Ca-reep-y! I 'm sure I said after reading Dare Me and I'll say it again. Megan Abbott gets teenage girls. The recklessness, the self-involvement, the teenage-girlishness. The main characters are two thirteen-year-old girls. There's Lizzie, who lives with her older brother and divorced mother. No Dad in the picture. Her mother does have a new beau who visits her late at night, sneaking in and out while the kids (supposedly) sleep. He's not part of Lizzie's life. Evie lives next door. They've been best friends forever. Evie has an older sister Dusty, a father who adores Dusty and pretty much ignores Evie, and a distant, practically invisible Mom. The two girls walking that tightrope, not little girls anymore but not quite women. They've lost one role but haven't gained a new one. This story is about how the girls handle being in this very difficult place.
It's all about flirtations between teens and adults. Figuring out who has the power. Actually, it reminds me of a book I read recently, The Hummingbirds by Joshua Gaylord, who just happens to be Abbott's husband. So, anyway, I remember being thirteen. Once, one of my father's friends drove me home from a party and there was definitely something flirty going on. Another thing. It was always a little uncomfortable when the dad would walk me home after a babysitting gig. He'd often be at least a little tipsy. Never let the dad take the babysitter home!!!!! I definitely had a crush on my friend's father. He was so handsome. I'm sure he knew about the crush but he was never anything other than fatherly so it never got creepy. But it can, it does. And it did in this book.
The whole time I was reading, I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. There was just this pervasive feeling of ickyness. Okay, we know something bad is going on, but is something worse going to happen? Abbott kept me glued to the pages late at night 'til I was done. I just* had to finish it. I love that feeling. Well done Megan Abbott! But then I was done...now what?
* this has nothing to do with the story but when I just typed "just" auto-correct changed it to Ustinov! I Ustinov had to finish it!
Well done auto-correct! That sounds so much more insistent.