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Dare Me by Megan Abbott

book cover of Dare Me

At first I thought this was going to be similar to You Will Know Me, just from the teen's perspective instead of the mum's and about competitive cheerleading instead of competitive gymnastics. Very quickly, though, I realised I was going to be disappointed.

Overall, I just don't think the characters or the world of this book made sense. Like, the cheerleading coach seemed to think she was one of the students, and I did not believe for one second that this woman was qualified to teach in schools in any way. (Unless you're telling me that sports teachers don't need any kind of training or qualifications, and schools are allowed to hire total randos to ply students with booze and have sex on school property?) I didn't understand why all the cheerleaders' parents seemed to not exist (except Addy's dad once left her a note, and Beth's mum turned up at the very end). I didn't get what all the military people's actual jobs were, except that one of them's was apparently to hang out at the high school all day every day in the hope a student might want to spontaneously enlist. It was like every adult in the entire book had been replaced by some shapeshifting impersonator that just didn't understand WTF human adults were supposed to do.

So, yeah. Really unimpressed. If you're getting into Megan Abbott I would recommend trying literally any other one of her books, but I do remember that You Will Know Me specifically was pretty good.

★★

photo of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.