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.