Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

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Publish Date: July 17, 2018

You don’t have a self until you have a secret.” — Give Me Your Hand

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Kit Owens harbored only modest ambitions for herself when the mysterious Diane Fleming appeared in her high school chemistry class. But Diane’s academic brilliance lit a fire in Kit, and the two developed an unlikely friendship. Until Diane shared a secret that changed everything between them.

More than a decade later, Kit thinks she’s put Diane behind her forever and she’s begun to fulfill the scientific dreams Diane awakened in her. But the past comes roaring back when she discovers that Diane is her competition for a position both women covet, taking part in groundbreaking new research led by their idol. Soon enough, the two former friends find themselves locked in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse that threatens to destroy them both.

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Everyone always likes the best, wants the most, admires deeply, the girl who’s just out of reach. The girl no one can touch, really. We don’t know why we’re drawn, but it’s unstoppable.” — Give Me Your Hand

Diane Fleming is that friend for Kit Owens. We all have one of them. This is the friend that takes advantage of you, manipulates you, makes you feel inferior, and worst of all, gets you in trouble. And even with all of this, you can’t stay away.  She is your magnetic friend that can charm anyone into doing anything, especially you. Who comes to mind for you?

Female friendships can be especially complicated especially when unresolved hurt feelings mixed in with rivalry, resentment, jealousy, and bitterness. Because of their long history, there are ups and many downs in the friendship between Kit and Diane.

What is the secret that Diane shares with Kit? Why does Diane’s secret affect Kit so badly? The premise lured me right into the story immediately, had me reading until I found out, and kept me riveted post-secret sharing.

You must never be fearful when what you’re doing is right.” – Marie Curie

Megan Abbott spins a complex, dark tale about twisted female friendships and competitiveness. She gets inside the minds of messed up teenage girls who grow up to become women harboring grudges. This book is also a peek into what it’s like for women in scientific academia. Women must prove themselves tough and smart with fierce competition from chauvinistic men. The PMDD tidbits are very interesting; it brings “menstrual rage” to a whole new level. I was hoping for more in-depth details to be shed on this subject, but it was only touched on briefly.

Sometimes it feels like life’s about understanding how much opposites meet. Kill to cure, poison to immunize, sacrifice to save.” — Give Me Your Hand

My rating: 4 of 5 stars 4 Stars

Give Me Your Hand is an excellent psychological thriller full of dark, complex characters and I enjoyed it. I liked it even better than Megan Abbott’s previous book, You Don’t Know Me. This one was darker, a tad bloodier, and really put the microscope on the delicate balance of female friendships/rivalry. I recommend it!

2 thoughts

  1. I liked this one, but not as much as her debut (I think it was), Dare Me. That one bowled me over. I didn’t get the same level of tension from this one. I appreciated the frenemies aspect of it, but, like you, I wanted to hear more about PMDD. I really appreciate how Abbott touches on this biological components of being female and how they’re used against us, so I wanted more!

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