Cover Image: Give Me Your Hand

Give Me Your Hand

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Member Reviews

3.5 Stars!

Dark secrets embedded in a totally unique thriller... 

Most teenagers have secrets they share with friends. There is nothing unusual about that, but this secret is so dark that it threatens to change the course of two lives.  Thankfully none of my high school friends shared any secrets that gave me nightmares. Kit is haunted by the secret Diane shared with her (she did what?!!). She wants to rid herself of it, but the cat is out of the bag.

I loved the "Then" and "Now" format as we learn about the two high school friends, Kit and Diane and the past they shared.  Fast forward ten years and Kit is the only female working in a prestigious lab. That is until her old pal Diane walks through the door! ( Oh god no, not her!) This is when things start to go crazy!   

This novel has a bit of all the genres. Some science with the laboratory setting and the research going on (even mice make an appearance), a bit of a YA feel with the high school rivalry, part thriller and maybe even a tad touch of horror. Yes, a fine wine.

I thought this one was a fast read and well paced, but not my favorite.  I did set my believability factor aside to fully enjoy this one.  I'm looking forward to reading another book by this author because her writing was just so engaging.
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I have read several books by the author in the past and was excited when I saw this upcoming book. Give Me Your Hand is a story about secrets and what happens when you try to keep them quiet; they eventually always come out. So this story is told during two different times; one is currently and the other is in high school. Kit and Diane meet during Chemistry class in high school, where Kit doesn't really have too many ambitions for her life, where as Diane does. The two girls soon form an unlikely friendship, until Diane shares a secret with Kit that changes their entire relationship. About 10 years later, Kit feels that she had finally put Diane in her past and she is starting to fulfill her dreams of being a scientist. Her past comes back to haunt her when she finds out that Diane is also trying to get the same position that Kit covets; taking part in groundbreaking new research led by their idol. Soon the two former friends find them themselves once again in a position where their competition between each other might cause destruction.

I found this book to be different from of the authors previous books such as Dare Me and You Will Know Me which both focus mainly on girls during the teenage years. Give Me Your Hand gives us this aspect but also gives us a look at the characters when they meet again as adults. I feel that Abbott has a unique writing style that truly get into the complex minds of teenage girls and all of their many emotions and thoughts. Overall, I enjoyed this book, as it has some of the writing styles and themes from her previous books, but also gave us  new perspective when looking at Kit and Diane as adults.

Thank you to the publisher, Little Brown and Company, for sending me an ARC of this book.
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The psychological unravelling was hard to experience, but very interesting to read. A great suspenseful look at friendship, rivalry and secrets.
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Kit is a scientist on the brink of achieving career success when the sudden appearance of an old friend throws everything into chaos.  Kit knows Diane is a brilliant scientist but she also knows her secrets--and some of them are terrifying.  As the past encroaches on the present, Kit  begins to suspect that her life is in danger.
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I was generously offered an ARC of this book by Netgalley in exchange for an objective review. 

Megan Abbott is one of those rare authors who manages to do many things equally well. Over the years, I've read  her books which range from riffs on classic pulp noir to stories of high school backbiting to elegant and twisted mysteries. Everything she writes maintains her signature style despite the genre. Give me Your Hand is no exception. As always, the writing is top-notch and the story moves along at a brisk clip. Abbott explores the nuances of female friendship, co-working relationships, competition and the weight of secrets. Her chosen backdrop (though it's more important than a backdrop really, almost a character itself) is an esteemed research  lab. This setting felt very relevant and contemporary, providing a glimpse into the lives of several women working in the STEM field. What I like best about Abbott's book, and this one in particular, is that you really don't know where you're going when you start just go. At times, you're not sure why you're still following these characters through their story but you absolutely can't turn away. And then, BAM. There comes a reason that reveals why you've invested yourself in the story and now you simply can't rest until you reach the end.
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DNF at 40%

I have tried to like Megan Abbott's writing. I feel like I should like it. I just don't. This is the 3rd novel I have picked up. I really should have liked the last one since I've always loved gymnastics. This just is not my jam. It's a lot of other peoples' style and That is fine. It's just not mine. Sorry. I promise I wanted to like it.
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A special thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Kit Owens and Diane Fleming have a complicated past.  Before Diane transferred into her high school chemistry class, Kit was just a regular student.  Diane's brilliance pushed Kit, and the two became friends—that is until Diane confessed a chilling secret to Kit that changed everything between them and almost derailed Kit's life.   
Fast forward more than a decade and Kit is a scientist working in a lab.  Her past collides with her work when she learns that Diane Fleming is her competition for a highly coveted opportunity to work on a groundbreaking new study led by their idol, Dr. Severin.  The two former friends find themselves once again vying to get noticed, only this time, they share a secret that could derail everything that they have worked so hard for.   

Abbott is a master with imagery.  The theme of blood is prevalent, both in the colour red and subject matter.  I enjoyed reading about the PMDD study and the hysteria that ensues as a result.  This makes for interesting subject matter as well as an interesting premise. 

The girls have such an complicated dynamic that blurs between friendship and rivalry—an interesting relationship to explore in today's climate where successful women are often pitted against one another.  Abbot further examines this by illustrating how difficult it is for a woman to succeed in a male-dominated field like the sciences.  Her character study is amazing.  Diane is a complete sociopath that oddly captivates everyone she comes in contact with, including the reader.     

It was dark and twisty with just enough suspense that is built by consequence.  Abbot does not reveal her hand, she plays her cards one at a time, her pace is spot-on!  The writing is tight, she leaves nothing to the imagination which is refreshing.   

This was a thrilling page-turner and I could totally see this being adapted into a movie.  Congratulations, Megan, on another master of a thriller.  Well done!
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I don't know if it's possible to love Megan Abbott more than I already do. Her writing is always stunning and absorbing. Her depictions of the raw mysteries of girlhood and womanhood are second to none. Give Me Your Hand doesn't disappoint and I look forward to her next, as always.
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I truly wanted to enjoy Give Me Your Hand; I wouldn't have requested Abbott's latest had I thought I wouldn't be intrigued and fascinated by it. Despite my initial interest, my connection to young Kit and Diane as well as their adult lives felt thin. I can typically finish a book of this length in a day or two because I can't put it down until the drama gets resolved; it took about a week to read Give Me Your Hand and I'm not surprised. The secondary characters aren't rounded out enough for the readers to truly grapple with what their deaths signify. The "surprises" which get revealed towards the end, I had already figured out from the beginning. This would've been better as an episode of television.
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A gripping and intense novel about female friendships, murder, and what it takes for women to succeed.
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If you have read and enjoyed books by Megan Abbott (author of The Fever, Dare Me, and You Will Know Me among others), then Give Me Your Hand is a sure bet. Like all of Abbott’s other books, this one focuses on the subtleties of female relationships and their dark undercurrents. It also uses her trademark sharp and precise prose. The novel follows Kit Owens, an ambitious scientist, who learns that her former BFF/rival, Diane, will be soon be working at her lab. When they were seventeen, Diane told Kit a secret that tore apart their friendship. Now that they have once again crossed paths, this secret threatens to overwhelm Kit. Then something awful happens at the lab that binds Kit and Diane even closer together – and ratchets up the tension. Give Me Your Hand is an intense, absorbing novel that unfortunately fell a bit flat at the end. Still, it’s worth a look for Abbott fans like me.
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How well do you know someone else? How well do you want to?

Kit and Diane meet at a high school running camp, and the girls bring out the best in each other on the track. When Diane transfers to Kit's high school, the girls begin working together, pushing each other academically in search of a scholarship. 

Finding solace in Kit and remembering a secret shared at running camp, Diane shares her own secret and the friendship ends. 

Now adults, the woman find themselves in the same lab vying for a research position. 

Megan Abbott does a nice job building the mystery and keeping the story moving, although I did find some of Kit's actions as an adult a little unbelievable. 

All in all, this was a good story, well-written and a fun read.
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After two long years, Megan Abbott is back with another excellent book in Give Me Your Hand. Lately, her books have focused on modern teenagers but this time the book focuses on the interactions of two women, partly when they are teenagers but mostly as current day professional scientists.  

As teenagers, Diane Fleming is the smartest one in their school, but she and Katherine, “Kit” Owens are friends that push each other to be the best. They both compete for Valedictorian of the school and a special science-based college scholarship. However, Diane tells Kit a story that shocks and scares her so much she stops being friends with Diane.  When Diane later shows up at the same lab where Kit works, Kit’s not sure what to do about what she knows about Diane, especially since they are again competing, this time for a special project led by Dr. Severin, the same woman who sponsored the college scholarship they both tried to get in high school.  During some afterhours alcohol induced condition, she decides to confide in a co-worker, which she later regrets.  When Diane finds out that Kit told someone, the tension increases to another level.

What I found the most interesting in this book is Megan Abbott’s ability to show the sides of three different women and how they deal with difficult situations.  In Diane, you have a woman who is obviously not normal and acts in ways that most people would agree is wrong. However, it’s the actions of the other two women, Kit and Dr. Severin, that Megan makes you think about more.  Are their actions appropriate? How would you act in the same situation?  It’s the actions of these two women that still haunt me weeks after reading the book.

I did not know anything about Megan Abbott when I met her in 2008 at Bouchercon.  Since her book Queenpin was up for an Anthony, I bought it and had it signed.  She’s so nice in person and very impressive when she speaks on panels and her success has not changed her.  I’ve since read all her books and she’s become one of my favorite authors.

Thanks to Netgalley and Little Brown and Company for an ebook copy of this book in exchange for this honest review.
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A psychological thriller about 2 friends who meet in high school and then again through work when they are in their 20’s.
Kit and Diane were best of friends when they met until Diane told Kit the most horrible secret about her.
When they meet again through work, the competition between them starts again and they find themselves in a dangerous game that might just destroy them both.
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Megan Abbott's books are entertaining because of the at constant feeling of something more going on than you realize at the time. I love how things are revealed and how her characters are developed. Give Me Your Hand is no exception, in fact, I think it might be my favorite one yet. I love when I couldn't have predicted the next twist.
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Meh. This book wasn't nearly as intriguing or fun to read as Megan Abbott's previous novels. In fact, I struggled to get through this one. The first half of the book is like wading through an endless morass of laboratory background and post-doc politics. By the time you get to something happening, you just don't care anymore.
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I enjoyed the book as it rambled back and forth between the present and the past. You could see the character developing an unstable relationship with a high school friend. It had a very suspenseful ending. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes thrillers.
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I can't decide how I feel about this book. I was engaged at the beginning but awards the middle I was so frustrated with the protagonist. Kit was supposed to be an extremely intelligent post-doc and yet she made poor decisions that undermined her intelligence. The last third of the book, though, was engaging and I found myself staying up late to complete it.
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A thriller with a unique setting, this is the story of two high-school friends whose lives and secrets intersect again years after their troublesome parting. The imagery is clear, and the pace is fast, yet this story  employs a number of coincidences that require a suspension of disbelief of the reader that may be hard to conjure. Will still happily recommend to Abbott fans, and voracious readers of this genre.
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I have very mixed feelings about this book.  I realize it’s labeled a psychological thriller but for some reason it wasn’t at all thrilling to me.  Then again, the author did a great job writing a book about someone who obviously suffered from a mental illness.  So, like I said, I’m in the middle somewhere when it comes to this review.

Although there are two strong female characters in this book they are great friends and enjoy competing academically.  They support each other in the beginning and share a lot of good times together.  However, that all of a sudden changes when one shares a terrible secret with the other.  After that, the two go their separate ways until they meet up again many years later, and end up working together.  This is where the story got a bit murky for me.  I get that one woman was a bit “off” and I expected things to blow up, which they did.  

This “secret” takes over the book for a large portion of it.  There is a lot of dwelling on what happened by Kit and it seemed to be just a bit obsessive to me.  Towards the end, I just didn’t “get” why Kit didn’t follow her gut rather than agree to being set up by Diane.  I understand that it had to happen in order to reach a specific conclusion but it literally made no sense to me.  Kit was a strong woman, why in the world would she follow Diane’s lead?  I think that’s what threw me the most and probably where I lost interest.  It seemed very out of character, but was necessary for the ending?  I don’t really know for sure, but it became too unbelievable for me.

I realize as a mental health provider that I may be jaded by the fact that I understand these situations all to well, so perhaps I caught on sooner than other readers might.  It’s probably my own personal experiences rather than anything specific about the book itself that caused me to lose interest at the very end.  I’m very glad I had the chance to read this book, however and I will for more by this author!  I received a copy of Give Me Your Hand through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks to Little Brown and Company and Megan Abbott for the opportunity.
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