Give Me Your Hand

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 11 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

Thank you to @netgalley and @littlebrown for providing me a copy of this novel for an honest review.  Rotating between the past and present, we learn about two women who share a dark secret.   After parting ways after high school, Kit never thought that she would see Diane again. Now, ten years later, while Kit is working as the only female in a science lab, Diane suddenly returns.  Thus, creating a new rivalry to be the very best.  Will their secret stay hidden or will new ones be created to protect the past?
  
I had high hopes for this one.  However, it didn't take off quick enough for me.  I felt like I wasn't really interested until more than halfway through. Even then, I wasn't invested in the characters as much as I should've been.  The plot did pick up for awhile, but then fell flat for me at the ending.  
#books #suspense #julyrelease
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As a longtime fan of Abbott’s , I flew through this book. The premise was interesting and caught me from the start. Diane and Kit had known each other as teens and Diane had told Kit her deepest, darkest secret, which Kit had kept. But as Diane shows up years later, encroaching on her territory, things changed. 

As the story moved along, I kept up with the book and the premise. The read was fast but the plot was easy to figure out mid-book. As a reader, though you knew what was going to happen, it still played out well, and the ending was surprising.
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At a time when I question whether the thriller genre has perhaps jumped the shark (thank you Fonzie!), along comes a book to re-establish my faith. Narrated by Kit, the book doesn't hide anything. There is no big secret reveal or unreliable narrator. Instead you get a solid story of two girls who meet in high school and are both friends and rivals. Diane tells Kit a horrible secret which haunts Kit for the rest of her life. Several years later they start working together in a laboratory on a research project regarding PMDD, premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Basically, it is PMS to the extreme. The research is a terrific counterbalance to what has taken place and what is currently happening. Ms. Abbott tosses in some Shakespeare, Immanuel Kant, and Madame Curie references to create a smart and twisty story, one worthy of her intelligent characters. At one point, I put the book down because I knew what was going to happen next and wanted to savor the moment. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves a well written thriller or might even be wondering if there is nothing new to offer. There is. This is it.
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Kit and Diane are high school friends who excel in science. But Diane shares a terrible secret with Kit and it tears their friendship apart. Years later, the two encounter each other again when they are both working as scientists. Unfortunately, Kit learns that the first secret that Diane tells her is not the only one and there are devastating consequences.

Megan Abbott is a master at writing about the nuances of female relationships. Diane is a complicated character and I couldn’t decide whether to hate or feel sorry for her. Ultimately she did terrible things, yet the circumstances of her upbringing are tragic. Kit is also a multifaceted woman and the whole aspect of her being an introverted scientist in a classically male-dominated field was fascinating.  

Many thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown & Co, for providing me with a complimentary e-copy ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Like many a Megan Abbott book before it, this was fantastic yet also kind of crushing. 

Though she started by writing what I'd call a sort of neo-noir, Abbott really hit her stride as a writer exposing the fragile, perilous place that is Girl World. Though this is not normally a subject that interests me, Abbott hooked me with the brutal, fascinating-yet-cringeworthy Dare Me.

Give Me Your Hand is a slight departure from Abbott's psychological Girl World dramas, blending elements of that with the noir genre where she got her start. 

Though I didn't much like her pure noir offerings, this hybrid book really hit the mark for me. The characters are strong, complex, and fascinating. All flawed and yet (almost) all sympathetic. 

The lab politics set the atmosphere for the book, but it's really Diane and Kit's complicated relationship that drives the plot. The little doses of noir-esque details (the ceiling! Eek!) keep the story moving, and even (weirdly) lighten the heft of it. 

While the mood is similar to Dare Me, The End of Everything, etc., Abbott showed some range here, diving into the lives of high-achieving female scientists instead of her usual cheerleaders and gymnasts. I love that Abbott-whether examining star athletes or star students-always focuses on ambitious women, all of whom are (despite their flaws and insecurities) worthy of our time as readers.
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A smart fierce thriller with a bloody theme.   If you are looking for a book to read in one sitting, look no further for pure satiated reading satisfaction.
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Give Me Your Hand is another thrilling ride written by Megan Abbott.  I always look forward to Abbott's new books as she really knows how to write a great suspense novel.  Diane and Kit met in high school where they soon formed a competitive friendship as they competed for an exclusive science based scholarship.  The story is told in a series of present day and flashback to high school chapters.  Lots of mystery and intrigue in this well-written tale.  Read and enjoy!
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At 1:30 Saturday morning, I finished reading GIVE ME YOUR HAND. It was worth every one of those late minutes!
 
Kit Owens and Diane Fleming are not your normal teen girls. (I'm not sure if Megan Abbott has written any stories about normal teen girls, come to think of it.) They are good students and they both jog. They push each other to be better runners and they both come to realize that they want to be scientists. Every since the beautiful and mysterious Dr. Severin came to their school to talk about her lab work and what it meant to perform studies and to do research, they both dedicate themselves to their goal. Then Diane shares a dark secret with Kit, one that Kit can't get out of her mind-one that's eating her alive. But eventually Kit gets past it and they both graduate and move on with their separate lives.
 
Fast forward a number of years and Kit has achieved her goal. She works in Dr. Severin's lab and is vying for an important spot on a team studying PMDD, a horrible offshoot of PMS that causes all kinds of problems for women. She's almost certain to obtain that rare position-that is until she's told that Diane Fleming is also vying for the same spot. How will Diane's return affect Kit? Who will get those valuable positions on Dr. Severin's team? What about the secret they both share, how will it affect them now that they are together again? You'll have to read this to find out!
 
Megan Abbott's writing is pure gold and this book is no different. Inside the warped minds of teenage girls and then again inside their heads as women, she nails it. Not only that, she unflinchingly depicts what it's like for women in the mostly man's world of scientific academia. With fierce competition at hand these men are respectful...until they're not. As a woman in a mostly man's world, (just cars, nothing hoity toity like science), I could identify with these women and what they went through. In the end though, a scientific world and some chauvinistic attitudes are only a small part of this twisted tale.
 
I felt that the pacing of this story was fast and I had a difficult time pulling away from it. Just when I thought I'd read one more chapter something else would happen and I was compelled to read on. This is my favorite Megan Abbott book so far, (though I still have a few to read yet), and it was partially because I'm a super fan of the THEN and NOW format and it worked beautifully here. It helped build the tension and suspense and just kept me going on. And on. And on...until the stunning denouement that floored me. Floored me, I say!
 
GIVE ME YOUR HAND was an excellent mystery/thriller/suspense novel full of interesting and mysterious characters and it was a BLAST! I highly recommend it!
 
Available everywhere on July 17th, but you can pre-order your copy here: GIVE ME YOUR HAND
 
*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*
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No other crime fiction author can so perfectly and eloquently distill the complexities of female relationships in the way that Megan Abbott can and does repeatedly. Whether she is writing about classic femme fatales, kidnapping victims, high school cheerleaders, or elite athletes, Abbott has proven again and again that while her novels always center around crime, it is the female characters at the core that are truly worth exploring. With Give Me Your Hand, Megan Abbott once again excavates well below the surface in a story of female friendship, jealousy, and rivalry amidst extreme professional pressure.

Kit Owens and Diane Fleming meet in chemistry class at Lanister High. There is an immediate bond, a linkage that will follow them through life. What starts as a friendship morphs towards a competitive angle, with mutual respect and more than a note of fear always present. When both girls apply for the same STEM scholarship, a repeated pattern of healthy competition begins to emerge.

“…you don’t have a self until you have a secret.”

But then Diane tells Kit her darkest secret and the tentative nature of their friendship is shattered. The two part ways and life goes on. Kit continues with her interest in the world of science, rising up through the ranks within her laboratory-based career. When she hears that her idol, Dr. Lena Severin, is launching a new research endeavor examining the causes and effects of severe premenstrual dysphoric disorder, Kit immediately wants to be part of the team. The problem is, so do all her fellow Severinites at her current lab. Confident that she can beat any of them, Kit’s plans are suddenly thrown into disarray when Diane Fleming shows up also coveting a spot on Dr. Severin’s project.

“To be so ordered and so out of control.”

Bringing these two women together again stirs up the memories of their past together. Megan Abbott tells this story from the point of view of Kit Owens, so readers are only granted one half of the full story. This structure grants Abbott the ability to slowly build suspense around what exactly Diane’s secret is, to such an extent that it will have readers begging for relief. And when Kit does finally reveal the truth, the ramifications are felt both for the reader and for the narrative.

“Give me your hand…”

Not only is this the title of the book, but when those words are uttered at almost the precise middle of the book, the fate of these two women is forever linked and there is no turning back. Readers will have long felt the dangers at play within the novel’s tension and Megan Abbott makes that moment both shocking and inevitable. Many writers would lack the finesse necessary to pull off such a major moment, but Abbott allows it to flow naturally from the characters she has crafted. The idea of putting the book aside from this point to the final conclusion will never be an option for fans of psychological suspense tales.

“The blood is the life…”

On the surface, Give Me Your Hand would seem to be a story about women, for women, and of course, by a woman; and yet, Megan Abbott has proven over and over that she is able to draw men under her spell. She never shies away from going to difficult or controversial places, but she does it with measured restraint and beautiful language that is free of judgment. Much can be learned about our society by looking at how these two women ended up in their situation. The key to community is empathy and Megan Abbott is gifted enough to lead readers there without getting didactic or pedantic along the way. The scientific setting of Give Me Your Hand is so on-point with current trends that it makes for a refreshing change of pace within the crime fiction genre. It is too Megan Abbott’s credit that she never attempts to make this feel revolutionary, because while it may seem like a new angle for fiction, it is a journey women have traveled for years in reality. The verisimilitude of every action will send shockwaves while also entertaining any reader who dares open the cover.

Give Me Your Hand is another in a long line of successes for Megan Abbott. Don’t miss this novel – it’s sure to be one of the most talked about books of the season.
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There is just so much good stuff in Give Me Your Hand, Megan Abbott's newest book. Women in STEM, the power and potential darkness in friendship between women, mental health, the issues around the lack of research into health problems that only affect women- it's a lot to pack into one story but Megan Abbot makes all of this into a completely mesmerizing pageturner. This story kept me guessing, and while it was an engrossing thriller, it managed to make really interesting observations about the topics it was handling. I'm a newer Megan Abbott reader, but I'm tempted to dive into the backlist I have yet to read to see if anything can top it- but I doubt it.
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Megan Abbott does not disappoint! Loved the focus on female researchers studying an extremely female topic, and the psychologically acute characterizations.
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I am a fan of Megan Abbott, and was truly looking forward to reading her latest effort.  However, it was not for me.  I found the scientific element a bit boring and not something I was anxious to see "what happens next".  Kit and Diane become friends in high school and although Kit is a good student she doesn't really push herself for excellence until her new friend begins to push her to excel.  Diane has ambitions.  She plans to study with a renowned scientist and expects to win a scholarship, and she is certain Kit can do it too.  Years later when their paths cross again, the competition is fierce, but Kit still remembers a dark secret shared when they were girls and she doesn't know if she can keep it much longer.
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Another Megan Abbott book with a totally unique premise! I loved that our protagonists were both very strong women in science. The book is bleak- there's a lot of unhealthy relationships and addictions here- but Abbott's ability to capture the essence of feminism and female friendships is unquestionable. There was not much plot- but I found there was quite enough to keep me turning the pages, once I got into it. There was tons of blood imagery- It made me uncomfortable, but did a great job at setting the creepy tone. And the inciting incident made me gasp! Overall, not as strong for me as You Will Know Me, but still an enjoyable ride.
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I can't believe I've never read anything by Megan Abbott before. This is my favorite kind of fiction: firmly within genre, but with gorgeous prose worthy of any literary shortlist out there. I am a bit skeptical of thrillers that play with time since I find it so frequently used to beef up an otherwise pedestrian plot, but in Abbott's capable hands it unfolds effortlessly. Some of her descriptions are so vivid and perfect they made me smile, like when she compares a stern Russian lab tech tending the mice to an aristocrat strolling through his garden. A taut pace and memorable characters make this an easy one to recommend.
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3.5 STARS

I'm really torn here... On one hand, Megan Abbott is queen, but this definitely isn't my favorite book she's written. I adore how she can write a female relationship unlike any author I've come across before; she gets all the nuances just right and injects a creepy vibe that carries the narrative AND plot without much action from the characters. I'm not sure if I just wasn't as invested in the characters this go around, as it took a little longer for me to become engrossed in the story, or if maybe I've read too many books in this vein, but either way I fully accept that I'll be in the minority here. You can also bet your bottom dollar that I'll be waiting with bated breath for Abbott's next novel, just as I have all the times before.
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How does a secret define a friendship? Smart, hard-working Kit Owens and brilliant, ambitious Diane Fleming bond in high school chemistry class until a revelation on Diane’s part changes everything. A dozen years later, the two find themselves competing for a prized position in a groundbreaking research study. Memory dies hard. 

Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Give Me Your Hand follows two ex-friends forced into a competition over a spot in an elite chemistry team, and in joint past-and-present tense, develops into a slow burn thriller. This book is about the nature of keeping secrets for people close to you, and how the darkness of someone near you can be what kills you.

Okay first of all, Megan Abbott is one of the most talented authors in the adult thriller genre. Her descriptions give her entire writing this very sinister feel, and it’s glorious. But there’s also a hint of sardonic humor to her writing. 

What’s interesting here is none of the characters, including the lead, are good people. But perhaps the strongest antihero of the book is Diane. And I… empathized with Diane. A lot more than expected. Which I think is perhaps the most transcendent part of the book; that we find so much sympathy for these characters, even though we shouldn’t. 

This book also thrives primarily off a relationship between two women, and just as the relationship between Beth and Addie in Dare Me, it is wonderful and fucked up. They are at once each other's biggest rivals and each other's biggest allies and Kit's feelings for Diane are so wonderfully complicated.

Megan Abbott’s work never really sustains itself off plot twists or reveals for me; she’s more of a talent at creep factor and character work. But I will say there’s this particularly nasty twist towards the end, and I didn’t think there would be another twist, and it’s kind of the most fucked up part of the entire book. 

This book is fantastic and creepy and atmospheric and fucked up, and I can’t wait to read more by this author.
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Kit Owens works in a prestigious lab studying PPMD, an uber-PMS that often manifests in extreme violence. She never would’ve gotten there in life without the influence of Diane Fleming, a high school classmate whose intense drive pushed Kit to succeed.  But Diane has a secret, and sharing it with Kit lead to the end of their friendship. Years later, Diane pops back into Kit’s life as a new hire in her lab, and Kit’s knowledge of Diane’s secret ripples out to unexpected and terrible results. Told in chapters alternating between “Then” and “Now”, this book is propulsive and eminently readable, and her female characters are complicated and compelling. You’ll want to know what happens next!
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This was the first book I've read by Megan Abbott and didn't have any expectations going into it.  It is a psychological thriller based in a science lab that studies premenstrual dysphoric disorder.  I found it to be an engaging read, but incredibly over the top and unbelievable.
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A twisting, compelling thriller that I really enjoyed. Really captures the dark side of teenage life and friendship. Megan Abbott never disappoints!
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