I was motivated to buy Megan Abbott's Dare Me based on a positive magazine review. In usually don't go for non-fiction crime or mystery stories, but this one caught my eye and I am glad it did.
Abbott's novel centers around a group of high school cheerleaders, whose dynamics shift when a new coach is brought into their lives. The murder mystery aspect of the book is secondary to the relationship between the girls and the coach.
This book is cringe worthy. The interplay between the girls with each other, the girls with men and the girls with their coach is all very uncomfortable. None of the characters in the book are likeable. The girls spend an inordinate amount of time focused on cutting others down to rise on the pecking order. The coach, in her late twenties and in a very unhappy marriage, isn't better than her young charges. She gets herself in the thick of the teenage drama, as she attempts to fit in and revert back to her youth.
This story has characters who cross boundaries left and right. Nothing is even remotely appropriate!
Although it's highly uncomfortable to read, this book is impossible to put down. It's a page turner, in a pulpy beach read sort of way. I bought it for my flight to Canada and plowed right through it, thoroughly enjoying it.
I am not sure if the characters ring true or if it even matters. I went to an arts high school and nothing about the characters rings true to my experience. I hope that the characters are not common place in most high schools or a true reflection of teenagers today, that would be scary!
I absolutely recommend this book and look forward to reading more of Abbott's novels.