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You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

Young adult

You Will Know Me

by Megan Abbott

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Quick Take

Perfectly ties together a fascination with the adolescent psyche, the hysteria of small-town cynicism, and the secrets that young people keep among themselves.

Why I love it

Nobody writes about teenagers better than Megan Abbott. The teens of You Will Know Me are elite gymnasts with dreams of making it to the Olympic squad. They sacrifice all of the things that 'œnormal teenagers' take for granted '” sleep, social lives, even food '“ all in the name of their immense ambitions. But a sudden tragedy sends the hopefuls'”and their coaches and parents'”into a panic, questioning whether becoming the next Mary Lou Retton or Simone Biles is worth dying for.

The novel perfectly ties together a fascination with the adolescent psyche, the hysteria of small-town cynicism, and the secrets that young people keep among themselves. (Think high-brow Pretty Little Liars.) And then there are the parents: Katie, the mother of the local gym’s most promising gymnast Devon, wrestles with whether she should nurture her daughter’s athletic aspirations or protect her from them. (Troublingly, her husband Eric is all in on Devon’s career.) Throw in Katie’s obsession with uncovering the truth behind a mysterious death, and you have a sense of how combustible the set-up is.

An anxious dread hangs over the whole novel, and there are even flirtations with the supernatural But even here, Abbott is incredibly restrained, particularly in her plotting, giving space for readers to create their own suspicions and theories about the characters. The novel never manipulates the readers'”it lets them manipulate themselves.

You might also find yourself loving You Will Know Me even if you’re not ordinarily a reader of crime novels. Abbott doesn’t shy away from the genre, but her writing is a cut above many of her contemporaries. She leans on language that is tense but patient, rather than trying to make you turn pages quickly.

Which is perfect because you’ll want to savor every page of this twisty piece of teenage noir.

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Young adult
View all
Ruthless Vows
The Revenant Games
What the River Knows
As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow
Dragonfruit
Gwen & Art Are Not in Love
Divine Rivals
Legendborn
Foul Lady Fortune
Anna K Away
A Wilderness of Stars
Firekeeper's Daughter
Girl, Serpent, Thorn
Warrior Girl Unearthed
Bloodmarked
Star Daughter
Not So Pure and Simple
Throw Like a Girl
The Queen of Nothing
On the Come Up
Wayward Son
Anna K
The Rest of the Story
With the Fire on High
The Red Scrolls of Magic
This Time Will Be Different
Yes No Maybe So
The Gilded Wolves
Permanent Record
Wicked Saints
Dangerous Alliance
The Sound of Stars
All the Stars and Teeth
Where the World Ends
When the Stars Lead to You
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Ten Thousand Doors of January
The Girl the Sea Gave Back
Saving Zoë
Hello Girls
Mind Games
Storm and Fury
There's Something About Sweetie
Again, But Better
We Hunt the Flame
Sky Without Stars
You'd Be Mine
Opposite of Always
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager
Enchantée
The Astonishing Color of After
Top Ten
Little & Lion
The Impossible Fortress
Girls in the Moon
You Will Know Me