You Will Know Me

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 11 Oct 2017

Member Reviews

Megan Abbott's 'You Will Know Me'  centres around the intricate lives of the Knox family. Their sole purpose in life revolves around their daughter. It is a tale of iron-willed ambition, obsession and power, at whatever cost! 

At least mum (Katie), and dad (Eric) are totally driven to support their eldest daughter (Devon), who excels in her field of gymnastics. She must become an Olympic champion and everyone must realise this! There is a younger son (Drew), although he scarcely figures at all.

The fact that a hit and run mystery is embroiled in the plot actually highlights so many issues with this family and in their close knit gym community. Is it natural to behave as they do or are they dysfunctional? Does Devon display 'normal' teenage behaviour? Lies and deceit prevail.

Megan Abbott's style of writing certainly adds to the underlying tension throughout, but I felt that the ending was rather an anti-climax with a few unresolved threads.


Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review.
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This is first book I have read by this author, so I don’t know if it is typical - I was expecting more of a straight crime novel, which is hardly the author’s fault.

It is set in the world of teenage girls’ gymnastics in the US, and the descriptions were simultaneously far too detailed, strangely gripping, and all-too-convincing: Abbott plainly really knows her stuff. The Knox family has completely given itself over to pushing Devon onwards - she is almost 16, and could be capable of going all the way to the Olympics. There are crushing descriptions of the way these plans eat up money, time, family life. But there is also a whole community of other young girls involved at the gym, girls who are much less talented, and their families too. And yet - everyone will benefit if Devon succeeds, the gym will become more important and exclusive and luxurious, and its owner will make more money.
The rising tide lifts all boats… 
And so the bitchy, gossipy parents all work to raise money, they get drunk together and behave indiscreetly. And they all know that it’s important not to rock that ever-rising boat.

When someone dies in a hit and run accident, the main consideration seems to be that practice sessions shouldn’t be affected. But the death is going to have complex implications…

Any experienced crime reader won’t have any trouble passing through two false trails to work out what actually happened (most unusually, I felt irritated by the slowness of people to realize what was going on). And the final resolution was ruthless and quite shocking, but rather believable.

There’s a portentous tone, a lack of humour and charm - it would be interesting to see what Liane Moriarty (writing about similar milieux in Australia) would make of this material. And the details of life of the gymnasts made me rather queasy. (and also confused – when I read ‘When I saw that Yurchenko, my heart almost stopped’ I assumed this was a rival gymnast looking too good. But actually it is an important vault move, though it was originally named after a gymnast.)

I did laugh at the ‘sleek purple jacket… called a Glamorak’, though apparently this is a common term. And the best bit of the book described a visit away for the whole club, and how it ended in a row between two people:
An hour later, all the Belstars and booster chaperones looked on from their balconies at the Ramada as Hailey and Ryan, resplendent as a pair of movie stars, bucked and brawled down by the pool… 
I could have done with more of that kind of thing.

But one amazon reviewer of this book made a very helpful comment:
Abbot does creeping unease very well, imbuing a sense of wrongness in her narrative, even though the denouement is easy to see from way off, despite the careful placing of red herrings. But we don't read Abbott for her crime plots: once again she succeeds in plumbing dark female sensibilities, probing issues of love and dependency, erotic possession and freedom. 
- and that seemed like a good description.

A very interesting writer. And a memorable writer. I will not be looking at young female gymnasts in the same way…

My friend Bernadette at Reactions to Reading has also reviewed this book. Paula Daly’s highly enjoyable The Trophy Child also looked at over-achieving children and the dynamics of their families.
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Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book as an arc.
The story focuses on the Knox family, Devon is an aspiring elite gymnast, whose aim is to make the Olympic team. Her parents Katie and Eric have spent their lives enabling Devon to achieve her dream to the detriment of everything and everyone else, even their younger son Drew. When a young man involved with the gymnastics club is killed in a hit and run, the motivations of everyone involved with the club are examined and there is certainly a whodunnit thriller aspect to the storyline. However, I felt the book fell a bit flat due to everything being focused on Devon with everyone else being deemed unimportant as long as her dream - or her family's dream - being achieved. None of the characters were particularly likeable apart from Drew, he was the only one seeing clearly throughout. I did enjoy the book but I didn't love it.
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Ive not read any other titles by this author but enjoyed this one. I will definately be reading her other books. However, i didnt really care for many of the characters in this story, it is an eye opener into the world of competitive gymnastics. Dont want to give any of the twists of the story away. Recommend 📚
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This is another new author to me and, after finishing this book, another author whose back catalogue has gone on my, oh so long, tbr.
I do have to admit to getting a bit confused initially with the characters as there are a lot introduced at the beginning quite quickly. So, I made a couple of notes which were soon discarded when they all started to become clear as the story went on and I learned more about them. 
The story follows the story of Devon, a young gymnast, and her journey to become an elite athlete. I neither know anything about nor care about the world of gymnastics but I do recognise and can appreciate the fight for attaining a goal in life so I found the premise of the book easy to follow and understand. Especially around the sacrifices made by her parents. We centre around the death of a young man and the effect it has on the gymnastics community. How it divides them, splits them off, changes allegiances and also how the tragedy impacts certain characters on a deeper level. All the time the investigation into what happened that night is being investigated. As a reader, you know there is something but initially there are quite a few suspects so I did have a bot of trouble trying to unravel it all so I just gave up and went with the flow. I did, after a few false starts, eventually get there, just before the big reveal and, yes, I did kick myself for not having worked it out earlier but, there we are!
Characterisation was good. I really didn't warm to Devon but I don;t think she is the sort to be able to warm to. She did tend to come across as a bit of a robot at times, although as the book went on, there were glimpses into the real her. Her parents were also a bit strange too, practically living their lives vicariously through their daughter. I did really like Devon's brother. The cards he was dealt with having Devon as his sister and the way he just threw himself into what he enjoyed to try and make himself a life outside the gymnastics world showed the strength of character he really had and this in itself shone through at the end. An ending that I am sure will split book club discussions. 
Pacing was good and there was just the right balance of gymnastic stuff and mystery to keep me reading on. 
Although not really lighting my fire completely, this was a very well written, good solid read that held my attention nicely throughout.

My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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Absolutely devoured this book as it sucked me in from the first page.  Did not see the end coming either which made me appreciate the writing and plot even more.  Highly recommend - 4 stars
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I'm afraid I wasn't able to finish this book. I ploughed through half of it but found it very slow.
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Very much enjoyed this book based around the lives of a family with a teenage daughter, Devon who is on course to be a top level, elite gymnast.  Mum, Katie and Dad, Eric have made sacrifices a plenty to ensure Devon remains on track to achieve her potential.  But a tragic death within the tight knit gymnastic community rocks their world.  We follow Katie as she slowly discovers more truths and shocking facts about the mystery surrounding the death and we begin to realise just how far the family are prepared to go to ensure that Devon remains on track to reach her Olympic goal.
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I have read alot of Meg Abbott books previously, so I was very excited to have the opportunity to read this fantastic book. I was hooked on this one, as I jave been on so many of her other books. This book had great suspense and excitement
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Thank you Netgalley and the Publisher.  Absolutely brilliant book have not read anything from this author before and will certainly recommend to other people.  Great book
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Katie and Eric have poured all their energy into Devon, their teenage gymnast daughter. She's in with a shot at the Olympics, and she's the envy of all the other gymnasts. Everything is going according to plan until tragedy strikes the community, and someone they all know and care about is killed. The rumour mill goes into overdrive, and Katie feels her daughter's dream slipping away, swallowed up by events, she needs to decide how far she's willing to go in order to stop the slide, save her daughters future, and work out who she can trust.

This is a great example of how dark and twisty a domestic situation can be as a story. No need for serial killers and guns blazing. Middle-class America is a different kind of creepy here when you peel back the layers. You start asking yourself how far you'd go if it was your child's dreams and ambitions at stake. Really enjoyed it and would happily add Megan Abbott to my TBR pile in future!
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You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott was a thriller about trying to succeed in the competitive sport of Gymnastics. I found this book hard to read as the characters were so unlikeable. I was amazed at the pressure put on these children to get to the top of their field. I would like to thank NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
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An interesting book,an insight into the world of gymnastics, the pressures and the pains. It doesn't portray a pretty picture but the actual story was one of family life revolving around one child and the things we will do to ensure her success.
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A tiger mum and a family with questionable morals. I thought this book would be better and I was disappointed by the ending. I disagreed with the ending. This book is about wanting to do the best for your kids. But there is doing your best, there is pushy tiger and then there is this and I do not agree with it.
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This book was OK but unfortunately I found it rather slow going and it never picked up pace. I didn't find it much of a mystery or thriller but was readable.
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I really enjoyed reading this book. The story is well told, and gripped me almost instantly. I really wanted to know it was going to end, how everything was going to tie itself up into a neat, tidy, finished piece. I wasn't disappointed, and I am now going to look at buying more books by Megan Abbott, because her writing style is one I really enjoy.
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Told from the perspective of a mother named Katie, You Will Know Me is all about the lengths that parents will go to for their children. Katie's daughter Devon is on the verge of becoming a Senior Elite athlete and making the Olympics, which is all she's dreamed of since the age of three. Her other child, Drew, is quiet and goes along with the family chaos that surrounds Devon and Katie's husband Eric is more dedicated to Devon's future than anybody. When a young boy at the gym who everyone likes suddenly dies, the bubbly world of gymnastics takes a dark and sinister turn.

Once more, Megan Abbott proves herself to be the master of tension. Katie's underlying suspicions grow and like any good thriller, you're left guessing for most of the novel until a vicious twist sends you reeling. I absolutely loved reading about the world of gymnastics, as someone who used to compete at a low level. The surface level happiness and the inner fears, anxieties and determination create breath-taking characters. Gwen was such a gym mum in the absolute worst way and I both felt bad for her and hated her at the same time. That's what gymnastics is - so confusing that you just keep moving forward.

Unlike Abbott's other thrillers, You Will Know Me focuses more on the adults' perspectives. Katie is both analysing the situation and her husband, Eric, who she both trusts and speculates about. The family dynamic becomes full of lies until Katie doesn't know who to believe. I found myself second guessing everyone and reading more into recollections than normal because memories were portrayed as weak and fragmented. Creating a novel that is both so easy to read, yet so entirely gripping is a startling achievement that Abbott succeeds in with flair.

I've actually read You Will Know Me twice and the second time around I could see all of the clues leading to the final twist. That didn't make the novel any less powerful, though, and if anything the story became more horrifying. The contrasts that Abbott can create are startling and the progression of all of her novels put me on edge. I can't wait to see what she has in store for her next release in 2018 and in the meantime I'm continuing to hope that someone has the sense to transform You Will Know Me into a TV mini series. That would be epic.
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Excellent book.  Great storyline and characters.  A real page turner.   I would recommend this book.
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Okay, wow. I'd heard a lot about Megan Abbott's work, her ability to tap into the dark recesses of teenager girls' minds, to probe those places that adults want to pretend don't exist. I knew about Dare Me and The Fever and even You Will Know Me, but I never felt drawn to reading them. I read The Girls and Girls on Fire last year, but in light of this book, I almost feel that I should revise those rating, because You Will Know Me blows them right out of the water. There might actually be something to all the Abbott hype after all. 

Devon Knox is a gymnastics prodigy, the centre of her parents' Eric and Katie's lives. Everything they do is consumed by the need to see Devon succeed: all the practices, all the work, all the money and the second mortgage, all that ambition and desire and drive encapsulated in one teenager's extraordinary body. There are no lengths they wouldn't go to for her. But then a violent hit-and-run accident leads to an investigation and the lid is blown right off this can of worms. What's inside is a twisted world of secrets and lies and mystery, of things sacrificed and left unspoken, of marriages that hang on by a thread. How well do you truly know your daughter and what is she really keeping from you? 

Where do I even start with this? The plot is full of twists and surprises, a tightly-wound coil that you need to make heads and tails of. It kept me on the edge of my seat, wanting to know what would happen next, always what would happen next. I was enthralled by Abbott's ability to tap into the idea of small town politics, the way the booster parent clique operated, each portrayed in brush strokes that nevertheless made them come alive. All mothers with dreams, grand dreams for their daughters, with the same goal in mind: to become elite, to become part of the national team, to be an Olympian. Katie, in contrast, seems almost to hold back a bit, to want Devon to want these things, while at the same time ignoring her younger son Drew (who sees more than he lets on, who keeps being dismissed and overshadowed by his sister's brilliance, who made my heart ache with tenderness). Eric, on the other hand, is able to deftly organise fundraisers and meets, always finding ways to make money for the gym, to bring in the best equipment, to ensure that Devon is never distracted by anything.

That’s what parenthood was about, wasn’t it? Slowly understanding your child less and less until she wasn’t yours anymore but herself.

At the core of this novel is Devon, sixteen and in the throes of teenage years, a strange mesh of woman and child, her body pounded by years of hard discipline. Abbott wastes no time in portraying that effect, the strength in her limbs and the fluidity of movement, the broken calloused palms and the taunts that follow her, the petty comments from other teenagers, reducing Devon to nothing more than her body. But she's also somehow outside of the narrative for large parts of it, the reader never truly allowed inside her head. Instead, we see Devon through Katie's eyes, through Eric's reactions, through Coach T and the booster parents, the rest of the gymnasts, someone wholly out of this world, someone they all want to live through vicariously. She is everything to them, which means she can't be the one thing in the world she actually is: a teenage girl. 

Abbott's real skill though is in her ability to go beneath the surface, to get inside the world of teenage girls and to treat them like actual fleshed out humans, rather than just a butt of adult jokes. It is, it transpires, a world very much like the adult one, with jealousy and self-esteem issues, with sex and drama and desire, all interwoven with that level of ambition rarely seen outside professional sports. These girls are real and they are just as flawed as I remember myself being, just as intense, when everything truly was beautiful and nothing hurt. Abbott is able to expose those dark parts of ourselves, those hidden nooks and crannies, in ways that reminded me of Gillian Flynn. I was hooked from the beginning and at no point (not even the book's poor formatting would smash entire sentences together) did I feel I want to stop. It was intense and thrilling and very, very real. 

Ultimately, the plot and the accident/hit-and-run/maybe murder, that's just the catalyst for the real story that Abbott wants to tell. Her ability to make everything seem sharp and focused, to paint a vivid picture and keep you guessing up until the end is not to be understated. As a rule, thrillers either really capture me (the Flynn phenomenon) or I find them stodgy and uninteresting (the B.A. Paris problem). Abbott definitely falls into that first category and I will be looking into her past works in the near future.
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A frightening journey of obsession and the lengths one family is prepared to go to when something threatens to destroys their dreams.
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