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Dare Me

3.24  ·  Rating Details ·  16,211 Ratings  ·  2,529 Reviews
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.

Hardcover, 290 pages
Published July 31st 2012 by Reagan Arthur Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Abelle I'm in the first few chapters and is also having some lack of motivation to read continuously. I normally like this genre and am a fast reader, but I…moreI'm in the first few chapters and is also having some lack of motivation to read continuously. I normally like this genre and am a fast reader, but I think I'm not so taken with the way of writing?(less)

Community Reviews

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Apr 18, 2012 karen rated it really liked it
megan abbott knows all the secrets of being a girl, and she keeps on spilling them, book after book."it's fun to be a girl!!" nah, man, it's not. have you ever seen the feet of an actual ballerina? (view spoiler)it's like that - underneath all the pink frills and the careful make-up, there is a horrorshow waiting to be revealed, and it's anything but pretty and elegant.

this book is neither her girl noir nor her coming-of-age style, but some sort of seam where they both meet. the
Emily May
Jan 01, 2013 Emily May rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013

“There's something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls.”

How can I describe this book? Well, if Bunheads had a manic, intense and obsessive older sister, then this would definitely be it. Dare Me is about teenage girls - and cheerleaders in particular - straddling the line between childhood and the big world of adults but it isn't a tale that conjures up the usual images that high school cheerleading brings with it. This is an intense book about obsession, sexuality and competition. I t
Aug 21, 2012 kari rated it did not like it
Sad,ugly characters doing sad,ugly things to one another. This is supposed to be what is in the heart and mind of the all-American girl? I'm not buying that.
This is how Addy sees herself: p. 258 "You see these glitters and sparkledust and magicks? It's war paint, it's feathers and claws, it's blood sacrifice."
Who the heck is she at war with? Herself? Who are any of them at war with? Why are any of them so angry? If I am expected to care, then explain to me why they are this way. Otherwise don't
I can't even go far enough in this book to find out the premise. I do not even care. This is god awful. This is the worst kind of writing (edit: FINE. THE WORST KIND to me. I suppose you're allowed to like it). So many analogies that don't actually even MEAN ANYTHING. You can't just... say things... and call it writing.

"wishbone arms?" What do you mean by that? What is that? So, what? They're... all bowed out? They're skinny? They're dried out like after it comes out of a turkey and sits for a w
Dan Schwent
Jan 27, 2014 Dan Schwent rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Beth and Addy have been the top dogs on the cheerleading squad for years. When a new coach comes in and upsets the apple cart, how will Beth react to her role being usurped? And what dark things are waiting in the wings for Coach French?

Wow. I've said it before but Megan Abbott makes the politics of teenage girls look as brutal as the Game of Thrones.

Dare Me is a look behind the curtain at what makes teenage girls tick, specifically the ones motivated to be cheerleaders. Eating disorders, cattin
Jun 10, 2012 Kemper rated it really liked it
Previously I’d read two Megan Abbott books, The Song is You and Queenpin. Both were razor sharp noirs set in the past with cynical hustlers smoking cigarettes and drinking whiskey and basically behaving like the type of people who belong in a black and white movie. This book is about cheerleaders in a modern high school.

It’s not as different as you’d like to think.

Addy has long been the best friend and lieutenant to Beth, the captain of their cheerleading squad. Beth is smart but self centered w
Dannii Elle
Raw, gritty and completely unforgiving. Abbott exposes the teenage girl populace in a harsh and exposing light in this unputdownable dark contemporary!

Best friends Beth Cassidy and Addy Hanlon are the Queen Bee and Lieutenant of their high-school. Their status as cheerleaders means no more to them than to ensure that all eyes are turned their way as they parade the hallways in packs of short skirts and flipping ponytails. That is, until a new coach arrives and is determined to make the cheer pac
Joe Valdez
Jul 22, 2016 Joe Valdez rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-crime
The only generic element in Megan Abbott's vibrant 2012 thriller Dare Me is the title, which promises a standard teen soap opera. The characters are anything but, capable of running intricate risk assessment models on their behavior in order to navigate the politics of a high school cheer squad. Likewise, Abbott, whose fiction was foreign to me when I began this book, demonstrates remarkable discipline, skill and emotional intelligence in building a challenging maze. Despite opportunities for th ...more

I've read gobs of creepy books and watched heaps of horror movies, but nothing can run a spike of scare through me quite like a gaggle of teen girls. You knew these things already, didn't you? Or at least suspected -- the vicious, petty jealousies, the unchecked hormones, the cutting intelligence harnessed to manipulate and intimidate, the capricious cruelty, the fathomless insecurities, the abiding self-loathing ... need I go on?

Teen girls are a tribe unto themselves, with their own language,
Debbie "DJ"
Feb 18, 2016 Debbie "DJ" rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, psychology
I'm having a heck of a time trying to review this one! Megan Abbott's writing is brilliant, and she can get into the psyche of teenage girls like nothing I've ever read. While her writing is as amazing as ever here, the plot didn't thrill me. This story goes into the world of high school cheerleading, and holy shit was I ever surprised! This is not the cheerleading I know, where girls ruffle pom-poms and smile. No, this involves dare devil stunts where injuries can be fatal.

Abbott writes:
There's something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls.

The thought of getting older is something that scares the bejesus out of me every day I look in the mirror and see a new gray hair or small wrinkle, but there is noooooo amount of money in the world that would make me want to be a teenage girl in today's society. Girls have found all sorts of new ways to be vicious to one another, high schools have become war zones, and the pressure to be thin, beautiful, and perfect, has surpassed a
James Thane
Oct 04, 2012 James Thane rated it really liked it
I know absolutely nothing about teenage girls--something that, sadly, was also true back when I was a teenage boy. Megan Abbott, on the other hand, either has a very good memory or has done prodigious research into the subject. Actually, I suspect that it's a combination of both, and the result is her excellent new novel, Dare Me.

The book is a meditation on the nature of friendship, love, competition, betrayal and young girls coming of age, set in the world of cheerleading. In it, Abbott expose
Moira Russell
"Noir cheerleaders?" I thought. "Sure, I love Abbott, but no, really, not for me." (The first time I heard about Buffy ever I said "Vampires in high school, are you shitting me? Why would I want to watch that?") But I was powering my way through The End of Everything, slack-jawed, eye-peeled and all agog, and at the back there was a reader's guide (horrible and useless), an author's interview (you're.....glad that Older Lizzie still feels the charm of that family? Uhh. Did you read your own book ...more
I wrote this review while playing Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)." There are reasons why that's appropriate, but that might delve into spoilerific territory, so I digress.

Forewarning: this will be a long review, possibly one breaking the character limit. That might be surprising considering I'm giving this (close to) 5-stars. In the aftermath of reading this, I will definitely be reading more of Megan Abbott's work. No question.

Short version of this review: I freaking loved th
Dec 25, 2015 Brad rated it really liked it
This is my second Megan Abbott, and it won't be my last. There's something about her razor-sharp writing that is so damn compelling and interesting that goes well beyond the subject matter.

I'll be honest. I don't care too much about cheerleaders and cheerleading, but when you mix a near Machiavellian cruelty to the scene, with all the world-weariness of 14 year old girls, and write the living fuck out of it, it becomes mesmerizing.

A lot of people say that Abbott writes Noir, and it is definitel
Missy Cahill
Aug 13, 2012 Missy Cahill rated it did not like it
Wow. This was just really, really bad. I knew 10 pages in, that this book, definately wasn't for me, but I hate not finishing a book, no matter how godawful it is {example: 50 Shades of shite Grey}.

Yes the author throws in some typical high school speech {see beyotch etc.} to show the readers that she's down with the lingo, but the majority of the dialogue between the characters was ridiculous. People do not speak like that. "The suns down and the moons pretty," she says, her voice hushed. "It's
Feb 02, 2014 Mara rated it really liked it
Having been a busy bee at work, I am oh so behind on reviews, and Megan Abbott's  Dare Me has so much great commentary out there in the ether that I can't help but feel I have little to add.

I'll lean on a bit of propositional logic to keep things brief, beginning with common misconceptions that I (if only subconsciously) have fallen prey to before:

Book A is about teenage girls Book A is for teenage girls

Use of twisted teenager trope Creative, layered, mind-bending

Megan Abbott makes the ab
Destini Mia~ ♕ Sassy Lassie
This is girls at their ugliest.
That's what people never understand: They see us as hard little pretty things, brightly lacquered and sequin-studded, and they laugh, they mock, they arouse themselves. They miss everything.
You see, these glitters are war paint, it's feathers and claws, it's blood sacrifice.

If I could only use one quote to sum up the entirety of this book, it would be: "there's something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls. When the glitter's gone and the makeup's washe
Aug 08, 2013 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Robert by: Kemper
Let’s be clear from the get go. If you want a more traditional review with a book summary, plot synopsis, and a character family tree, and then possibly a discussion on what the author was trying to accomplish in DARE ME and whether or not she actually achieved her goals, then you’ll probably just want to slide it on back and move on to the next review. Because I’m about as non-traditional as they come. Instead, I like discussing how a book made me feel, or didn’t feel, discussing writing insigh ...more
Drew (Drew’s Cup of Tea)
“There I am, Addy Hanlon, sixteen years old, hair like a long taffy pull and skin tight as a rubber band. I am on the gym floor, my girl Beth beside me, our cherried smiles and spray-tanned legs, ponytails bobbing in sync.”

This was a disturbing look at the lives of cheerleaders.

Cheerleaders - they are often portrayed as ditzy, shallow, flighty things, giggling while shaking their pompoms, but this is the second book I've read - the first being Exit, Pursued by a Bear - that portrayed them as
3.5 brutal stars.

According to sports injury research, cheerleading is more dangerous than any other sport, with the rate of such injuries doubling between 1990 and 2002. For members of the Cheer Squad, captained by Beth Cassidy, there is less chance of being hurt by doing cheer stunts than by getting between Beth and Colette French, the new cheer coach. Beth rules the roost and she will do whatever it takes to anchor her position at the top of this pyramid.

The story is told from the viewpoint of
Apr 06, 2014 Tfitoby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“People will always try to scare you into things. Scare you away from things. Scare you into not wanting things you can't help wanting. You can't be afraid."

What sordid, twisted lives we all lead, lives full of wonder and deception, passion and fear, especially when told through the eyes of a teenage girl it seems. Megan Abbott's second novel from the perspective of teen girls (very different from being a young adult or chicklit novel mind you) outshines even the magical End of Everything in par
Feb 01, 2013 Brandon rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, noir, ebook, 2014
Addy and Beth rule their cheerleading squad with an iron fist. Practices are rare, performances are uninspired and the effort is just not there. However, when a new coach arrives and challenges Beth’s captaincy by threatening to whip the girls into a well coordinated unit, some members are less than impressed. Can the new Coach succeed in her vision or will there be consequences for her intrusion?

After hearing several people sing the praises of Megan Abbott, I thought it was about time that I ga
Oct 12, 2012 N rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Teenage girls scare the hell out of me.

That being said I'm so glad that I was a dork in high school. I don't think I want to be grouped in with these girls.
Megan Abbott does have a way of taking you into the dark side of those teenage years.

These aren't sweet little girls. This is not a young adult book. These girls plot, drink and have sex. You do know they do this in real life to don't you?
Aug 07, 2012 Marla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
If you want to know what it's like to be a high school bitch, then read this book. High school girls can be really mean, I know that and I saw it when my daughter went through high school. There are a few who think they are the queens of the school and they treat people horribly to get what they want. I always look at those people not having a very happy life. That is what I think about Beth in Dare Me. She is a bitter girl who is going to have a horrible life if she doesn't let it go. This also ...more
Aug 04, 2012 Simon rated it it was ok
So many Goodreaders who are truly good readers love this book that I feel I may be missing something. But frankly, I found it ridiculous.

When books have first person narrators, there is always an issue about how the language the author uses fits, or does not fit, the narrator. When the narrator is a dog, or a baby, there is necessarily a huge mismatch. When the narrator is a sixteen-year old, there need be no great mismatch, though certainly we would not much enjoy reading a book that was writte
Dec 27, 2012 Florinda rated it it was ok
Occasionally I feel like no matter how closely I'm reading a book, I'm missing something. It may be due to something in the writing style that's eluding me or an important element in the story that I don't quite understand for some reason, but regardless of what causes it, I feel as if I'm somehow a few steps behind. Sometimes I'll get to the end and still feel like I haven't caught up; it feels like waking up from a dream that I was trying to understand while dreaming it, and it's frustrating. ...more
May 09, 2012 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, favorites, read_2012
All that glitters and sparkles; candy-made for thirsting eyes - It's all smoke and mirrors - plumage full of sweet smelling delights, serving as a hideaway for the stingers that lay in wait. 'Dare Me' is home to those stingers. Full of pretty faces with indecent thoughts. These characters of cheer spread terror. While their eyes and sickly sweet mouths promise honey, the bee sting sharpens its point laying in wait for the perfect moment to penetrate normalcy and brandish a bloody streak across t ...more
Mar 11, 2015 F.R. rated it really liked it
I am so FREAKING GLAD I never had to go to an American high school. Every depiction of them in books, TV and movies just makes them look like hellish places. My American friends may tell me they had actually really good experiences, but my media-informed prejudices remain incredibly high.

The last time I read any Megan Abbott she was writing 1940s female-led, noir thrillers – the kind with a ruby lipped chanteuse in a smoke filled nightclub, a Beretta pressed to her stocking top. But even though
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Megan Abbott is the Edgar®-winning author of the novels Queenpin, The Song Is You, Die a Little, Bury Me Deep, The End of Everything, Dare Me, The Fever and You Will Know Me.

Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, 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
More about Megan Abbott...

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“There's something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls.” 287 likes
“Ages fourteen to eighteen, a girl needs something to kill all that time, that endless itchy waiting, every hour, every day for something — anything — to begin.” 62 likes
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