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Dare Me

3.22  ·  Rating details ·  23,803 ratings  ·  3,280 reviews
"Tense, dark, and beautifully written" (Gillian Flynn), this novel of friendship and betrayal from an Edgar Award-winning author is a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl.

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
Hardcover, 290 pages
Published July 31st 2012 by Reagan Arthur Books (first published May 10th 2012)
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Average rating 3.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  23,803 ratings  ·  3,280 reviews

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Apr 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
i have watched the first two episodes of this show and i am displeased so far. if anyone wants to talk about it, i'm game.


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 thatunderneath all the pink frills and the careful make-up, there is a horrorshow waiting
Emily May
Jan 01, 2013 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
Aug 21, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: total-crap
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
Jan 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Dan Schwent
Jan 27, 2014 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,
Elise (TheBookishActress)
There's something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls.

This is... a weird book. And it's definitely going to be polarizing. But holy shit, for me, this book was fantastic . It's not necessarily a book you'll enjoy, but oh my god, does it stay with you - this book along with Abigail Haas' Dangerous Girls got me interested in the suspense genre. It has been over a year now since I read this book and it still haunts
Susanne  Strong
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
3.75 Stars* (rounded up)

Yowza! This is Mean Girls at its Very Best and when its Wicked, it's Totally Wicked. And when it's Trashy, it's Totally Trashy. And in those MOMENTS? It is HIGHLY ENTERTAINING.

Dare Me by Megan Abbot is High School Cheerleaders' version of Mean Girls with a little mystery thrown in. It's entertaining and campy and it almost makes me want to be back in High School. To be teased mercilessly. Not.. And I swear the book didn't inspire me to want to go out and buy pom poms
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Previously Id 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.

Its not as different as youd 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 with
Joe Valdez
Jul 22, 2016 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 ...more
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
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Dare Me is fun, yall. A great escape. Indulgent. I am planning to watch the series now because I finished this juicy book last night. Its been called a cross between Heathers and Fight Club, and I can definitely see why. I was entertained, distracted from the world around me, and a bit wicked for enjoying this one so much?!

I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own.

Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: and instagram:
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
Debbie "DJ"
Feb 18, 2016 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:

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,
Missy Cahill
Aug 13, 2012 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
James Thane
Oct 04, 2012 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
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
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 ...more
Feb 02, 2014 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 writing

Megan Abbott
Dec 25, 2015 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
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

"Cheer taught me to trust my girls to catch me when I fall. It showed me how to be a leader."

I read Dare Me nearly five years ago and had a mediocre reaction to it. Then the previews for the television series started appearing and I realized that I remembered hardly anything aside from (a) cheerleaders that were (b) Megan Abbotts signature mean girl type of teen. Old Lady Brain. So debilitating : ( I set the DVR up to record the show
Dec 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like each and every expression by the writer.
I have enjoyed it.
The keen reader who like flawless
writings as visionary, Should read it.
It's a Young Adult fiction, which comprises suspense in climax as the story leads.
Oct 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Robert by: Kemper
Lets 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 youll probably just want to slide it on back and move on to the next review. Because Im about as non-traditional as they come. Instead, I like discussing how a book made me feel, or didnt feel, discussing writing insights ...more
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
destini mia
Sep 24, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Apr 06, 2014 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
Rachel Hall
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As someone who knows nothing of the cheerleading world that seems so intrinsic to American high schools, and the surrounding teenage angst that it gives rise to, I confess to approaching this novel preparing to be well and truly underwhelmed. Woe betide others who enter so casually, for Dare Me is a fascinating, claustrophobic and highly compelling insight into the intense world of burgeoning adolescents girls and the very dark depths that it can plumb. Uncomfortable and truly shocking, Dare Me, ...more
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, adult
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
Dec 27, 2012 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
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Play Book Tag: Dare Me by Megan Abbott- 2 Stars 1 22 Jun 15, 2017 12:05PM  
Around the Year i...: Dare Me, by Megan Abbott 1 24 May 13, 2016 08:19AM  
Contemporary YA: Dare Me 8 64 Jan 10, 2016 03:50PM  
2017 Reading Chal...: Dare Me by Megan Abbott 1 26 Jan 04, 2016 06:48PM  
last chapter's meaning 3 206 Sep 11, 2014 12:36AM  
Pulp Fiction: Good Reads Choice Awards - Suggestions? 6 76 Nov 28, 2012 05:22PM  

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Megan Abbott is the Edgar®-winning author of the novels Die a Little, Queenpin, The Song Is You, Bury Me Deep, The End of Everything, Dare Me, The Fever, You Will Know Me and Give Me Your Hand.

Abbott is co-showrunner, writer and executive producer of DARE ME, the TV show adapated from her novel. She was also a staff writer on HBO's THE DEUCE. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times,

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