In Dare Me, Megan Abbot delivers a dark insider’s peek into high school cheerleading. But more than cheers and stunts, the real story is in the relationships developed, manipulated, and reconciled as the characters vie for control. For the most part, males play only a secondary role while the females steer the storyline.
It’s through cheerleader Addy Hanlon, right hand to frenemy Beth Cassidy, whom we experience these girls’ lives, cast in a fairly adult plot. If you liked Amy in Gone Girl, Beth could be her protégé. She’s a character you love to hate, but Addy’s insight compels you to give her some leeway, and you’ve got to admit that she knows how to play people. Throw in a murder mystery with a little sex and booze on the side, making a story that left me marveling and perhaps a little unsettled by the characters’ cunning and priorities.
I listened to the audiobook, and reader Khristine Hvam did a nice job bringing the characters to life and drawing me into the story. Certainly a high school drama quite different from the one I knew! If you’re interested in a mystery featuring strong female characters and a psychological component, definitely give this book a try.