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Edgar Award-winner Abbott dives into a gut-churning tale of revenge, power, desire, and friendship in the insular world of high school cheerleading, in her latest (after The End of Everything). Addy Hanlon, 16, has always been second lieutenant, "fidus Achates," to her best friend Beth, who's pep squad captain. But when a new coach flippantly removes Beth from power and takes Abby as her confidante, Beth turns vengeful. The new coach transforms the squad, changing it from a costumed clique to a competitive team and earning the cheerleaders' adulation, but the squad's development has a darker side: eating disorders, rivalries, cruelty, and the blurring of lines between student and adult. The coach has a darker side, too, and Abby is drawn into her secrets, including a troubled marriage. A shocking turn sends everyone spiraling wildly-and traps Abby in the middle. Abbott's writing in her sixth novel is deliciously slick and dark, matching her characters' threatening circumstances, and the plot is tight and intense, building a world in which even the perky flip of a cheerleader's skirt holds menace. "There's something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls," one character says. Indeed. Agent: Dan Conaway, Writers House. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Abbott's (The End of Everything) new novel takes readers behind the glitter and pom-poms of a varsity cheerleading squad to explore the dark undercurrents of high school girls. Captain Beth Cassidy, her first lieutenant Addy Hanlon, and the rest of the squad are upended when their school hires a new cheerleading coach. Sleek and knowing, Coach Collette French slices through their bravado and turns the girls into true athletes rather than merely "cheerlebrities." This results in an atmosphere in which some alpha girls falter, while others rise through the ranks. But the coach's relationship with the girls outside of school drags them into a very adult world of romantic entanglements, culminating in a shocking crime that threatens them all. VERDICT Abbott has a keen sense for the beauty, danger, and vulnerability of teenage girls; her spare, elegant prose cuts straight to the heart of the high school pecking order and brings the girls' world to life. Recommended for readers who enjoy dramatic stories about female relationships; it may also appeal to mature young adult readers. [See Prepub Alert, 1/21/12; seven-city tour.]-Amy Hoseth, Colorado State Univ. Lib., Fort Collins (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* The full range of human experience from joy, love, and lust to greed, betrayal, and despair can be expressed in any activity, so why not cheerleading? In this terrific novel, Abbott (an Edgar winner for Queenpin, 2007) takes a plot that seems torn from the headlines and transforms it into Shakespearean tragedy with friendship bracelets. Narrator Addy Hanlon is lieutenant to ruthless cheer-captain Beth Cassidy, and together they rule their high-school cheerleading squad until the arrival of Coach French, who coolly upends the power structure while letting the girls drink at her house. Addy's in, Beth is out, but Addy's in for more than she bargained, and Beth, an unforgettable villain, lashes back with stunning ferocity. As the cheerleaders train for the final game like Spartan warriors with eating disorders, there is a death, there is a mystery, and its unravelings seem to implicate everyone. Much of the novel's power comes from the way Abbott captures the fierce urgency of the teenagers' emotional lives. Living in an insular world where adults, boys, and other students are largely nonentities, they're glib about the abuse done to their bodies and psyches, living only for halftime. This is cheerleading as blood sport, Bring It On meets Fight Club just try putting it down.--Graff, Keir Copyright 2010 Booklist