September 11, 2016

Dare Me

by Megan Abbott

This tensely-plotted mystery about high school cheerleaders is a study in the ferocity of young women. Where You Will Know Me, a mystery about serious acrobats who are opaque to their parents, is chiefly about grownups, Dare Me is about girls Here, parents are remote logistical worries whom we seldom see and who are scarcely worth a passing thought. As for boys, well, they might be fun to play with for a night or so, but these girls deeply don’t care.

The narrator, Addy, is a fascinating choice: she’s is and has always been the lieutenant of the top girl and squad captain, the enforcer. Addy is always thinking about (and fearing) Beth: Addy doesn’t really like hurting people, it just goes with the job and in any case Beth cannot be resisted. Or, Addy can’t resist her. On rare occasions, though, as when the new Coach is pondering who will be the star flyer in some new stunt, Addy lets a small, nine-year old voice in her head whine “Me! Me! Let it be me this once!”