to do two posts in one night? Fine. But only because I was dared.
Oh man, I can’t even continue that segue. It’s too corny. The next book I read is actually called Dare Me and in an attempt to knock off another book from my to-do list, I’m going to write a second post tonight.
Dare Me by Megan Abbot
In my last post that I wrote about oh, 20 minutes ago, I mentioned how it’s easier to transition from book to book when they share similar themes. If there is a stark contrast between two books, sometimes it’s difficult to look past this if you aren’t immediately hooked by the new novel you’ve picked up. This happened slightly between reading Shanghai Girls and Dare Me by Megan Abbot. I went from 1950’s America from the point of view of Chinese immigrants to vicious cat fights between cheerleaders in the present day. And I’m not talking your everyday girl drama (or at least I hope this isn’t becoming the norm these days), but dark and sinister drama candy-coated in hairspray, glitter and perky smiles. There is a harsh contrast.
That being said, I was able to enjoy Dare Me once I got into it’s groove, the twisted groove that it is. The novel focuses on the friendship between two head cheerleaders, Addy and Beth, who are seniors in high school. This friendship is tested when the squad gets a young new head coach that all the girls eventually bond with except for Beth. What follows is a dark descent into girl world.
To be honest, I wasn’t completely moved by the plot of the book. What really caught my attention was the interesting descriptive style used by Abbot. It’s articulate almost to the point of being staccato. “In the locker room, forty minutes to game time, we are Vegas showgirl-spangled. The air thick with biofreeze and tiger balm and hairspray and the sugared coconut of tawny body sprays, it is like being in a soft cocoon of sugar and love.” Her detailed descriptions that follow of each individual girl are sharp bullet points of information.
In conjunction with Abbot’s staccato style, I found her comparisons of cheerleaders to violent battle-ready soldiers particularly striking. “You see, these glitters and sparkle dusts and magics? It’s war paint, it’s feathers and claws, it’s blood sacrifice.” This creates an unsettling setting for girls simply performing a cheerleading routine (and I am in no way trying to say that cheerleading is “simple” or “easy” so relax).
For someone looking for a dark and twisted look into girl-world, Dare Me is a good place to start. As the author reminds us at the beginning “There’s something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls.”