Cover Image: Give Me Your Hand

Give Me Your Hand

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Member Reviews

Just like with Megan Abbott's last book, You Will Know Me, I was hooked from the beginning! The relationship between these two women was intense and left you dying to know more. The twist was unexpected and was worth the wait. I highly recommend this book!
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"Women have to live so much of their lives in the in-betweens."

Kit meets Diane at a summer camp when they are young teenagers, swapping secrets with the other girls in their cabin one night. All of the girls share secrets except for Diane, who in response to Kit's secret merely says "My mom always says you don't have a self until you have a secret."
A couple of years later, Diane transfers into Kit's high school and ends up telling Kit her biggest secret.

Megan Abbott is one of my favourite authors to read when I just need to get out of my head. The writing is fast-paced, there is almost always a twist, and I like that she writes about girls behaving badly and their complex relationships with one another. This one definitely did not disappoint, I didn't see the twist coming at the end at all.

Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown & Company for the ARC!
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Give Me Your Hand was both fascinating, mysterious and just a tad creepy.  Diane and Kit were sort of friends from high school.  When Diane shared a secret with Kit...Kit’s life was changed.  They don’t meet again until they are candidates for the same position in an experimental lab.  Through an accident of circumstances...they become connected again.  But Kit doesn’t want this connection.  Diane is strange, odd, and seemingly suffering from a major disconnect.  I started off by being really into this book but I ended it feeling uncomfortable and not enamored by any of these characters.
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Give Me Your Hand is a tale of a very dysfunctional friendship between two women, Kit and Diane. The relationship begins at cross country camp as teenagers and develops into a somewhat friendly rivalry of sports and academics and integrity. Until Kit finds out that Diana has a secret. A big secret. Kit wants to know what that secret is until Diane reveals it to her and their friendship is forever changed. 

Years later and long past the last time Kit had seen Diane,, Kit finds out that they are both up for the same research project. The dysfunction then spirals into toxic and twisted. It seems the secret that Diane told to Kit has taken on a life of it's own and is having a sort of snowball effect, even a decade later and Kit is right in the danger zone. 

Give Me Your Hand was my first experience with Megan Abbott. I was intrigued by the academic and scientific aspect of the book as well as by the expectant thrill ride. I enjoyed the book and very much like Ms. Abbott's writing style. I found myself not wanting to put the book down and eagerly awaiting the answers to all of my questions! I do feel that the book lacked a 'wow' factor in the twist and felt a little let down by that but taking the whole of the book into consideration and how much I enjoyed it, I would definitely recommend this book!

Special thanks to Netgalley and Little Brown and Company for the opportunity to read and review Give Me Your Hand.
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I receive this for honest review. 
What a great read! This had me hooked from the beginning. What a Rollercoaster! The sitting, theme, and the Characters had me pulled so in. Everything was well put together and it was just perfect. This novel would have you guess and thinking all the way to the end. What a great thrill and suspense. I love a great suspense that would have me think and guessing. This novel did just that to me. To the point that am wrong. When the ending comes am on shock. I wouldn't of never believe or guess. Like OMG! 
Highly recommend everybody get this book and read it. Its so good! 
Can't wait for his next book.
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I just finished this book and all I can say is Wow!!   The format of then / now writing was great for this book.  Character development was amazing.  Diane had it all...until she didn’t.    Fav quote of book was “You don’t have a self if you don’t have a secret”
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Give Me Your Hand is a highly anticipated novel by Megan Abbott. Alternating between then and now, we follow Kit & Diane from high school, where they have confessed secrets to each other that will bind them, to current day where they both end up working on the same project. 
This book really fell flat for me. I had trouble connecting with most of the characters and there was just an odd abundance of weird looks and feelings, and some kind of indecipherable meaning behind a lot of the conversations that I just couldn’t grasp.
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Megan Abbott continues to write some of the best, darkest female characters I've ever read. I loved the themes of female friendship and competition that drove the plot. 

Loved this one so much and can't wait for her next work.
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Megan Abbott has done it again! GIVE ME YOUR HAND is cutting, brisk, and terrifying. In this highly anticipated release, Abbott explores the ins and outs of female friendship, psychopathy, ambition, love --- and where all of these interact. Although there is no masked murderer or haunting ghost, GIVE ME YOUR HAND will positively chill you. Abbott also layers in the discussion of PMDD, and what it means to be a woman who is full of emotion in a misogynistic world.
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I enjoyed Give Me Your Hand, but I didn't get blown away by it. The story was ok and the characters were fine. Something just didn't click for me.
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I really enjoyed how this book went back and forth in time in a smart way and dropped clues that didn't hit me over the head. The last third of the book was a page turner and I admit I stayed up late reading it because I couldn't put it down. Highly recommend. Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read and review.
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I loved Megan Abbott's previous novel, You Will Know Me, so I was excited to pick up her latest. Give Me Your Hand is delectably dark and full of the "purple marrow of female rage," but also suspenseful and unexpectedly moving. I actually gasped aloud at several plot turns that I didn't see coming. This is a great book for anyone who loves reading about teenage secrets that resurface when you least expect it, the power of female friendship infused with a razor-sharp competitive edge, and suspense fiction with a literary bent. This is a book that I will recommend to friends, colleagues, and mature teen readers who are looking for something that will hold their attention on every page. I'm already looking forward to Megan Abbott's next novel!
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Has someone ever told you a story that makes you think, "I sure wish I didn't know that?" This book takes that situation to the extreme. Kit loves science and running and her home life leaves something to be desired. When Diane moves to town at the end of high school, her common interests and issues bring them together. They're friends, but Kit always feels there's something just a little different about Diane. When she reveals a secret that Kit wishes she didn't know, their friendship falters. Kit never tells, but the relationship is over. Years later, Kit works in a lab and is vying for one of two spots in a prestigious research study. When Diane comes out of the woodwork as a candidate, Kit is both terrified and intrigued. Lots of twists and turns, some more plausible than others, make this a fast and entertaining read. Kit is a frustrating character--her decision-making skills are pretty terrible, and some of the twists are just downright ridiculous. Fun, but not memorable.
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I can't believe I wasted my time finishing this book, I suppose just to see if the ending might salvage the plot.  It didn't.  The characters were utterly ridiculous, the plot inane, and the author's writing style one of the worst I've ever seen,  I can't understand how some books make it into print.  This one should have been left on the hard drive.  Such drivel!  Zero stars if it was  a choice!
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Note: What follows may contain a lot of gushing. Continue at your own risk.

Even though I thought Ms. Abbott's previous novels were excellent, she completely outdid herself with Give Me Your Hand. Not only is it a creepy cat-and-mouse game wherein ambition and desire collide with ethics, it is a feminist novel that moves to eviscerate medical research and its utter lack of studies devoted to women's issues. It is at once informative as well as enthralling, and you immediately want to share it with your best girlfriends so that you can settle into a nice long discussion with them about Kit and Diane, their actions, their secrets, the state of medical research as it pertains to women, and the games women have to play to get an advantage in almost any situation.

From a feminist perspective, there is so much to love about Give Me Your Hand. The fact that the novel revolves around three very successful female medical scientists is mind-boggling. This is not because of the idea that women can have any career they so desire, but the fact that I cannot remember another novel in which the head researcher and her assistants are all women. This is not a situation wherein an author adds a token person of color or woman to a team in order to establish so-called diversity. This is true diversity wherein women in the field of science hold more power than the men. That these are successful women in their field - one predominantly male in nature - is another first. We can tout the need for young women to enter into the STEM fields in college, but until these same women see other women succeeding, there will always be a hesitancy to break that gender barrier. Through Kit and Diane's successes, as well as that of their mentor, this shift in the gender dynamics of such a story is empowering and inspirational, and it makes you want to shout "About damn time!" from the rooftops.

As innovative as Give Me Your Hand is regarding women in the field of science, Ms. Abbott is a wise woman. She understands female dynamics. She knows that all too often, women are their own worst enemy when it comes to female coworkers. Instead of standing together against the men, who usually outnumber women in any boardroom or laboratory, women will fight each other and manipulate situations and other coworkers as the means of seeking any iota of advantage over a female coworker. We see this most specifically in the unusual relationship Kit and Diane has. From the very beginning, there is a competitiveness to their interactions - running stride for stride together in order not to be last or first, studying together so that one will not study more than the other. This carries over into their professional lives as Kit aims to be the first one into the lab and the last one to leave each day, the one with the cleanest workspace, the one with the most diligent techniques. Even when working together, there is a level of mistrust between them that goes beyond the secret that tore them apart all those years ago. The mistrust is more a battle of advantages, trying to balance the importance and integrity of the study without conceding any advantages to the other. Any woman who has worked with another woman will have similar stories of female coworkers backstabbing each other, exercising political maneuvering, and generally shoddy treatment of each other all in the name of getting ahead. It is a game women have been forced to play for over a century as there continue to be a limited availability of adequate promotional roles for women; hence we see all women as competition in the work environment. It is something Ms. Abbott captures quite well, establishing the nuanced ways in which this occurs and by which men encourage such competition.

The other exciting aspect of the story is the research study itself. All women know that there has been little to no research devoted solely to female hormones and issues related to them. We can all relate stories about trying to find a doctor to believe us when we say something isn't right. Hysteria may no longer be an official diagnosis, but the number of male doctors who scoff at women and their complaints is still, albeit anecdotally, way too high in this day and age, so much so that they might as well continue to diagnose hysteria as a medical complaint. So when I saw that Kit was hoping to work on a groundbreaking study of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, I all but squealed in delight and wished the book were nonfiction. While the story is indeed fiction, I assure you PMDD is not, and Ms. Abbott makes sure to inform all of her readers of this fact. Throughout the novel, she intersperses facts about PMDD, what it is, how it affects women, and how no one really understands why it occurs. For those of us who suffer from it, she vindicates us and our suffering. She gives attention to our monthly plight and makes us feel seen at a time when most doctors won't even diagnose it as an official illness (my doctor will not). It is such a liberating feeling.

There may indeed have been some negative elements to Give Me Your Hand, aspects that don't quite work, or plot points that are a mite too predictable. However, I did not notice them because I was too caught up in this feminist marvel of a novel that celebrates female intelligence, success, and health while cautioning against the more toxic elements of female professional relationships. It was such a refreshing reading experience not only because of the topics discussed but also because the drama involved the two women only; there is no male love interest, no male father figure, nor a male mentor. Thank you, Ms. Abbott, for representing women so thoroughly in Give Me Your Hand. Now, let us work on having every one of every race, religion, gender identification, sexual preference, and socioeconomic level experience similar reading delight through their own representation within quality novels meant to empower as well as entertain.
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The book begins with a prologue, with Kit explaining that her and Diane have ended up back together again.  We get a few hints of their relationship when Kit describes waking from a bad dream, a dream that involved Diane.  She hasn’t seen Diane in twelve years, but she is not surprised when Diane walks in at the Severin Lab.   Kit is thinking how little they really know about each other, but they do know one important thing. 

The story is then told in an alternating Now and Then fashion.  In the Then sections, Kit is telling us some of her history and how she met Diane and how their friendship formed.  The Now sections take place in current time, dealing mainly with Kit’s work environment, Severin Lab. 

Both Diane and Kit are smart, so it is no surprise that they have both ended up at the Severin Lab.  The lab run by Dr. Severin.  The lab employees are a small group of very smart, postgrad students.  Dr. Severin is working on getting a new grant proposal for the study of PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder.)  The competition is fierce for a place on the team. 

We slowly learn through the Then chapters what is going on between Diane and Kit.  The secrets are slowly doled out.  As we are finding out those secrets, we watch them meeting again the effects those secrets have on the current time. 

The book builds slowly, eventually reaching a breaking point near the end.  Several things happen near the end that seemed a bit over the top, I couldn’t understand or make sense of why characters were acting the way they did. 

I think this one of those books were I enjoyed the build up more than the conclusion.  I do think the build up well done.  

I received an ARC of the book.
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tl;dr: mind=blown. You=read. Then tell me: nature? Or nuture?

Give Me Your Hand is an outstanding psychological novel. It opens on Kit, who is a postdoctoral student working in a lab for Dr Severin, a brilliant scientist  who has just received funding for a large study on PMDD, and who has two slots open to work with her.

Naturally, the competition is fierce. Kit is the only female postdoc, but all her competitors are, in her mind, just as, if not more so, qualified as she is. She's worried about it, desperately so, and the only person who helps with her fears is one of her fellow post docs, Alex, who Kit has feelings for, but can't bring herself to act on them.

Then the rumors start. One of the slots might already be taken because a new postdoc is joining the team. She's brilliant, poached from an ongoing and already prestigious study. Her name is Diane.

Kit knows her. They met in high school becane reacquainted during senior year, and Diane's focus and brilliance inspired Kit. They were also, briefly, friends. 

Diane has a secret. Kit knows it. She's terrified of it. Is she terrified of Diane? Or fascinated by her?


The book moves between the past, mostly during their senior year in high school, and now.  

The imagery Ms Abbott uses is vivid and copious, and fits the book perfectly.

The events of most of Give Me Your Hand are not unexpected but they are still both blood stirring and chilling, a great meditation on what shapes us. Is it who we are, or what we face and do in response? 

I was completely and utterly blown away by the final two chapters of the book. I did not see that last twist coming at all  I won't say more because of spoilers but damnnnnnnnnn. 

Highly recommended.

I did receive an ARC but had already preordered the book and it's going on my keep forever shelves. It's also got a huge waitlist at the library, so I'm going to push for a discussion group, and will be handselling as many copies as I can in the store.

What did you think? Are we born who we are, or are we shaped by the things that happen to us and our responses? Is it both...or do we use that as a way to explain ourselves to ourselves?
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How fast a life can change simply by a friend deciding to share their secret. Once she knows she can't unknow, she's part of the secret. This is a truly creepy story. As the story goes on you can almost feel the evil grow and encompass. The only part that l wish there was less of is the amount of information on the research subject.
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"'Women have always been far less violent than men,' the author conceded. The facts speak for themselves. 'But why, then,' he asked, 'are women so much more ferocious in their violence?' It has always seemed to me that the answer lies in the question."

A compelling story in the Gillian Flynn-launched trend of 'female rage' novels, this time brilliantly set in the STEM world: female scientists surrounded by confident, dismissive men. I couldn't put it down.
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Friendship, secrets, chemistry, and competition sums up this novel for me. This is what I'd describe as a slow burn thriller. It isn't fast-paced or full of twists and turns but it's a solid exploration of friendship and competition. Megan Abbott is so good at this sort of novel - it keeps you on your toes yet it's slowly paced and things are unveiled in a very Megan Abbott way (if you've read her other work, you'll know what I mean). I heard a few interviews with her on various podcasts which really helped me dig deeper into the themes of the novel after hearing her perspective of what she was interested in exploring with this book so you may want to seek some of those out after finishing the book. There is an amazing sinister feel to this novel and Abbott creates that sense effortlessly. There are really multiple narratives happening here -the one on the surface and several others that are under the surface but really make the book come together comprehensively. This novel was quite well done but it's not for those of you who need a fast-paced thriller ... this one is a bit slower and thoughtful. It's definitely worth a read! I definitely recommend this for Abbott fans - this is one of her best, in my opinion. And I also think this is a good starting place for Abbott's work if you haven't experienced her yet.
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