will certainly buy like this in the future, thank you Amazon!!
Published 5 months ago by RB
1.0 out of 5 stars Zzzzzzzz
I would give this book no stars if I could. It is the worst book I have read in a long time. The style of writing is so stilted and boring. Read more
Published 5 months ago by musiclover
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious
Promised a lot delivered a little Expected a really good read but was very bored & didn't make the end
Published 5 months ago by Catwoman106
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Good Read
At Sutton Grove Beth Cassidy is the captain of the school cheer leaders, her best friend, Addy Hanlon, is her lieutenant and the narrator of the book. Read more
Published 6 months ago by gerardpeter
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