Friday, November 25, 2016

Review: You Will Know Me

You Will Know Me
Megan Abbott
Published July 26, 2016
Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But when a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community just weeks before an all-important competition, everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself drawn, irresistibly, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate. From a writer with "exceptional gifts for making nerves jangle and skin crawl," (Janet Maslin) You Will Know Me is a breathless rollercoaster of a novel about the desperate limits of desire, jealousy, and ambition. - from Goodreads
You Will Know Me is one of the most anticipated releases of the year, so it pains me to say this and I know I'll be in the minority, but I did not enjoy reading this book.  There's no doubt that Megan Abbott is an incredible writer.  I loved The Fever and the way she creates her characters and the tense relationships between them.  But I felt so uncomfortable and uneasy reading You Will Know Me that I almost stopped several times.  I suppose making a reader feel so strongly is the mark of a great writer, but in this instance it didn't work for me.

Devon Knox is a gymnastics star working her way up to the highest ranks.  Her parents, Katie and Eric, have devoted themselves to her career.  But their lives are severely disrupted when the boyfriend of Devon's coach's niece is killed in a hit-and-run accident.  The story focuses on the Knox's family dynamics and their small gymnastics community in the wake of the accident.

Katie, Devon's mom, is the main character, but she is so clueless about everything around her.  The amount of times she is surprised by something told to her by another character is really astounding.  It's like everyone knows what's going on except her, especially when it comes to her daughter, Devon.  And Devon is one of the most artificial characters I've ever come across.  She's cold, stoic, robotic - she doesn't even cry when she's injured.  Yes, she's an elite athlete and her focus is strong, but it's almost unnerving.

It was pretty obvious early on where Abbott was going with this story, although the ending was not quite what I thought it would be.  There were some pretty big legal and moral issues that were completely glossed over.  I also had some problems with the writing.  Certain details and descriptions felt repetitive and almost too personal, like I was reading someone's diary (and not in a good way).  Another issue was the unrealistic dialogue.  Almost every conversation (between any characters, no matter their age) is peppered with statements that are vague, cryptic, ominous, fraught with double meaning - take your pick.  I can see how Abbott was trying to create some mystery and tension, but it was just way too much.  No one speaks like that in real life.

2 stars


  1. Thanks for your honest review on this title. I hate when anticipated books disappoint. This sounds like one I'll want to steer clear of as well.

    1. Reading can be so subjective and personal that I really went back and forth on whether or not I even wanted to post the review, but I think it's worth it sometimes to post a negative review.


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