Dare Me by Megan Abbott

Posted November 19, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Contemporary, Pulp / 0 Comments

Dare Me by Megan AbbottTitle: Dare Me (Goodreads)
Author: Megan Abbott
Published: Picador, 2012
Pages: 325
Genres: Contemporary, Pulp
My Copy: Paperback

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Beneath the glitz and glamour of this high school cheerleading squad is something dark. Beth Cassidy is the head cheerleader, her best friend Addy Hanlon is her right hand woman. While Beth calls the shots, Abby enforces; this has been the long established hierarchy. But when the new coach arrives, the order is disrupted. While coach draws the girls in and establishes a new regime, a suspicious suicide will put the team under investigation.

This is my first Megan Abbott read and I was excited to see a fresh take on the noir genre into what has often been called suburban noir. It combines the elements I love about noir and places it into a modern setting. You get a glimpse of the dark heartedness of teenage girls in a competitive cheerleading squad, all wanting to be the best and to be popular; but how far will they take it?

When I think of noir, I think of an atmosphere which is dark and grey, but I was really pleased to see just how well it translates into the bright suburban setting. Think of this as Mean Girls to the extreme; you have the bitchness of the girls, the struggle for popularity, and the angst but this is all turned upside down due to the shake-up caused by the new coach and the mystery surrounding their lives.

This is a well-paced, easy to read, modern, edge of your seat mystery that was a pure joy to read. I went and brought some older Megan Abbott novels before I even finished this one. The only thing that I didn’t like about this book was the cover. It looks like it’s a chick-lit or YA novel but I knew it would be a noir novel. I’m not sure if the cover works; now that I’ve read the book I don’t mind the cover too much but for someone that has never read Megan Abbott, what message is the cover sending? Also there is a little gripe I want to mention about this book on Goodreads; just because this book has teenagers as the main characters, does not make this book YA!

Apart from those minor issues I have with the cover and the classification of the book on Goodreads, I would say Dare Me by Megan Abbott is a beautifully disturbing book to read. I had so much fun reading this novel and I think it might be a good introduction to her work. Cheerleaders can be mean and it’s scary to think what lengths they will go to to be the leader and popular one. I’m looking forward to trying some of Abbott’s older books which seem to be more of a traditional noir novels but I also want to read some more of suburban noir as well. As a fan of noir, it pleases me that her modern take of the genre worked this well.

0 responses to “Dare Me by Megan Abbott

  1. You read this quite some time ago right? I have to agree with the artwork, same as with End of Everything, they’re assuming Abbott fans will be turning up in droves for it and are trying to aim for the people who buy books because they’re blue with a ballerina on it or pastels and summery. Those poor people who find themselves reading this by accident.

  2. Marie

    I have to agree with you on the cover – I nearly skipped past this post on my blog reader after seeing the ballerina picture but in the nick of time I noticed it was on this blog so knew it would be worth reading!

  3. Stephanie Campisi

    Oh, this actually sounds excellent. Like Marie I assumed that it would be a YA about ballerinas (and possibly anorexia at that), which shows how important covers are!

  4. Giraffe_Days

    The cover appeals to me but I would never have guessed it was noir – I’ve never heard of this author. On one hand, your review makes me want to read this, but on the other hand I have zero interest in cheerleaders and that puts me off.

    Like you, I get very annoyed when people instantly label a book YA just based on the age of the protagonist/s. It really bothers me. (This wouldn’t surprise anyone who knows that I like to reorganise the books in bookshops when the alphabetisation is off, or to put books in a series in the correct order. It’s my one little OCD habit!)

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