Gillian Flynn recommends Dare Me as one of her favorite books: "Lord of the Flies set in a high-school cheerleading squad. ... Tense, dark, and beautifully written."Megan appears on Swedish television to discuss Dare Me
Dare Me chosen as one of Amazon's Best Books of 2012!O Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Newsday and the Wall Street Journal all choose Dare Me as one of their Summer Reads
Kirkus interviews Megan about Dare Me
Of Routine, Rivalries and Risks: The Huffington Post interview
Highlights from Megan and Gillian Flynn's day on Good Reads
Megan's Five Things I'd Tell the Teen Me
Addy Hanlon and Beth Cassidy are the varsity cheerleaders all the other girls fear and admire, the unchallenged rulers of their high school kingdom. But everything changes when the new coach arrives. Cool and commanding, Coach French seems perfect in every way, a charismatic presence who overturns the girls' established pecking order and still manages to gain their fierce allegiance in the process.
Then a shocking event upends their fragile peace, and a police investigation begins circling in on the coach and her squad. As the girls's season moves towards its highly anticipated finale, Addy and Beth are forced to ask where their loyalties lie as they stakes grow higher, and more dangerous.
“Megan Abbott has [written]...The Great American Cheerleading Novel, and—stop scowling—it's spectacular.... Subversive stuff... 'Heathers' meets 'Fight Club' good. Abbott pulls it all off with a fresh, nervy voice, and a plot brimming with the jealousy and betrayal you'd expect from a bunch of teenage girls.”
“Sexy and sinister," says the New York Times, dubbing Dare Me a Summer Beach Read Pick!
“Three cheers for Megan Abbbott's Dare Me... Its take on the culture of young women is chilling and knowing...If you think all this is working up, "Glee"-like, to a final cheerleading contest, or to a sports-novel-type ending, you are very wrong.”
“Make no mistake, this is no pulpy teenage tale: It's a very grown-up look at youth culture and how bad behavior can sometimes be redeemed by a couple of good decisions.”
“Haunting...If cheerleaders scared you in highschool, you'll finish...Dare Me convinced you were right.”
“A compelling, compulsive read.”
“A psychologically astute thriller...Abbott's latest is not only a page-turning mystery—it's also a close look at teen girls' ferocious rivalries and intense bonds.”
“Megan Abbott's chilling new novel...turns the frothy world of high-school cheerleading into something truly menacing.”
“A tense, fast-pasted psychological thriller. ”
“What's exciting about Dare Me is how it makes that traditionally masculine
genre [noir] feel distinctly female. It feels groundbreaking when Abbott
takes noir conventions — loss of innocence, paranoia, the manipulative
sexuality of newly independent women — and suggests that they're rooted in
high school, deep in the hearts of all-American girls.”
“Mesmerizing...one of the most deftly plotted noir crime novels I've read in a long time. The requisite twists and turns subtly embedded within Abbott's characters' motivations...are the sign of a truly accomplished plotter.”
“This terrific novel, Abbott takes a plot that seems torn from the headlines and transforms it into Shakespearean tragedy... This is cheerleading as blood sport, BRING IT ON meets FIGHT CLUB — just try putting it down.”
“A taut, twisted tale... Dare Me shimmers with dark sexual tension and poisonous possibilities.”
“An extraordinary writer.”
“One of the most exciting and original voices of her generation”.
“Megan Abbott’s brilliant new book presents a number of possibilities—the
mysterious and the erotic, as well as the inevitable and paradoxical
lessons of girlhood—with such illumination that the joyful terrors of
adolescence were once again present in me. Abbott’s characters... remind us
that the loss of innocence can...emerge into a lustrous wisdom.”
“I dare you not to love this book. You lucky reader.”
“A fascinating, almost voyeuristic, glimpse into the power struggle that
goes on between teenaged girls. Not just any teenaged
girls—cheerleaders—with their own unique hierarchy and fierce code of
loyalty, which they’ll protect at any cost. There’s a dark and twisted love
story here, told with a rich sensual undertone that lingers long after you
close the last page, still breathing in your ear, Dare Me.”
“Arresting, original and unputdownable.”
"In Dare Me Megan Abbott guides us into the subculture of athletic and
fierce young cheerleaders, who train together, compete, and bond until they
form a rugged unit much as Marines form a rugged unit. She finds the nearly
sinister underside of everyday events and somehow builds great suspense
from ingredients that seem so familiar. Abbott has become expert at
revealing truths we thought we knew but didn’t, delivered in prose that is
by turns elegant and incantatory."
“Dare Me sneaks up on you from behind, pulling on long-forgotten memories
of teenaged desperation, obsession, and desire. This is truly masterful
After a game, it takes a half hour under the shower head to get all the hairspray out. To peel off all the sequins. To dig out that last bobby pin nestled deep in your hair.
Sometimes you stand under the hot gush for so long, looking at your body, counting every bruise. Touching every tender place. Watching the swirl at your feet, the glitter spinning. Like a mermaid shedding her scales.
You're really just trying to get your heart to slow down.
You think, this is my body, and I can make it do things. I can make it spin, flip, fly.
After, you stand in front of the steaming mirror, the fuchsia streaks gone, the lashes unsparkled. And it's just you there, and you look like no one you've ever seen before.
You don't look like anybody at all.
At first, cheer was something to fill my days, all our days.
Ages fourteen to eighteen, a girl needs something to kill all that time, that endless itchy waiting, every hour, every day for something-anything-to begin.
"There's something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls."
Coach said that once, one fall afternoon long ago, sharp leaves whorling at our feet.
But she said it not like someone's mom or a teacher or the principal or worst of all like a guidance counselor. She said it like she knew, and understood.
All those misty images of girls frolicking in locker rooms, pom-poms sprawling over bare bud breasts. All those endless fantasies and dirty boy-dreams, they're all true, in a way.
Mostly, it's hard, it's sweaty, it's the roughness of bruised and dented girl bodies, feet sore from floor pounding, elbows skinned red.
But it is also a beautiful, beautiful thing, all of us in that close, wet space, safer than in all the world.
The more I did it—the more it owned me. It made things matter. It put a spine into my spineless life and that spine spread, into backbone, ribs, collar bone, neck held high.
It was something. Don't say it wasn't.
And Coach gave it all to us. We never had it before her. So can you blame me for wanting to keep it? To fight for it, to the end?
She was the one who showed me all the dark wonders of life, the real life, the life I'd only seen flickering from the corner of my eye. Did I ever feel anything at all until she showed me what feeling meant? Pushing at the corners of her cramped world with curled fists, she showed me what it meant to live.
There I am, Addy Hanlon, sixteen years old, hair like a long taffy pull and skin tight as a rubber band. I am on the gym floor, my girl Beth beside me, our cherried smiles and spray-tanned legs, ponytails bobbing in sync.
Look at how my eyes shutter open and close, like everything is just too much to take in.
I was never one of those mask-faced teenagers, gum lodged in mouth corner, eyes rolling and long sighs. I was never that girl at all. But I knew those girls. And, when she came, I watched all their masks peel away.
We're all the same under our skin, aren't we? We're all wanting things we don't understand. Things we can't even name. The yearning so deep, like pinions on our hearts.
So look at me here, in the locker room before the game.
I'm brushing the corner dust, the carpet fluff from my blister-white tennis shoes. Home-bleached with rubber gloves, pinched nose, smelling dizzyingly of Clorox, and I love them. They make me feel powerful. They were the shoes I bought the day I made squad.
A searing novel of friendship and betrayal.
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books, Little, Brown
Publication: July 31, 2012
See the Dare Me tour dates here. Or, order from Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and lots of other places.
Dare Me chosen as:
Dare Me is headed for the silver screen: Fox 2000 options novel for feature film.
Publication: May 10, 2012
Dare Me has been shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Steel Dagger Award for Best Thriller
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