Megan Abbott is the Edgar®-winning author of the novels Queenpin, The Song Is You, Die a Little, and her latest, The Fever, which was chosen as one of the Best Books of the Summer by the New York Times, People Magazine and Entertainment Weekly and one of the Best Books of the Year by Amazon, National Public Radio, the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Believer and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Born in the Detroit area, she graduated from the University of Michigan and received her Ph.D. in English and American literature from New York University. She has taught at NYU, the State University of New York and the New School University. In 2013-14, she served as the John Grisham Writer in Residence at Ole Miss. (lightly adapted from Megan Abbott's web site)
Dare Me by Megan Abbott (Back Bay Books, 2013, 320 pp, $1131/9.99) is a problem novel about adolescent girls on a cheer team in a contemporary American high school. It tells the story of the girls on the team, their coach, and the deeply conflicting behavior and motives of many of them. It features graphic behavior and deep psychological trauma, which may be characteristic of behavior at some level in today's schools. As with many of today's books exploring adolescent life, many parents might prefer that their children not read Dare Me. On the other hand, for both children and their parents, reading Dare Me may open the opportunities for further teaching and learning about how to function in the difficult and often confusing world we inhabit. Books like these are best approached in an environment of exploration and discovery. The book is distinguished by Abbott's fine writing and vivid use of language some might find offensive. Nevertheless reading it could provide insight to many adolescents and their parents. Additionally, the story features taut and gripping writing throughout. I borrowed the book from my local public library.