By Megan Abbott
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You told each other everything. Then she told you too much.
Kit has risen to the top of her profession and is on the brink of achieving everything she wanted. She hasn't let anything stop her.
But now someone else is standing in her way: Diane. Best friends at seventeen, their shared ambition made them inseparable. Until the day Diane told Kit her secret — the worst thing she'd ever done, the worst thing Kit could imagine — and it blew their friendship apart.
Kit is still the only person who knows what Diane did. And now Diane knows something about Kit that could destroy everything she's worked so hard for.
How far would Kit go to make the hard work, the sacrifice, worth it in the end? What wouldn't she give up? Diane thinks Kit is just like her. Maybe she's right. Ambition: it's in the blood . . .
Shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award
I guess I always knew, in some subterranean way, Diane and I would end up back together.
We are bound, ankle to ankle, a monstrous three-legged race.
Accidental accomplices. Wary conspirators.
Or Siamese twins, fused in some hidden place.
It’s that powerful, this thing we share. A murky history, its narrative near impenetrable. We keep telling it to ourselves, noting its twists and turns, trying to make sense of it. And hiding it from everyone else.
Sometimes it feels like Diane is a corner of myself broken off and left to roam my body, floating through my blood.
On occasional nights, stumbling to the bathroom after a bad dream, a Diane dream, I avoid the mirror, averting my eyes, leaving the light off, some primitive part of my half-asleep brain certain that if I looked, she might be there. (Cover your mirrors after dark, my great-grandma used to say. Or they trap the dreamer’s wandering soul.)
So, even though I haven’t seen her in years, it isn’t truly a surprise when Diane appears at the Severin Lab, my workplace, the building in which I spend most of my waking life. Of all the labs in all the world, she had to walk into mine. And everything begins again.
The strangest part is how little we actually know about each other. Not our birthdays, our favorite songs, who made our hearts beat faster, or didn’t. We were friends, if Diane is friends with anyone, only for a few months and long ago.
But we do know the one thing no one else in the world knows about the other.
The only important thing.
The world is blood-hot and personal.
This was twelve years ago. We were seventeen, Diane and me, and for the eight or nine months of our senior year, we shared an energy that crackled in both of us, a drive, a hunger, a singing ambition.
Then, one night, everything broke.
We were at my house, my mom’s cramped, Lysol-laden house, thick with rescue animals, and absent all privacy. None of the doors fully shut, swollen wood in cheap frames, accordion doors off their tracks. But she told me anyway.
When it started, we were sitting at either end of my twin bed doing our Hamlet study questions, Diane with her meticulous handwriting and tidy nails, wearing one of her dozen soft-as-lamb sweaters—a girl so refined she could even get a holiday job at the perfume counter at the fancy department store. She always came here to study, even though the house she lived in with her grandfather was three times the size of ours.
Here we were, so tightly quartered we could hear my mom already creeping to bed, the slith-slith of her slippers.
Things felt off from the start. Each time I read out a question (“What is Hamlet’s central crisis?”), Diane would look at me blankly. Each time, the same distracted look, stroking the locket around her neck as if it were a genie’s bottle.
“Diane,” I said, crossing my legs, the narrow mattress undulating with every move, scrunched pillows, spiral notebooks tilting, our cross-country letter jackets and itchy scarves swarmed around our legs, “is this about what happened in class today?”
Because something had happened: Ms. Cameron had asked Diane to read aloud Claudius’s speech—the best in the whole play—but Diane, pale as Hamlet’s ghost himself, refused to open her book, arms folded and eyes blinking. When she did finally submit, the words came slow as pine sap, as that cough syrup my mom used to give me that tasted like the inside of a dying tree. Diane, Diane, are you okay?
“Nothing happened,” Diane insisted now, turning sideways, her long blond bangs hanging like a gilt chandelier over that beauty-queen face of hers. “You know, none of these characters are real.”
It was hard to argue with that, and I wondered if we should just drop it. But there was something hovering behind Diane’s eyes. Diane, who’d never shared a private thought with me that wasn’t about chemistry or college scholarships or the fairness of the ionic-compound question on the last exam.
I admit it: I wanted to know.
“Kit,” Diane said, gripping her little Signet Hamlet in her hand now, the gold Jesus ring from her grandfather gleaming, “did you mean what you said in class? About Claudius having no conscience?”
I could feel something happening, something heavy in the room, a heat shuddering off Diane, her neck pink and pink spots at her temples.
“Sure,” I said. “He kills his own brother to get what he wants. Which means he just has no morals.”
For a moment, neither of us said anything, the air in the room pressing our faces with thickish fingers. And what was that buzzing? The halogen bulb? The chugging old laptop the PTA gave all the students who couldn’t afford computers? Or was it like that time I found Sadie, our scruffed-up lap cat, under the porch, covered in flies?
“Kit,” she said, her voice quiet and even, “do you think it could happen in real life?”
“For someone to have no conscience.”
“Yes,” I said so quickly I surprised myself. I believed it, utterly.
Diane didn’t say anything, and her hand wrapped tight around that delicate locket, tugging it down, leaving a red ring on her long white neck.
“Diane,” I said, “what is it?”
We sat a moment, the buzzing still buzzing and my feet nearly asleep from stillness.
“Did someone do something to you?” I said. “Did someone hurt you?”
I’d wondered about it before, many times. I’d known her only a few months and Diane was so quiet, so private, not like any of the rest of us. Private in all the body ways, taking her gym shirt off only behind her locker door. And in how she dressed, like a virgin princess.
Or maybe I assumed that of everyone. It seemed like everyone had sad stories if you scratched deep enough.
“No one did anything to me. I’m talking about something I did,” she said, eyes lowered. “I’m talking about myself.”
“What did you do?” I couldn’t imagine Diane doing anything that wasn’t careful and correct.
“I can’t say it out loud. I’ve never said it.”
With anyone else I knew, I could think of a million possibilities. Stole a sweater from the mall, cheated on a test, rolled on molly all through the school day, too much Baileys and three furtive blow jobs before the party was over. But not Diane.
“Did you crash your granddad’s truck?”
A sinking feeling began. A feeling of circling something dark.
“Are you pregnant?” I asked, even though it seemed impossible.
“No,” she said. And I heard something click-click in her throat, or mine.
She looked up at me, those golden lashes batting fiercely, but her voice even and calm: “It’s so much worse.”
Smart never mattered much until you, Diane.
I’d always gotten good grades, maybe good enough to get a scholarship at City Tech. But I wasn’t thinking even that far ahead, much less as far as you.
You had a plan for yourself, for what you wanted to be, and you weren’t taking any chances. You were relentless. Everything had to be perfect, fingernails precise little half-moons; those goldenrod mechanical pencils you used, the erasers always untouched. Your answers were always right. Every time. Teachers used your tests for the answer keys.
What I didn’t know then was that all that perfection, held so tightly, can be a shield, either to keep something out or to keep something in. To hide it.
And your ambition was itself a gift—to us both—but also some dark evidence.
“Mom,” I said, “she’s so serious. She works all the time. She gets up at five to run and then do an hour’s homework before school.”
“Good for her.”
“She’s learning German on her headphones while she runs. She says she’s going to be a scientist and work for the government.”
These were things I didn’t think real people did.
“We used to call them grinds,” my mom said, smiling. “But good for her.”
“Mom, I just…” A yearning inside me I couldn’t explain, to know things, to be bigger, to care more. I’d never felt it before Diane, but now it was there, humming inside. And my mom seemed to sense it, eyes resting on me as I twisted my hands together, trying to explain.
“Well,” she said, “you’re the smartest person I know.”
Diane, after you told me your secret, I’d lie awake at night, staring at the light on my phone.
I’d think about you. Picture you closing your books at last, scattering eraser rubbings (you had to erase sometimes, didn’t you?) into the trash. Scrubbing your face. Brushing your hair until it gleamed moonlight.
I wondered if you thought about what you’d done all the time, like I now did.
Did you rest when you finally shut your eyes?
Or was that the worst moment? The time when you thought of what you’d done, and how, maybe worse still, you’d gotten away with it. When you get away with something it’s yours only, forever. Heavy and irremediable.
Sometimes I wondered: Why did you pick me? Attach yourself to me on your first day at our school? Was I the nicest, the friendliest? The easiest, the smartest, second-smartest to you?
Or was it mere chance, the two of us landing side by side at cross-country, legs bent, at the gate? The two of us in chem lab, elbows on the slab, working the math of it all?
Or was it me who picked you?
The halls are quiet, soothing.
I always try to get there at least an hour before the others, if I can. Sometimes, I skip the elevator, slow and halting. Take the stairs two at a time, coffee splashing up my wrist and arm, trying to beat the clock, beat the relentless ambition of the other postdocs and near-postdocs.
Dr. Severin probably won’t be in for hours, her schedule mysterious and unpredictable, but we swipe security key cards to get in, so she’ll know I’m here. Somehow, I think she’d know anyway. The hardest worker I’ve ever seen—that’s how all my past advisers always described me. I want her to know too, and the card is proof.
In the fourteen months I’ve been working at the Severin Lab, I’ve been the first to arrive every day but two, once after being sideswiped by a pickup truck en route and once when I was stuck in the elevator and the lab tech with the sequoia-thick arms had to pry the doors open.
But today, it’s more important than ever to be first.
In the custodian’s wheeled trash can, I spot the plastic cups from the day before, champagne foam dried to fine powder.
I smile a little just thinking about it. A nervous smile.
We’d been summoned to the conference room at five o’clock for the announcement we’d all been waiting for. It was delivered by Dr. Severin in her usual dispassionate tone.
“We’ve received news,” she said, back of her hand smoothing the skunk swoop in her black mane. “Our NIH grant application was successful. Planning will begin immediately.”
As if by magic, Dr. Severin’s assistant arrived with a jumbo bottle of California’s finest and a sleeve of plastic flutes.
We all tried to match Dr. Severin’s cool, but it was a losing battle. Me with my dumb grin. Zell’s face Swedish-fish red. Juwon, unable to stop rocking back on his heels. Even Maxim, reserved and watchful and the most senior of us all, looked like he might weep with joy. We’d all been waiting so long. I can’t pretend my heart didn’t lift like a fist in my chest.
There were toasts, tongue-tied. Here’s to snagging that last fleck of fat on the federal budget!
After one twitchy-mouthed sip of Barefoot Bubbly, Dr. Severin made her excuses and we all drifted back to work, keeping our excitement to ourselves.
I imagined Dr. Severin going home, popping open a bottle of real French champagne with her lover, whoever that was, sliding off her expensive shoes, and tasting sweet victory from one of those special glasses shaped like Marie Antoinette’s breast.
For us, it had been different, all of us heading home to our various postgrad shoeboxes, eating microwaved burritos, hovering over our laptops. All night, we’d engaged in a group-text crop-dust, the announcement like a starter’s pistol firing. The news was the best we could hope for. But now came the big decision: Who among us would be chosen for the research team?
The rumor is there will be only three of us on the grant. Someone saw the staff line on the proposed budget. It’s a collaboration with Neuropsych, which will eat up most of the funds, leaving room for only three postdocs out of a pool of nine. Inside, we were all surely thinking the same thing: It should be me. All of us toiling years in the lab, our necks permanently crooked over microscopes, our faces cadaverous from never seeing the sun. We all felt we’d put our time in, and we all shared one thought: This chance should be mine. All of us, the rest of the day, watching one another over our slide trays, through our Erlenmeyers, our clamped columns of ether. This is mine. I thought it, a lot.
Eh, Alex, the newest among us, teased, who really wants to spend two years delving into the dark heart of PMDD?
We all do, I said. And you know it.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, that’s the subject of the study. A set of symptoms with no agreed-upon cause. Some kind of catastrophic monthly dance between hormones and the feeling and thinking parts of the brain. Striking every month, it’s like PMS only much, much worse. Debilitating mood swings, uncontrollable rage. Abnormal signaling among cells, that’s what scientists only recently discovered. An intrinsic difference in the way these women respond to sex hormones. After decades of doubt about whether it even existed, now science has proven PMDD is not only real, it’s part of the genetic makeup. The women can’t help it, are slaves to it.
Behind their hands, behind their smirks, some of the postdocs call it Hatchet PMS. Medusa Menses. They’re all men except me, and they can’t even talk about it without twisting their mouths or ducking their heads or making Carrie or Lizzie Borden jokes.
But they all want in on the grant. It’s the sexy one, maybe a career-maker. I’ve been waiting for it, working for it so long.
It’s not even seven a.m. when I ride up in the elevator. With the grant news strumming through my head all night, I couldn’t fall asleep and finally gave up trying.
The minute I step off the elevator, I notice the smell.
Hot, sharp, scalding, it gets stronger as I head down the long, frigid hallway, its browning ceiling tiles and peeling plaster, the mausoleum feel.
At first I think it’s some unholy mix of Cheese Nips and the off-brand champagne. But the smell coming from the animal unit is too powerful, powerful enough to feel like a warning.
“Don’t go in the feed room,” a low voice calls out, and it’s Serge, my favorite fellow early-lurker, fluttering like a skipper moth down the hallway toward the colony room.
Serge is the head lab tech: tall, Russian, with a severe jaw and black eyes. Quiet and fastidious and always a little sad. Alex calls him the Cat because he moves so silently—slow, stealthy, his feet never making any sound. Once, over tea in the break room, he told me he took ballet until he was fourteen and his father got a good look at the dance belt he was supposed to wear. He informed me it was time to start looking like a man.
And he smiled that sad Serge smile.
Despite his warning, I can’t help but stop at the door of the feed room, propped open by a biohazard bin.
Coffee cup against my chest, hand over my mouth, I see it, the slick pile of rotting mice on the floor, tumors splitting their violet skin, loose and massing.
There must be a dozen of them.
Serge arrives behind me, the only sound the slight squeak of the lab gloves he’s putting on.
“Watch your head,” Serge says, pointing one long gloved finger to a browning ceiling panel. “There may be more.”
I step back quickly, lifting my eyes to the ceiling tiles, swollen with age, heat, air.
“I don’t think I’ve ever looked up before,” I say. And it’s true. At least, not in a long time.
We walk together, Serge carrying the mice in one of the red biohazard bags.
“At least it wasn’t the ferrets,” I say. We had a pack of them for the gonadal study. All the techs hated them, their heavy musk and screeching.
“These are not our mice,” Serge says. “Ours are secure. And much more refined. These are mutts. Maybe visitors from Panda Garden across the street.”
“Do they really think our feed is better than theirs?” I say, smiling, but inside I’m thinking about the bits and pieces still on the floor. Serge will have to go back with a mop.
“So I guess you heard about the big grant?” I say.
“Oh, yes,” he says. “I can smell it.”
“What?” I pause. “The adrenaline?”
But he merely smiles in that way he has. “Have a good day,” he says, heading toward the animal-waste dock, waving the bag slightly, like a bullfighter’s cape.
When I step inside G-21, Alex is already there, Styrofoam cups in hand, a pouchy-eyed wink.
Alex always brings me a milky second coffee from the Snack Hut. Just like he always has gum in his pocket for me and will join me in my takeout order from the egg-sandwich place. And when Zell makes one of his Mother, you be trypsin puns, or Maxim unpacks his fastidious, girlfriend-prepared bento boxes for lunch, or that time one of Dr. Irwin’s postdocs was spotted walking the old man’s sheepdogs, we share knowing glances.
Alex doesn’t usually come in early, but he often stays late. A few times we’ve found ourselves in the lab alone together close to midnight, both working under the fume hoods, our faces close. We are the only ones who don’t seem to have anyone waiting at home.
“Thanks,” I say now, taking the cup, “early bird.”
A few gulps and I start working, checking my cell cultures under the microscope, then carefully returning every flask to the incubator.
He’s watching, glancing at the newspaper, sipping.
“You are so damn precise,” he says. “The way your hands move. In ascending order, I like to watch you cutting, scraping, tweezing, pipetting.”
“And with my dainty girl hands,” I say. “How could I possibly get them to do such complicated things?”
He leans down closer, his elbow to my elbow alongside our gray coffee. “Don’t take this personally, Kit, but your hands are really big. Did you rassle steer?”
“No steer,” I say. “Only small-handed men.”
“I figured you for one of those 4-H champs on some Kansas prairie. Five brothers and you. Hands like wooden paddles.”
“It’s amazing I can even button my own shirt,” I say, splaying my fingers.
“Sometimes you miss a button,” he replies. “But don’t worry. No one ever notices.”
He’s like that, the strangest kind of flirt, and I love it, used to so much worse, the shoulder-squeezing predations of the older researchers. The fumbles and porn-slicked joking of the postdocs, never sure what to do with females around. When you meet the women in their lives—Maxim’s multilingual, opera-singing girlfriend, Juwon’s dazzling mathematician wife—it becomes more confusing.
Moments later, when Alex has turned back to his coffee, which slaps all over his lab bench when he sets it down, I sneak a look at my hands, palms up. I can’t tell if they’re small or large; they’re just hands, blue-gloved and functioning. But it makes me think about touching him, or him touching me, or something.
Which, I’m sure, was the idea.
In my secret thoughts, I imagine Dr. Severin will pick Alex and me for two of the three slots on the PMDD grant. Together, we’ll devote ourselves to the potentially groundbreaking work that she and her colleagues over in Neuropsych will produce. Together, we’ll toil, head to head, for two years or more. It will fill our days and evenings and inspire and frustrate and impel us. It will be a thing we share. And it is, as Maxim once admitted, the kind of study that can make your career. Make your name.
I think about it a lot because the nights are long and lonely and I’ve always been partial to men like Alex. The ones whose eyes dance when I appear, who so clearly like me but also never bother me about it. Never demand too much from women, least of all from a woman who works sixty hours a week and has the lab hands—rough, scrubbed raw-red—to prove it.
If I didn’t know better, had I never heard the Ivy League ease in his voice—the voice of someone who’d always been listened to, whatever he said, his whole life—I’d think Alex was nearer to one of the boys from back home, the Golden Fry, the speedway, a million years ago. Because he’s easy. Carefree. Or is it careless?
He’s the only one in the lab without a coal-miner cast to his skin, all of us sealed up in there, seldom seeing high noon, our bodies like the skin under an old Band-Aid, puckered and tender.
But not Alex, with his golden skin, a look of striking health.
Give him time, Zell insisted when Alex first started a few months ago. He’s still got blood in his veins.
I always know I like a man if I can’t remember what he looks like when he’s not around. When Alex isn’t here, all I can picture is how tall he is, and how he’s always smiling at me.
There’s the sound of swooping wings in the air just before ten a.m.
It’s Dr. Severin arriving, her coat open, billowing behind her.
“I heard Irwin’s postdocs conspiring in the men’s room,” Juwon says. “They’re angling hard for the PMDD slots. When do we find out?”
“It might be today,” Maxim says, feigning nonchalance. “But it might be next week.”
“It better be soon,” Juwon says, shaking his head. “I’ve been at labs where the longer the wait, the more people start to go crazy.”
“Crazy?” I ask.
Juwon nodded. Maxim did too. I didn’t like the looks in their eyes. I’d heard their tales from other labs, postdocs contaminating each other’s reagents, mislabeling bottles, swapping lids on cell cultures. Labotage.
“There will be blood,” Zell says, grinning widely, nearly swirling his tongue, never tiring of menstruation jokes as long as Dr. Severin isn’t around. But the excessive delicacy and squirminess of the other men, except Alex, is even worse.
The truth is, we all know PMDD’s hot stuff. Rumor is Dr. Severin is closing in on something,
- "The latest thriller from the ever-impressive Megan Abbott....Abbott sows suspense by shifting between past and present, demonstrating how life's earlier acts affect future ones."—Wall Street Journal
- "A spectacular thriller . . . Give Me Your Hand is a nuanced and atmospheric story about the lure of big dreams, especially for women."—NPR's Fresh Air
- "Abbott's trademark elements of darkness in her complex protagonists shine here."—Seattle Review of Books
- "Abbott proves she's still the queen of uncovering the dark complexity of the female psyche with her new novel."—Los Angeles Review of Books
- "Trust the nimble Abbott to elevate this smart page-turner beyond catfight into a tense battle between morality and ambition."—People, Book of the Week
- "[Give Me Your Hand] should cement [Abbott's] position as one of the most intelligent and daring novelists working in the crime genre today."—Ruth Ware, New York Times Book Review
- "Abbott, who always immerses readers in hothouse subcultures in her novels - cheerleading, gymnastics - here explores the relationship between competitive scientists at a cutthroat university laboratory."—New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice
- "[A] nuanced tale of soured friendships, blood-soaked ambition, and desperate murders from Thriller Award-winner Abbott...No writer can touch Abbott in the realm of twisted desire and relationships between women, both intimate and feral."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
- "This is a stellar book...This book is loaded with terrifying brilliance, and it's one of my very favorite Abbott reads for the way it so sharply fuses its setting to its characters and ideas."—Entertainment Weekly
- "In Abbott's deft hands, friendship is fused to rivalry, and ambition to fear, with an unsettling level of believability. It will take more than a cold shower to still the blood thumping in your ears when you finish this."—Kirkus, Starred Review
- "In Give Me Your Hand, Abbott again shows why she's one of our best story tellers"—Associated Press
- "Bloodthirsty"—Family Circle, Best Books of the Summer
- "Once again, Abbott plunges us deep into a vividly realized world of intense competition and creates life-or-death stakes where we wouldn't have known to look for them...this is a brilliant riff on hard science, human nature, and the ultimate unknowability of the human brain."—Booklist, Starred Review
- "it's pure suspense hinging on terrifyingly real characters."—Vulture
- "Abbott writes high school well, and her alternating then/now chapters balance teenage perception and identity with the extreme competition of the adult scientific world."—Newsday
- "Smart, twisty, penetrating - I literally could not put this book down"—Pop Sugar, "The 25 New Books to Put in Your Beach Bag This Summer"
- "This is Megan Abbott at her very best. Cool, crisp, chilling."—Paula Hawkins, author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Girl on the Train
- "A white-hot look at the ways in which envy perverts ambition, and our secrets make us sick, Give Me Your Hand is the ultimate unsettling read of the summer."—Nylon
- "It will take more than a cold shower to still the blood thumping in your ears when you finish this."—Kirkus
- "Few writers get at the dark corners of the female psyche like Megan Abbott"—Los Angeles Times
- "Give Me Your Hand is further proof that Megan Abbott is the 21st century's answer to Patricia Highsmith--she has that uncanny insight into the dark and treacherous depths of the human heart."—Dan Chaon, bestselling author of Ill Will
- "SO. GOOD. A tense, pitch-perfect thriller about ambition and female friendship and a forensic examination of what it takes for women to rise through male-dominated spaces. It felt in places like a dark inversion of The Secret History."—Erin Kelly, author of He Said/She Said
- "Give Me Your Hand is dark, smart, twisty, and thoroughly addictive. No one maps the thrilling and sometimes dangerous intensity of female friendships better than Megan Abbott."—Tom Perotta, bestselling author of Mrs. Fletcher and Little Children
- "While Megan Abbott's magnetic new novel mines themes of ambition, competition, excellence, and friendship, what perhaps struck me the most was its exploration of the long, undeterrable reach of memory. Give Me Your Hand is darkly effective, uneasy-making, and beautifully, absorbingly written."—Meg Wolitzer, bestselling author of The Interestings and The Female Persuasion
- "Megan Abbott manages to be a master of suspense, a gifted literary novelist, and a brilliant voice on gender, power, and obsession, all at once. Give Me Your Hand is mesmerizing."—J. Courtney Sullivan, bestselling author of Saints for All Occasions and Mine
PRAISE FOR YOU WILL KNOW ME:
"[Abbott] is in top form in this novel. She resumes her customary role of black cat, opaque and unblinking, filling her readers with queasy suspicion at every turn."
—Jennifer Senior, New York Times
"...brilliant...beneath the glittering carapace of Abbott's lush, skillful, subtle writing, it's impossible to know what we're supposed to think. One of the strengths of this novel is that it doesn't mind what we believe--it is cooly at peace with whatever our take on matters might be...we, as readers, are made entirely responsible for our own theories and conclusions. In that sense, this is an exceptionally plausible work of fiction...The wrong kind of ambiguity in a crime novel can be fatal. Abbott judges it impeccably here..all of this Abbott pulls off with groundbreaking skill...excellent."
—Sophie Hannah, New York Times Book Review
- "Taut and raw, this is a mesmerizing story from a master of suspense."—Kim Hubbard, People
- "Compulsively creepy...a can't-put-it down novel that's a little bit Nancy Kerrigan vs. Tonya Harding, a little bit The Omen."—Leigh Haber, Oprah.com
- "It's Abbott's psychological smarts that make You Will Know Me such a standout...Abbott steadily commands our attention with a suspense plot that unexpectedly somersaults and back flips whenever a landing seems in sight."—Maureen Corrigan, Washington Post
- "Megan Abbott has written a book with the taut and muscular ruthlessness of a gymnast, a book that disorients with eerie countermelodies...You Will Know Me takes swift, unsettling, apparently effortless flight."—Annalisa Quinn, NPR.org
- "Abbott's finest novel thus far, a dark inquest into the pressures to which American society subjects its girls."—Charles Finch, USA Today
"Master of mystery Abbott...brings her noir sensibility to the world of elite teen gymnastics."
"Abbott commands our attention with a plot that somersaults and back flips whenever a safe landing seems in sight. But what's even more ingenious is how artfully her novel draws us readers into that closed world of BelStars Gym...You Will Know Me is a terrific accompaniment to this summer's Olympic frenzy. It's an all-around winner."
—Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air
- "Almost unbearably tense, chilling and addictive, You Will Know Me deftly transports the reader to the hyper-competitive arena of gymnastics where the dreams and aspirations of not just families but entire communities rest on the slender shoulders of one teenage girl. Exceptional."—Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train
- "Is there anything Megan Abbott can't do? We will have to wait for the answer to that question because You Will Know Me continues her formidable winning streak. This story of an ordinary family with an extraordinary child is gorgeously written, psychologically astute, a page-turner that forces you to slow down and savor every word. And yes--please forgive me--she totally sticks the landing."—Laura Lippman, New York Times bestselling author of Hush Hush
- "Megan Abbott's latest thriller plunges readers into the shockingly realistic life of young, female gymnasts whose severely regulated lives come with unthinkable consequences. Gritty, graphic, and yet beautiful and dreamlike in the way the story unfolds, You Will Know Me comes barreling at you with all the power and urgency of a high-speed train, as Abbott asserts herself as one of the greatest crime writers of our time."—Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl
"If, then, you are secretly craving a modicum of drama to go with your women's gymnastics, you should read Megan Abbott's leotard-centric You Will Know Me...the style of her prose, and her focus on teen-age desire, ambition, and secrecy, have a broad, cinematic appeal."
—Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker
- "Un-put-down-able."—Billy Heller, New York Post
- On Sale
- Jul 2, 2019
- Page Count
- 352 pages
- Back Bay Books