Tuesday, October 23, 2012

YA Week: Dare Me by Megan Abbott

by:  Megan Abbott
published by:  Reagan Arthur Books
publish date:  July 31, 2012

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.

I'm not quite sure if Dare Me is classified as YA or not.  It seems like it would be one of those crossover books or one of those books that would be in that "New Adult" genre we've started hearing about.  I don't know if I like that term, but it does help kinda draw that line.  There are few YA books that I don't think should be in the hands of kids younger than like driving age, so I guess if there was a different classification other than YA, it allows writers to take more liberties without threat of harming impressionable young minds (says the mother that let her 8 year olds watch The Walking

Anyway, Dare Me is all about the world of cheerleading.  Beth and Addy have been best friends for ever.  Beth has always been Cheer Captain and Addy her Lieutenant.  Then Coach Fish retires and Coach French comes in and shakes up the status quo.  She takes the squad and breaks them down and turns them into a whole new team.

Coach French also brings turmoil and drama to the team.  Beth loses her position as Team Captain and she is out for revenge.  Coach French also starts having an affair with the Army Recruiter at the school and turns her marriage upside down.  Worse still, she turns Beth and Addy against each other.

I found Dare Me to be creepy and disturbing.  When I first started it, the name of the author Megan Abbott sounded familiar, but it wasn't ringing a bell.  She wrote the End of Everything, which I read last summer.  If you haven't read that, it's another "New Adult" young girl book that's incredibly disturbing.  Dare Me has a lot of bad language and "adult situations" in it, but on the other hand it has a lot of messages in it that I think are important to young teen girls.  So, I would definitely recommend it to teen girls, but with a lot of parental warnings to go along with it.


Susan Oloier said...

It's hard to know where to draw the line between YA and "New Adult". Do we protect our kids from reading things they may already be exposed to in real life? I really don't know.
Great food for thought with this post.

Autumn said...

I know what you're saying. The girls in this book had bad language and I know girls in real life talk the same way, but I don't know...with younger kids I don't see the point in glorifying it.

Zoë said...

As a "new adult" myself I definitely like the idea of more books focused for that audience. This sounds like an author that deals with the creepy and disturbing. I actually really wanted to read this, and your review is a nice reminder to pick it up (and maybe her earlier book too!)