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Dare Me Hardcover – July 31, 2012

212 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2012: Oh my, these beautiful, terrible girls, with their "Aruba-tanned" legs and their ferocity and fears, for whom the smallest slights become life-and-death matters. This brilliantly dark and uncomfortably real story, sharp and suspenseful and chilling, made me desperately glad I have sons. The author is so attuned to the "witchiness of girls" and the drama of high school, and then she takes us to the darkest corners of that world. These aren't Mean Girls or Breakfast Club teens--more like Glee on steroids. Megan Abbott is a scary genius. Her voice is fierce and fearless. --Neal Thompson



"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."―Chevy Stevens, New York Times bestselling author of Still Missing and Never Knowing

"Arresting, original and unputdownable."―Rosamund Lupton, New York Times bestselling author of Sister

"I dare you not to love this book. You lucky reader."―Tom Franklin, New York Times bestselling author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

"DARE ME sneaks up on you from behind, pulling on long-forgotten memories of teenaged desperation, obsession, and desire. This is truly masterful storytelling."―Alafair Burke, author of Never Tell

"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, confronted with unaccustomed questions and strange, new difficulties, remind us that the loss of innocence can, if we are fortunate, emerge into a lustrous wisdom."―Susanna Moore, author of In the Cut

"In Dare Me Megan Abbott guides us into the subculture of athletic and fierce young cheerleaders, who train together, compete, andbond 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."―Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter's Bone

Abbott marries the best pleasures of the pulp tradition with the highest ambitions of literary craft, yielding a novel that offers a strikingly diverse spectrum of readerly pleasures: It's a gripping murder mystery cloaked in a shrewd examination of female friendships, draped in rah-rah Americana, then reflected in the funhouse mirror of contemporary teenagerdom."―Adam Sternbergh, Slate

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books; 1st edition (July 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316097772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316097772
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (212 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #536,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

MEGAN ABBOTT is the Edgar award-winning author of seven novels, including DARE ME, THE END OF EVERYTHING and her latest, THE FEVER, which won both the International Thriller Writers and Strand Critics Award for Best Novel and was chosen one of the Best Books of the Year by Amazon, National Public Radio, the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times. Her stories have appeared in anthologies including Detroit Noir, Queens Noir and the Best American Mystery Stories of 2014.

She is also the author of The Street Was Mine, a study of hardboiled fiction and film noir. Her next novel, You Will Know Me, comes out in July 2016. She has been nominated for awards including the Steel Dagger, the LA Times Book Prize and the Pushcart Prize. Currently, she is working on developing DARE ME and THE FEVER for television.

Born in the Detroit area, she graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English Literature and went on to receive her Ph.D. in English and American literature from New York University. She lives in Queens, New York City.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 65 people found the following review helpful By melissa on August 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Based on the book description alone, I might have waited for the Kindle version of this book to be available at my library. I bought it based on the reviews...and now, I wish I'd waited. I expected a dark, quirky thriller about a cheerleading squad gone haywire. What I got was a story of one cheerleader (Addy) who's spent years as a subservient follower of her cheer captain and "best friend" Beth. Beth is mean, spiteful, and so completely unlikeable that I wanted to light the book (er, Kindle) on fire just to eliminate her from this world. As to why Addy remains so very loyal to her - perhaps that's supposed to be the mystery of the novel. If so, I never figured it out. The other characters, if not necessarily unlikeable, are just uninteresting altogether. The stunning twist of a murder was not twisty and did not stun me. And the writing - I suppose it was good. But. Every chapter, every section within chapters, ended with a seemingly profound statement that I just did not get. And 500 hyphenated adjectives later ("blister-white tennis shoes", "dusty-shouldered geometry teachers and crepy-skinned guidance counselors), it kind of got on my nerves. Really, I just wanted it to end.
I finished it, because it was decent enough that I didn't light my Kindle on fire after all. And I could tolerate it enough to find out how it ended, because, I guess I did want to know how it ended. I'm not saying don't read it. I am saying, wait till you can read it for free.
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38 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Laura Kay on July 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Addy Hanlon and her best friend Beth Cassidy rule their cheer squad; Beth as captain and Addy her lieutenant. The squad doesn't just look up to them--their afraid of them. But when Colette French walks into the gym and takes over as cheer coach everything gets flipped around. Coach French has every intention of taking her girls to regionals and she needs to get them ready. First things first she dethrones the cheer captain.

Beth seems to lose interest in cheer and begins running more wild than usual. Addy is preoccupied running after Coach. The girls are getting stronger and better at cheer. The coach starts having them over for late night drinking parties. Coach French begins turning her attention to Addy. She begins entrusting her talking to her like she was an adult girlfriend instead of a girl on her cheer squad.

Addy's new bff seems to be Coach French. But we haven't seen the last of Beth. She's been watching and waiting in the wings. Coach French thought she could take away her captain's position on the squad? Beth wants Coach to pay for what she's done.

As the girls prepare for the game of their high school cheer career, there is a suicide. Addy finds herself right in the middle of it all. Entangled in a web of lies.

Dare Me is filled with sex, lies, alcohol, eating disorders and brimming with teenage angst, but that's just the first few chapters!

I have to admit it took me a few pages to connect with first person, Addy. I've read a number of books with a teenage protagonist, but the authenticity of Addy's voice was dead on--I felt like this is how my teenage daughter or her friends would think! Not only did Abbott nail it with the voice, but with Addy's perspective.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bill Kupersmith on August 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you have read some of my other reviews, you might know that I am addicted to stories set in schools and universities, and in the past year I have been very fortunate to have read some stunners, especially Donna Tartt's The Secret History, Tana French's The Likeness, and amongst school stories, Patrick Gale's Friendly Fire. In one of these Amazon reviews I declared that the best school stories have to be set in boarding schools. But now I'll eat crow. Dare Me is a superb school story. American public school students when they are like the Sutton Grove cheer squad yield nothing to English "Public School" students or American preppies.

Because lots of other reviewers have discussed the setting and characters in Dare Me, I'll focus on the principal characters' relationships. When I was about half way through my initial reading, I would have described Beth as a Number One Mean Girl, who seeks revenge on the new coach for depriving Beth of the captaincy of the cheer squad, I might have predicted that Beth might grow up to be the heroine of a Gillian Flynn novel. After two readings I find that version still plausible but superficial. Beth is a much more complex, and indeed, tragic figure. Like all good tragedies, in Dare Me the Fates bring together characters with extraordinary personal qualities whose mistakes lead to their downfall.

The principal tragic actors are Beth Cassidy the cheer captain and her antagonist, Colette French the cheer coach, but our sole narrator is another cheerleader, Beth's BF and `lieutenant" Addy. Megan Abbott uses the first person point of view brilliantly to envelop her story in mystery and ambiguity. We observe only what Addy witnesses and thinks, but she relies for much of her knowledge on Beth and Coach, both of whom are consummate liars.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Linet on February 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When I purchased this novel in 2012, I stopped reading it after about 75 pages thinking, "This is ridiculous". Recently I forced myself to start over hoping I missed something. I still think the whole character line is difficult to believe and therefore, difficult to get into. The review states: provides a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl. To imply that these girls are all-American girls is preposterous. With the anti-bullying, tolerance/acceptance movements across this country and with the nationwide focus on eating disorders and adolescent health and safety, it is not believable that these girls as a group in a public school were allowed to behave in such a manner. Additionally, the behavior of the faculty is not believable at all. The coach smoking in her office in 2012? I can't think of one public building except a casino in which smoking has been allowed for YEARS. Does anyone think a high school administration would allow this? The relationship between the coach and the girls is totally unbelievable right from the start. Certainly there are instances of inappropriate faculty/faculty or faculty/student relationships in real life. I get it. However, a faculty member repeatedly having a whole squad of cheerleaders over to her house serving wine and drinking with them and then having them sleep over? Really? And her husband coming home and finding this while his 4 year old daughter is sleeping and doing nothing. Again...REALLY? And finally, I do understand that not all parents are involved with their kids and not all supervise their teenagers (I have two teenagers of my own). However, I had to keep asking myself, WHERE ARE THESE GIRLS' PARENTS?! I could not believe for one second that this behavior could go on in the volume that this book portrays.Read more ›
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