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The Way She Reads

My thoughts on everything I read; good, bad and indifferent.
Dare Me - Megan Abbott I rated this book 4.5 stars, but it's closer to 5 then 4, hence the rating above.

Addy Hanlon and Beth Cassidy have been friends for years, inseparable and invincible they face the world side by side; Beth the leader and Addy her lieutenant. Both girls are tough and both girls are bad, they are in control of their world and the people around them as only teenage girls can be.
When the new school year starts the cheerleading team Addy and Beth are members of has a new coach, Colette French. Young, pretty and charismatic it isn’t long before the coach has all the girls in her thrall, inspiring them to be better, slimmer, harder and more ambitious. All the girls, that is, except Beth who finds herself upsurged, no longer the captain of the team and losing Addy to Colette.
But Colette is far from the perfect woman with the beautiful house, dedicated husband and cute daughter she appears to be. And when the coach crosses a line that should have been sacred it leads to death and destruction and a world of confusion and pain for Addy.
Torn between her long friendship with the ever darker Beth and her new admiration for the sophisticated coach who seems to favour her, Addy has to figure out not only what has been happening, but also where her loyalties lie and how strong and bad she actually is.

This is a story about growing up. About the time in your life when you discover that actions have consequences and that the only person you can really trust is yourself, if you’re lucky and strong enough to face the truth.
This is a book with a dark aura, a story laced with menace. While on the surface we’re reading about teenage girls being as mean and selfish as they can be, underneath it all is a lurking threat. Dread creeps of the page and into the reader. A feeling of impending doom, and a girl, stuck in the middle, with nowhere to flee to, digging herself deeper into trouble while looking for answers no one is willing to provide.
In this book nothing is quite how it seems. The characters don’t share all available information with each other and even Addy, whose point of view is showing the way, isn’t completely honest; not with herself, not with the other characters and not with the reader.
The answers to the questions are implied at but remain just out of sight. The reader constantly feels as if they should know what is going on and why the story is unfolding in the way it is, and yet they don’t, not completely.
The look this book gives at the carelessness of teenage girls when it comes to loyalty and friendship is chilling. Were we all that callous at one point in our lives? Did we pick up and disregard people with such lack of thought for others and their feelings? Do we really want to know the answer to those questions?
This is a strangely compelling story. The darkness of the interactions between the characters made me want to look away, put the book down and take a break from the feeling of impending doom, and yet I had to keep on reading, needed to find out what was going on, had to discover who or what had caused this downwards spiral.

This is the sort of story that will capture the reader and make them think. It is a tale that will be with you even when you’re away from the book, and will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it. This story doesn’t come with easy answers, nothing is completely black or white and nobody is exactly who or what they seem.
This is one fascinating novel.