kari's Reviews > Dare Me

Dare Me by Megan Abbott
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Sep 13, 12

Read in August, 2012

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 waste my time.
There is no character that you have hopes for or care for or even like, other than perhaps the victim, but even there, what that person was doing was wrong. Who in this whole book actually does right?
None of these characters are even fully formed. There is reference made of Beth's issues, but never explained why she behaves as she does, nor why none of these girl's parents seem to give two hoots about their supposedly perfect daughters.
The way the girls tear at one another, bully each other and these are supposed to be their friends? I just don't understand what the author was trying to say with this.
And the big reveal(I don't mean the reveal of the death which you would think is the big reveal, but the actual big reveal) in the final pages? Yeah, saw that coming a mile away, wondered how long it would take to get there. Who cares?
There are some big continuity problems that don't make sense. Coach has her hair in a bob, but then later, only a matter of weeks later, it is described in a ponytail and a French braid. So does she have long hair, long enough for a French braid or ponytail or is it a bob?
At one time, Coach is speaking to the girls in the locker room and they begin to scream with joy, jumping on the bleachers. There aren't bleachers in locker rooms.
The worst one is p. 117: "Clattering the phone against the wall, she catapults it down the toilet."
Addy is there and witnesses this happening, the phone down the toilet. The book is told in first person from Addy's viewpoint. So, then why on page 121 does she say " . . . I can't get Beth to return my texts." Yeah, that would be because her phone went down the toilet four pages ago which Addy witnessed. Stupid. On page 123 Beth asks for her phone back and Addy reminds her that it went down the toilet. So, then why was she texting her two pages ago when she knows Beth's phone went down the toilet? Makes absolutely no sense.
Additionally, the description of the victim/suicide, which Addy saw, says the weapon was lying under the leg, but later Addy reads that it was by the victim's head. p. 191 reading from the newspaper article: "Recoil will usually cause a handgun to land behind the body, the source noted, not next to the head where it was found." Addy is trying hard to figure out what happened and she never thinks to herself that that isn't where the gun was, but was under the leg. She supposedly can't get the image out of her mind, but she doesn't think that this is wrong. So, I'm guessing it is an error on the part of the author. Since all of theses small details do seem to matter to the plot, that is really badly done.
Also, what world do these people live in where the high school cheer coach, in her office, at the high school, smokes? And I mean smokes like a flipping chimney. You can't even smoke outside most schools around here, let alone in the building.
And she gives the girls cigarettes and then serves them alcohol at her home, with no mention whatever that this isn't okay. There is tons of teen drinking, drugging, drinking and driving, drinking while driving, with no mention at all that anyone is at all aware that these things aren't right.
Parents seem to not exist in this world.
Bottom line. One word. Ugly.
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Comments (showing 1-31 of 31) (31 new)

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Pssantry My thoughts exactly! There was also the mistake where she describes a football player holding Beth up in the air with his hands around her ankles and her feet resting in the palms of his hands. How is that physically possible?


message 2: by kari (new) - rated it 1 star

kari Pssantry wrote: "My thoughts exactly! There was also the mistake where she describes a football player holding Beth up in the air with his hands around her ankles and her feet resting in the palms of his hands. How..."

I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets stuck on small details like that. And this book was a complete waste of time even without the mistakes.


message 3: by Mione (new)

Mione Thanks for the head's up. I'm tired of reading books where there's no one to root for or I can't stand the main characters. I'll be striking this one from my list!


message 4: by kari (new) - rated it 1 star

kari You are smart to skip it. Nothing to like about the characters or the plot, sorry to say.


message 5: by Leah (new) - rated it 1 star

Leah I had high hopes and just hated every minute of it! Too much cheering, and the big reveal at the end was dumb. Waste of time. There are much better books out there about teen girls going wrong.


message 6: by kari (new) - rated it 1 star

kari Leah wrote: "I had high hopes and just hated every minute of it! Too much cheering, and the big reveal at the end was dumb. Waste of time. There are much better books out there about teen girls going wrong."

I very much agree. The big reveal was just stupid and there are much better books, where the actions actually make sense and have some foundation. I never understood why any of these girls were so angry at everything. And the bullying of one another, their supposed friends, made no sense to me.


Noreen YES. I had hopes for this one, too--I was on a competition squad, the premise seemed promising--but the end was brutal. As you said, the big reveal was so obvious and was it supposed to be a big deal or something? It was not surprising or shocking.

Everyone drinking at Coach's house and NO ONE even slipping up and mentioning it to a friend made no sense. I am a teacher. There's no way kids wouldn't be blabbing all over if I illegally plied them with liquor at my house. What the hell world does this author live in?


message 8: by kari (new) - rated it 1 star

kari Noreen wrote: "YES. I had hopes for this one, too--I was on a competition squad, the premise seemed promising--but the end was brutal. As you said, the big reveal was so obvious and was it supposed to be a big de..."

My thoughts exactly! No way could all of this behavior be a secret, not the way kids talk about everything. Hard to suspend disbelief on this one.


Alissa I used to be a cheerleader so I thought I would like this book... it was just terrible.


message 10: by kari (new) - rated it 1 star

kari Alissa wrote: "I used to be a cheerleader so I thought I would like this book... it was just terrible."

I agree completely. Just terrible is right.


Christine I'm with you. As a cheer coach myself (and competed as student), the cheer references drove me insane. It was like she TRIED to include some terminology and what not, but didn't quite succeed at all. While reading I took out the cheer component and focused on the characters and plot. But overall, it seemed like an overdone Lifetime movie.


message 12: by kari (new) - rated it 1 star

kari Christine wrote: "I'm with you. As a cheer coach myself (and competed as student), the cheer references drove me insane. It was like she TRIED to include some terminology and what not, but didn't quite succeed at al..."

SO, I'm guessing you don't offer your cheer squad cigarettes and booze? LOL
Yep, definitely a Lifetime movie, that is a good analogy. These girls really could have been any group of girls, cheerleading really was no part of it. And I never did understand how these friends could continually tear at one another. I wouldn't spend another minute with someone who treated me the way these girls do.


message 13: by Zack (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zack Olson No disrespect meant, but I feel you've missed much of the point of the story. The things that the author does not "explain" are there for the reader to figure out for themselves. As with all good authors, Abbott seeks to provoke thought, not just entertain. The things that are not told are shown through action and characterization. Parents are not there for a reason; there are no heroes for a reason; the inconsistencies are there for a reason. "Dare Me" isn't meant to bee about all-American girls, at least not in the conventional sense, which is pretty unrealistic these days. Of course, I'm not saying that you shouldn't dislike the book. That's your choice. I'm just saying that the story is not as inconsistent as you wrote, and that perhaps it, and its author, deserve a bit more consideration.


message 14: by kari (last edited Feb 04, 2014 07:39AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

kari Zack wrote: "No disrespect meant, but I feel you've missed much of the point of the story. The things that the author does not "explain" are there for the reader to figure out for themselves. As with all good a..."

I think any author whom one chooses to read is given enough consideration by simply taking the time to read what they've written. I don't believe I've missed the point.
While I would agree that a good author can show through action and characterization the things that are left out, I don't believe this author accomplished that. I'd like you to point out examples where that was done instead of simply saying that it was. Show, not tell. None of these characters are much more than cardboard with no personality.
I don't believe the inconsistencies are there for a reason, but are, in fact, inconsistencies and messy writing. Bleachers in the locker room? A phone being down the toilet, which the narrator knows, but is unable to understand why her texts and calls aren't being anwered? The coach's hair is short and then in a braid and then a pony tail? The image of the murder victim which she can't get out of her mind, but when written in the paper in incorrect, but she doesn't notice?
I'd have to disagree. Those aren't on purpose. They are sloppy, careless writing.
As far as being what the book is about, the book cover states that this is what is in the heart and mind of the all-American girl. So why then should I believe it is not about that exact thing.
Thanks for the comment.


Pearce As far as being what the book is about, the book cover states

Book, cover, judge not. ;)


message 16: by kari (last edited Jul 18, 2013 06:29AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

kari Pearce wrote: "As far as being what the book is about, the book cover states

Book, cover, judge not. ;)"


Let me just say this. Yes, one should not judge a book by its cover. However, when it is printed on the cover of a book what that book is supposed to be about, then it is normal to expect that to be the content of the book.
Fooled again. lol


message 17: by Sara (new) - rated it 1 star

Sara I agree with your review and assessment that the writing in this book is sloppy and careless. I was taken aback from the start when the Coach was described as being "pigeon-toed like a dancer". What??


message 18: by kari (new) - rated it 1 star

kari Sara wrote: "I agree with your review and assessment that the writing in this book is sloppy and careless. I was taken aback from the start when the Coach was described as being "pigeon-toed like a dancer". What??"

Thanks! I didn't catch that one. Dancers are the total opposite of pigeon-toed. Where would she even come up with that description?


message 19: by Sara (new) - rated it 1 star

Sara I think she doesn't know what pigeon-toed is, and neither does her editor, which is rather worrying. I think the term she was looking for was "duck-footed", which doesn't sound at all attractive, so probably would have been best to just say she had the "stance of a dancer". Some authors, this one in particular, really fall too much in love with their own writing.


message 20: by kari (new) - rated it 1 star

kari Sara wrote: "I think she doesn't know what pigeon-toed is, and neither does her editor, which is rather worrying. I think the term she was looking for was "duck-footed", which doesn't sound at all attractive, s..."

You said it! How can neither the author or editor know what pigeon-toed is? And you are right, if you don't know the right word, then use "stance of a dancer" and those who know what that is will have that visual. I'm not sure why a cheer coach would have a dancer's stance, anyway.
Good comment.


message 21: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Turnage I just finished this book. I got a little disillusioned halfway through and finished it more out of obligation (to what I don't know) than true interest in the conclusion. I chose this book based on a recommendation from one of my favorite authors, Gillian Flynn, but this book misses the mark. The lack of parental involvement didn't bother me much because I know there are many well off families who conduct themselves and parent their teenagers that way. It is almost as if this story made promises it never quite fulfilled. can't quite put my finger on it, but left me unsatisfied as a reader.


message 22: by kari (new) - rated it 1 star

kari I agree. So you must have read Gone Girl. Isn't it fabulous?


Sarah Agreed.


message 24: by Luke (new) - rated it 3 stars

Luke I wasn't noticing all these narrative inconsistencies until I read your review, now I'm seeing them all over the place! The phone one is SO blatant, I can't believe someone didn't pick up on that before it got published.


message 25: by kari (new) - rated it 1 star

kari Things like that just stick in my head


message 26: by Jalawa (new)

Jalawa Thanks, Kari. I actually looked to buy this book. I appreciate your review. We all can say that as book lovers, we hate wasting money on a horrible read.


message 27: by kari (new) - rated it 1 star

kari Jalawa03 wrote: "Thanks, Kari. I actually looked to buy this book. I appreciate your review. We all can say that as book lovers, we hate wasting money on a horrible read."

OH, that irritates me terribly. I hate when I've wasted my precious book-buying funds on a bad book. You are most welcome.


Gbackhaus you put into words everything that I have been thinking while reading this book!


message 29: by kari (new) - rated it 1 star

kari thanks.


Jordan I just finished this book about 5 minutes ago - a recommendation after reading "Gone Girl" & "Sharp Objects" (both I highly recommend). This really was painfully difficult to read - just bad. I'm not sure I have read anything I've enjoyed less.


message 31: by kari (new) - rated it 1 star

kari Gone Girl is so good. This book isn't in any way in the same class as that, I completely agree. This one was tough to get through. Thanks for the comment.


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