Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy’s best friend and trusted lieutenant. Beth calls the shots and Addy carries them out, a long-established order of things that has brought them to the pinnacle of their high-school careers. Now they’re seniors who rule the intensely competitive cheer squad, feared and followed by the other girls — until the young new coach arrives.
Cool and commanding, an emissary from the adult world just beyond their reach, Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life. Only Beth, unsettled by the new regime, remains outside Coach’s golden circle, waging a subtle but vicious campaign to regain her position as “top girl” — both with the team and with Addy herself.
Then a suicide focuses a police investigation on Coach and her squad. After the first wave of shock and grief, Addy tries to uncover the truth behind the death — and learns that the boundary between loyalty and love can be dangerous terrain.
The raw passions of girlhood are brought to life in this taut, unflinching exploration of friendship, ambition, and power. Award-winning novelist Megan Abbott, writing with what Tom Perrotta has hailed as “total authority and an almost desperate intensity,” provides a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl.
Dare Me is the sixth book by an American author Megan Abbott, and is centered on American cheerleading,( not just the pom-pom shaking kind) and an ambiguous death that takes place in the first few pages. The book explores themes of friendship, obsession and power. This is expressed through not only the events of the novel, but also the relationship between the protagonist, Addy Hanlon, and her best friend, Beth Cassidy.
While they might also have tans and wear glitter, those items are used as war paint: “You may have the bodies of young girls,” says a character at one point near the novel’s end, “but you have the hearts of warriors.” The girls in this book are not at all “sugar and spice and everything nice”, not by a long shot.
Besides the world of modern cheerleading there is a mystery subplot and again I am confused as to what genre to place this book. It reads like YA, but it mentions, wild keg parties, binge drinking at a house with an authority figure present, bullying, and make all of them seem like an everyday occurrence.
While I enjoyed reading this book I would not recommend it to any one under seventeen.