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You Will Know Me: A Novel Hardcover – July 26, 2016
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
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From School Library Journal
Devon Knox, 15, is a brilliant gymnast and far more talented than the other girls training at BelStars gym. Her path to success could lead to the Olympics. Everyone knows it—all the other gymnasts, all the coaches, all the booster parents, and, most especially, Devon's parents. Her mother, Katie, dedicates her afternoons to sitting in the stands at BelStars, soaking up the envy of the other mothers as Devon flies over the vault. It's Katie who shows how secrets, betrayal, and murder can shatter the tight-knit group of girls and parents. At first, Katie seems like a well-balanced narrator, fair-minded in her attitude toward those with less amazing daughters, tenderly caring for Devon's little brother when he becomes ill. But readers notice that Katie seems to be missing some obvious signs of trouble. Katie discovers Devon, remote and self-contained by nature, in a cat fight with another girl in the locker room. Katie's husband, Eric, spends way too much time with Gwen, a wealthy booster mom. Even as the narrator increasingly suspects disturbing secrets, readers increasingly wonder how much to trust her. Abbott, who put a menacing spin on the world of cheerleading in Dare Me, amplifies the sense of danger implicit in high-stakes gymnastics, as well as the competition among the highly invested parents. Think Dance Moms, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. VERDICT Teens will get a hard-hitting look at competitive gymnastics, framed in a tale of gripping psychological suspense.—Diane Colson, Gainesville City College, FL
PRAISE FOR YOU WILL KNOW ME:
"[Abbott] is in top form in this novel. She resumes her customary role of black cat, opaque and unblinking, filling her readers with queasy suspicion at every turn."
―Jennifer Senior, New York Times
"...brilliant...beneath the glittering carapace of Abbott's lush, skillful, subtle writing, it's impossible to know what we're supposed to think. One of the strengths of this novel is that it doesn't mind what we believe--it is cooly at peace with whatever our take on matters might be...we, as readers, are made entirely responsible for our own theories and conclusions. In that sense, this is an exceptionally plausible work of fiction...The wrong kind of ambiguity in a crime novel can be fatal. Abbott judges it impeccably here..all of this Abbott pulls off with groundbreaking skill...excellent."
―Sophie Hannah, New York Times Book Review
"Taut and raw, this is a mesmerizing story from a master of suspense."―Kim Hubbard, People
"Compulsively creepy...a can't-put-it down novel that's a little bit Nancy Kerrigan vs. Tonya Harding, a little bit The Omen."―Leigh Haber, Oprah.com
"It's Abbott's psychological smarts that make You Will Know Me such a standout...Abbott steadily commands our attention with a suspense plot that unexpectedly somersaults and back flips whenever a landing seems in sight."―Maureen Corrigan, Washington Post
"Megan Abbott has written a book with the taut and muscular ruthlessness of a gymnast, a book that disorients with eerie countermelodies...You Will Know Me takes swift, unsettling, apparently effortless flight."―Annalisa Quinn, NPR.org
"Abbott's finest novel thus far, a dark inquest into the pressures to which American society subjects its girls."―Charles Finch, USA Today
"Master of mystery Abbott...brings her noir sensibility to the world of elite teen gymnastics."
"Mesmerizing and nerve-jangling...beautifully adept at capturing the intensity of feeling inherent in the flush of youth, the more-innocent aspects of growing up...But it's how she infuses the ordinary with distinct oddities that keeps this tale humming scarily along."
―Daneet Steffans, The Boston Globe
Top customer reviews
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It was with this backdrop that I read the story of the Knox family and Coach Teddy. Eric and Katie Knox are middle class parents of Devon, a remarkably talented young gymnast, and Drew, a highly intelligent fourth grader. Seemingly content with Devon's current coach, they are persuaded by Gwen, a wealthy gym parent, that Devon and the other gymnasts need a better coach.
They defect en masse to Coach Teddy's gym. Still not content with the facilities, Gwen convinces the boosters to pay for more, which brought a handsome young construction man into the story. The girls and even their mothers, who have no social lives, are intrigued.
The Knox family is obsessed with Coach Teddy and Devon's talent. They acquire massive debt. They have no life. Katie worries, after a conversation with Coach Teddy, that sixteen-year-old Devon, who has not yet begun menstruating, will develop breasts before her most important meet. While they spend every waking hour at the gym obsessing over Devon, young Drew is ignored.
Megan Abbott deftly and subtly shows her readers the fine line between passion and obsession. Just how far will these parents go to ensure the success of their daughters? The answer should have shocked me, but remembering the Karolyis real life story, I would have been more surprised by the opposite outcome.
Many people will disagree with me when I characterize the Knoxes and other parents as child abusers. If food is withheld from growing children whose talent is creating a science experiment (Drew, the forgotten son), would society accept that? The Knoxes complain about the money they spend on their daughter, but if not for her talent, they would be trapped in their humdrum life. Devon is their ticket to fame and fortune. The only victim in the story is young Drew.
It is rare when a book has such an effect on me. You Will Know Me is a beautifully written story that delivers a powerful message. Kudos to Megan Abbott!
Devon Knox is a gymnastics prodigy with eyes and nerves of steel. She started in gymnastics at an early age to help her emotionally heal from a tragic accident. At 16 she is on the cusp of the Olympic dream. As the star of the gym and the darling of her coach, Devon is admired, envied, and hated by the other gymnasts, their parents, and her classmates. When the boyfriend of one of the young coaches is killed, the gym family falls apart in a multitude of ways.
The story is narrated by Katie Knox, Devon's mother. She is an unreliable narrator due both to her naïveté about her family and her own misperceptions about past and current events. We make discoveries along with Katie and in the end we know more than she ever will.
Megan Abbott has written a chilling and multi-layered story. And written it well. Like most good books, this one gets richer when you sit with it for awhile after finishing the last page. In addition to the mystery, there is some pointed commentary about the rigors and dangers of gymnastics for young people (and really all sports at a competitive level). I was particularly disturbed, even though I was aware of it, by the constant parental worry about puberty and the negative effect on the career of a gymnast. The book also makes some frightening statements about ambition--especially parental ambition for a child. This book is well deserving of the buzz. Enjoy!
Most recent customer reviews
characters and their heartless antics. Truly the opposite of what we need
in our world today.Read more