Author: Megan Abbott
Release Date: 2012
I read this book based on Nick Hornby’s recommendation in his Guardian column, with Megan Abbott being one of the authors he repeatedly read due to her knack for making him relate to characters he had nothing in common with. Case in point, this novel set in the world of girl’s cheerleading (written from a teenage girl’s perspective) could have ended up reading like young adult suspense, but instead was much more in line with some one like Michael Chabon.
The arrival of a new coach to the cheer team immediately changes the existing power dynamics within a cheer squad, to the point where narrator Addy and team Captain Beth have a strain on their prior status as best friends. As Addy and Coach (as she is referred to in the book) become closer, Addy is drawn into Coach’s trust and finds herself put in a situation that has her trying to figure out who she can trust and what the truth is behind an event that draws police attention.
At the end of my copy of the book, Abbott discusses in an interview how Beth was her favorite character. Set up as an antagonist for much of the story, her actions drive much of the plot of the book. I really enjoyed her storyline and thought the book was at its best anytime she was featured. While I didn’t predict the actual responsible party for the violent event, I had a good idea of what would happen at the big game and ended up being correct. Based on this book, I’ll be sure to check out more of Abbott’s work in the future.