Cover Image: Give Me Your Hand

Give Me Your Hand

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I really enjoyed this novel by Megan Abbott.  The story revolves around friends that are academically competitive and later in life also become rivals at a research laboratory where the famous head scientist encourages “cut throat “ competition.  Along the journey a grave secret is shared between the two friends.  It is interesting to note that both main characters are female .  The head of the lab is also female. Although I would not consider this to be a feminist novel the choice of female characters is refreshing.  A secret can be a burden and this is the case for the secret shared between these two “friends”.  l thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  The novel was both suspenseful and thought provoking.  The author did an excellent job developing the characters.  I thought about this novel long after I had finished reading it.
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Thank you to Little, Brown and Company for providing me with a copy of Megan Abbott’s novel, Give Me Your Hand, in exchange for an honest review.

PLOT- In high school, Kit and Diane were close-friends, primarily because they were both driven and competitive, both at the top of their class and interested in science. This is where the similarities end. Kit is from a single-mother household, where finances are tight. Diane has divorced, yet wealthy parents and lacks for nothing. Kit is somewhat scruffy and Diane is refined. Kit has social skills and the ability to easily make friends, where Diana is an ice-queen, only friends with Kit. 

The girls maintain a friendship primarily based on intense study sessions, until one evening when Diane reveals a shocking secret. Kit is undone by Diane’s revelation and since it is close to graduation, she simply stops spending time with Diane, knowing that after high school, the their lives will head in different directions.

A decade later, Kit is working in a laboratory under the prestigious Dr. Severin, a female scientist who is awaiting funding for her groundbreaking study on PMDD. As they receive word that the study is funded, Dr. Severin surprises the staff by announcing that she will only be continuing with two people, Kit and a new hire, Diane. Kit’s world is rocked by the reappearance of Diane. Will Diane’s secret continue to haunt Kit? 

LIKE- I’m a fan of Abbott’s writing and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review Give Me Your Hand. One of Abbott’s greatest strengths is in creating vivid characters with intense emotional lives. She lays them bare and exposes all of their greatest weaknesses, the types of shortcomings and mortifying thoughts that most people would never admit about themselves. I always cringe when I encounter her characters, but I cringe because those moments ring true. Her characters can be petty and they don’t always make good choices. They act like real people and are compelling. 

Along with this, she does such a great job at writing teenage characters. Give Me Your Hand flashes back to Kit and Diane in high school. In a particular cringe-worthy moment Kit reveals a sexual experience she had while being driven home after a babysitting job. The moment she describes is incredibly uncomfortable, but the reason that she is telling the story is worse. She is telling it while on a school trip and in a desperate attempt to fit in with the other girls, she decides to reveal this secret, thinking that it will help her image. As an adult reading this and having the hindsight of age, I want to shake her (and give her a hug), but also as an adult, I can remember those moments at that age. It’s awful. Abbott’s writing is so skillful that it made me feel both a sense of nostalgia and anxiety. 

I can’t remember reading many, if any, novels set in a lab, let alone those with strong female lead characters. Go women, go science! Abbott gets bonus points for this. 

The early parts of the novel have some great suspense and mystery building. I was eagerly turning the page and curious as to how everything would unfold. Diane’s secret is teased out for a long time too. I kept turning the page, Abbott had my attention.

DISLIKE- Okay, truthfully, I was disappointed in the last third of the story. I was hyped up and along for the ride, but the twists at the end fell flat. I didn’t have a good pay-off.

RECOMMEND- Maybe. I definitely recommend reading Abbott, but Give Me Your Hand wasn’t her best book.
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I wanted to like this book more but I felt myself forcing myself to keep reading. This was my first Megan Abbott book.  I am hoping the others are better. It just took too long to get to the point. I lost interest in the characters.  Just okay.
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I found this story rather disturbing, so many killings for senseless reasons.  Definitely a suspenseful story but not the story for me.
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Give Me Your Hand is not the thriller I was expecting.  It is not a fast-paced story where you are wondering what will happen next.  Instead, Kit Owens is a researcher who has a woman from childhood appear back in her life, which is problematic because she didn't want to have to ever see her again.  Throughout the story in flashbacks, you learn why Diane Fleming was a problem for Kit.  The dynamics that played out between the two women was tenuous and not completely relatable for me.  I didn't really feel they had a solid friendship before the secret was shared.  The two main characters were not fleshed out enough for me to really understand the motivations and behaviors of each.  I was left not startled, surprised, or unnerved by how the story unfolded.  In the end, I was wishing to have had Diane's side of the story (with motivations) or a narrator's clearer perspective.  I did enjoy the setting.  Overall the scientific research on women's health and the lab setting in the story was like another familiar character.  Reading about "the blood" and its potential effects made me want to learn more on the subject.
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We're going to start with the good. I enjoyed the back and forth between the past and present of this story. I like seeing how Kit and Diane's friendship began and what happened to break them apart. I found myself wondering what Diane's secret was and how it shaped who Kit ended up being in the present day.

Unfortunately, Megan Abbott is one of those authors that always falls flat for me. The premise of her books always sounds interesting, but then I start reading one and I end up disappointed. This was much the same. It didn't hold my attention. I found myself finding other things to do so I wouldn't pick this book up. And although I finished it and it was okay, I don't think it's the kind of book I would recommend to one of my friends.

This book was just okay for me. If I had to grade it, I would give it a C. The story was fine, but I didn't crave to read it. I did finish it. But next month I probably won't remember much of it. Lackluster. Good but not great.
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If you, like me, enjoy novels that center around the extremely complex nature of female friendship, you won't want to miss Give Me Your Hand, the latest standalone thriller by author Megan Abbott. It's an engrossing mix of spine-tingling suspense and the kind of relationship drama so many of us have experienced over the course of our lives. Plus, a great deal of the action takes place in a chemistry lab, something I ended up enjoying far more than I expected.

Kit Owens has never wanted to stand out from the crowd. She's a good student who enjoys keeping her head down and concentrating on her studies. She's pretty sure she'll go to college someday, but she doesn't yet have a clear idea what career path she'll explore. Then, the enigmatic Diane Fleming joins Kit's chemistry class, and Kit's life begins to change almost immediately. Suddenly, getting good grades is no longer enough. It's now imperative that Kit rise to the top of her class and earn her acceptance into an elite summer program for students who plan to work in the field of chemistry once they graduate from college. Diane is determined to be one of the participants in the program, and her self-confidence brings out a competitiveness in Kit that no one has seen before now. The two girls strike up an unlikely friendship, and Kit works harder in school than ever before - but will it be enough to earn her one of the coveted spots in the program?

Kit and Diane don't spend all their time studying though. They also spend a great deal of time discussing their hopes and dreams for the future. Kit has never had a friend like Diane, and she soon becomes convinced the two of them are destined to spend their lives as partners at some exclusive chemistry lab. And then, Diane reveals a terrifying secret, and everything Kit thought she knew about her friend is called into question. She's terrified by what Diane has shared with her, and she has no idea how to deal with the momentous nature of the secret. She eventually cuts off all contact with Diane, determined to pretend their friendship never happened.

A decade later, Kit is living her professional dream. She has landed a position at one of the most distinguished labs in the country, and she just knows she's about to be part of something that will truly change the way women's health is viewed worldwide. But when Diane joins the team, Kit's insecurities begin to rise to the surface. Why has Diane re-entered her life after all this time, and is it possible she's seeking some kind of revenge for the way Kit ended their friendship all those years ago?

I was initially a bit intimidated by the idea of reading something that was so heavily focused on science, a subject that has never managed to capture my attention. I worried that I be bemused by all the discussions of scientific research, but that isn't how things turned out at all. Kit and Diane are working as part of a team studying a menstrual disorder, and Ms. Abbott does a great job of including enough scientific information to give the story an authentic feel without getting too bogged down in scientific minutiae. I was able to follow the story with no difficulty even though I know next to nothing about chemistry.

The story is told exclusively from Kit's point of view, and we move back in forth in time between the past and the present. I was a little frustrated by how long it took for Diane's secret to be revealed to the reader. It felt like Ms. Abbott was intentionally drawing things out in an attempt to create suspense, but I would have rather learned the truth a little sooner. It would have made it a lot easier to understand why Kit has such conflicted feelings about Diane's reappearance.

I read a lot of thrillers these days so it's pretty hard to surprise me, but I'm pleased to report that Ms. Abbott managed to do just that; I didn't see the ending coming at all. I was pretty sure I had things figured out, but nothing went as I expected. I love it when an author can lead me down one road while managing to lay the foundation for something completely different to take place.

Give Me Your Hand received quite a bit of buzz in the weeks leading up to its release, and it managed to live up to all the hype. It's a book I'm quite happy to recommend to those who enjoy twisty mysteries that plumb the depths of the female psyche.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo
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This was extremely disturbing. I had trouble connecting to the main characters in the adult chapters and was not sure what to do with the twists at the end.
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This book features characters who are smart, driven, and ruthless when it comes to their personal career goals.  I enjoyed the story for the most part. There were times when the details became a bit too tedious, or when the back-and-forth between characters got on my nerves.  The ending surprised me more than I expected.  I didn't see the big twist coming.  However, there were a few loose threads that didn't make sense, and they didn't get tied up at the end.
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Megan Abbott does one thing spectacularly well- describe the inner life of young women. Whether those women are gymnasts, high schoolers, or scientists, she has the internal monologue and conflicted emotions of her test subjects (I mean characters) perfectly in mind and write them authentically and frighteningly. Because underneath it all, aren't women complicated and intense creatures? She winnows her way into the innermost thoughts of her characters, depicts their motivations in initially confusing and finally revelatory ways- she's a master of this art. All that said, Give Me Your Hand was not my favorite of her books. I appreciated the title and the friendship (if that's the right word) of the two women by the end. The pacing of this one seemed a bit off, however. I could have spent more time at the lab with our heroine, or conversely could have dealt with a great deal more of her home life. Either way, I think we all have a little Kit in us, and maybe a touch of Diane. I also enjoyed living the life of a lab rat for a few days, occupying the world of science as an outside observer much in the way that these two women are both outside observers of their own lives. Four stars, and a recommendation to read The Fever if you haven't!
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DNF after 100 pages.

I can see this being a book that many people will enjoy, however it is not for me.  
While I have enjoyed other mystery / thrillers that have a similar structure to this (not given a ton of background info right off the back, a mysterious relationship between the the main character and someone from their past, competition)  I found that I wasn't really able to get absorbed in the story and the characters. 
I'm sure there is going to be an intriguing reveal but I honestly didn't feel invested enough in the story to stick around and find out what it was.
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Full disclosure: Megan Abbott is not my favorite author. I tried to read "Dare Me" and is one of the only books that I was not able to finish. I love the creepy, mystery, thriller, vibe that she has, but sometimes her poetic writing gets in the way and I can't enjoy the plot as much as I wish I could. 

Moving on, Give Me Your Hand was easily the best Megan Abbott book I have read and will definitely try and read more of her books. I still didn't love the poetic writing style, but the characters and story were very good. I'm always a sucker for anything female and science related, but I really liked the scientist and lab setting. On the other hand, I didn't love the study that they were working on. I felt like it took away from Diane's mental character and it made me confused if the author was going for a diagnosis or what the tie was. I loved the ending - I thought it had the book come full circle and allowed the readers to empathize with Diane, who was pretty tough to relate to beforehand.
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Sadly, this book wasn't for me. Abbott still has a huge amount amount of people that enjoy her books. I tried to read You Will Know Me and I found it so boring. I received this one from Netgalley so I had to read it but it was just so boring. I didn't like any of the characters and the story was just blah! Sorry Megan. Moving on to my next one.
Thank you to Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.
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Give  Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott is a thriller of two very competive girls who meet at camp, end up in school together, both excellend science students who share a fate later in the adult lives. There are shared secrets between them. The story takes place in a Then/Now chapter situation which gives you a bit of insight in to the current situation. Thrilling, chilling and a little creepy. Great characters! Thank to #netgalley #givemeyourhand  and #littlebrown
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This is the first book I've read by Megan Abbott and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. She created tension and surprise without relying on cheap "gotcha" reveals and her characters' dialogue and inner thoughts felt authentic. Recommended to both fans of thrillers and those who want to give the genre a try.
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This is my first book by Megan Abbott, as I am relatively new to the mystery/suspense genre. While I found Give Me Your Hand to be a relatively fast paced read, I also found it took awhile to get to the reveal of Kit and Diane's back story. Sometimes this delay works well, as it keeps the reader engaged. This time, I found it felt as if there was a slow build to something that fell a little flat for me. I won't say too much more, as I don't want to give away that part of the story, though it did seem somewhat predictable. However, the last third of the book really moved along and I enjoyed some of the twists thrown into the story. I also appreciated the look into the world of science labs, post-docs, and women in science. I think those more immersed in the mystery/suspense world will enjoy this book more than I did. If you are into science, thrillers, and contentious female relationships give this book a try.

I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Give Me Your Hand is a dynamic psychological thriller with an original premise.  This book is a slow-burn which allows for character development as well as to draw you in to keep you wanting more.  Friends, Kit and Diane, are high school friends who share secrets while teenagers but lose track of one another after graduating from high school (and with good reason). Present day, both Kit and Diane are doctors competing against one another for a major research project. As the past catches up to them and secrets begin to unearth, life begins to turn deadly.

“You don’t have a self until you have a secret.” Well fortunately this book has many of those.

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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i don’t feel like Megan Abbott gets the attention she deserves. She keeps putting out the best books and she has quickly become one of my favorite authors. This book was so good that I tried to read it slowly because I didn’t want it to end.
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While I finished this book two weeks ago, I didn't want to write my review because I had mixed emotions and wanted to sit with them for awhile.    I love Megan Abbott's books and her style but I had such a hard time with this one because I didn't like the people in the book and so had a hard time feeling empathy for them or even caring about what they were doing.  

However - I kept needing to read to find out what's next because of the plot.  The ending was unexpected and really made me stop and realize that I did like the book so thus a late review but a recommendation to check it out!!

Thanks Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review.
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This is an intense, slow-burning thriller about two women who are both each other's best friend and biggest rival. Megan Abbott weaves the tale together with a bit of scientific research peppered throughout the constant drama and secrets being revealed, which balanced it very nicely. The basic premise is that a person's secrets can (and often will) resurface eventually. Very compelling, although maybe slightly less so than some of her other books.
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