Dare Me by Megan Abbott – Book 20

“Dare Me” by Megan Abbott is a novel about some majorly messed up high school cheerleaders, dying for attention, affection, and popularity.  According to a quote on the inside front cover, the book is “A searing novel of friendship, betrayal, and the dark truths that hide behind cheerleader smiles.”

Addy Hanlon and Beth Cassidy have always been best friends, with Addy being more of a sidekick to the over-the-top, girl-in-charge Beth.  When the girl’s cheerleading squad receives the new, young, calm and collected Coach French, the cheerleaders are drawn to her immediately.  All except for Beth.

A sudden suicide of a well-known figure at the school throws the Coach and many of the girls on the squad for a loop, especially when the police decide that the suicide might actually have been a murder.

Caught between Beth, Coach Colette, and the truth, Addy struggles with her friendships, control, and the squad.

I have mixed feelings on the book “Dare Me” by Megan Abbott.  This book kept me hooked and I read it in a day and a half.  I honestly couldn’t put it down and Abbott kept me guessing until the end.  I had many hunches throughout the book, some of them right, and many wrong, which always makes a book enjoyable.

However, I’m not sure how much I liked the characters in the book.  The girls are not a positive portrayal of teenagers and female characters, with issues regarding weight and eating disorders being portrayed in an honest, almost positive way.

While I’ve never been a cheerleader, I was once a teenager and I understand the pressures of looks, weight, guys, popularity.  I understand that there are hidden secrets that go on behind closed doors.  But that’s not how it is for everyone or how it should be.  I just didn’t feel like the positives of being an individual or being healthy were mentioned at all in this novel, and I think they could have been fit in, even in a small role, somewhere.

Need a little more?  Here’s another review of “Dare Me” from Heather at Between the Covers.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys some young adult fiction, with a more adult flair.  Read “Dare Me” if you want a book that will keep you interested from page 1, all the way to the end.  While you won’t find amazing positive teenage role models, you will receive a twisted view from a group of teenage cheerleaders and their coach.

Have you read a book about teens that you enjoyed recently? (Besides the amazing Hunger Games trilogy!)


13 thoughts on “Dare Me by Megan Abbott – Book 20

  1. Cheerleaders! I KNEW I didn’t trust them for a reason 😉

    I’m reading Between Shades of Gray, which is labeled as YA. I don’t normally read much in that genre. However, I am *watching* Pretty Little Liars with one of my kidlets. It’s awful, campy, fun! (and it’s based on a series of books)


    • It’s strange, because while “Dare Me” is about cheerleaders and teens, it’s not actually labeled a YA book, it’s classified as fiction. I’ve seen other places where it is listed as YA, but I think it might be a misconception.

      I guess there aren’t many fiction novels about teens aside from YA books. At least, not many that I’m aware of.

      I heard good things about Between Shades of Gray from another book reviewed, so that’s on my list, too, although I don’t think I knew it was YA. I can’t wait to read your review when it is finished.


  2. I agree with your thoughts about it lacking any kind of positive message. I also had a hard time believing that those girls could continue to hang out at the coach’s house without the school finding out and taking issue with it. The book was definitely a page-turner, but it had some major flaws.


    • I agree about the hanging out at coach’s house, especially with the things they were doing with Coach.

      I also felt a lot of strange sexual tension between some of the girls and Coach (I don’t want to give anything away) and am very glad that nothing sexual happened like that! I was concerned for a while, though!


  3. Don’t think I’ll be reading this one anytime soon – thanks for your post! I had seen it around, but wasn’t that sure about it. By the by, I’m a Noles fan, too!


  4. We seem to agree – it’s a page turner, so she did something right, but there was still just something wrong about it. It didn’t seem realistic. I got the weird sexual tension thing you mention in one of your comments too – I kept expecting it to go there and while I was glad it didn’t, I felt like she was just stringing us along to have put so many signs pointing that direction in there.


    • I agree. While we both are glad there was nothing sexual happening between adults and teenagers, I almost also wanted it to just happen already if it was going to. But I’m much more relieved that it didn’t.

      It definitely seems like a good book to have a discussion about since there are both positives (like how it hooks you and keeps you hooked) and also negatives (strange sexual tension and zero positive influences).

      Thanks for your comments!



  5. Pingback: Driving from Denver and Reminiscing – Denver Public Library « Love at First Book

  6. This sounds like a book that I would love to read. I have never heard of this book before reading your review and I really want to read this. Thank you for the amazing review.


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