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.
Cool and commanding, an emissary from the adult world just beyond their reach, Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life. Only Beth, unsettled by the new regime, remains outside Coach's golden circle, waging a subtle but vicious campaign to regain her position as "top girl" - both with the team and with Addy herself.
Then a suicide focuses a police investigation on Coach and her squad. After the first wave of shock and grief, Addy tries to uncover the truth behind the death - and learns that the boundary between loyalty and love can be dangerous terrain.
The raw passions of girlhood are brought to life in this taut, unflinching exploration of friendship, ambition, and power. Award-winning novelist Megan Abbott, writing with what Tom Perrotta has hailed as "total authority and an almost desperate intensity," provides a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl.
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Mutually assured destruction
The secret history by Donna Tarrt due to the intensity of the relationships; the adult/ teen interplay & the dark undercurrent. Several of the Nicci French novels have similar themes of the perils of self/ other confusion.
The reader delivered the teenage voice with credibility & maimtained my interest in some of the details of Cheering, not a subject matter which initially engaged me.
Addy remains memorable for prevailing in the midst of the self destruction of Beth, Will & Coach. Beth was right, Addy was always the strong one.
For the first couple of chapters, i thought i had erred in buying a YA listen but after that this 50 something year old was fully engaged with the characters & their motivations while a vivid mind movie of their athletic feats was running throughout.The author managed to evoke memories of my own high school humiliations & gratitude that those memories now have the benefit of life experience.
Very well written
Evocative, startling voice
Wonderful writing from Megan Abbott. This woman really knows how to not only plot a taut story arc but also how to evoke compelling 3-D characters & craft precise, vivid, crackling prose. (Re. performance: I do so wish our narrators would stop making adolescent girls sound like munchkins. That said, this book's audio-narrator does give a *far* more nuanced performance than the audio-narrator of Abbott's The End of Everything, who basically ruins the latter book. Sad.)