Monday, July 25, 2016
As rumors swirl among the other parents, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself irresistibly drawn to the crime itself. What she uncovers--about her daughter's fears, her own marriage, and herself--forces Katie to consider whether there's any price she isn't willing to pay to achieve Devon's dream.
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 parental sacrifice, furtive desire, and the staggering force of ambition. -- Little Brown
This is an exciting week for fans of Megan Abbott and her thrillers! Tomorrow, her latest book YOU WILL KNOW ME will be released; and I have to say I think it's fantastic. This novel focuses on the world of competitive gymnastics. And could there be any better timing with the Olympics starting in a little over a week.
YOU WILL KNOW ME tells the story of the Knox family and how a violent death affects them. Katie and Eric are the parents of Devon, a big-time elite gymnast; and they are very involved in their daughter's life and especially her gymnastic career. Katie is continually amazed at her daughter's talents, while Eric is head of the booster club at her gym. The Knox family's entire world revolves around Devon's success.
One night after a party celebrating Devon's latest success, a tragedy occurs which affects the entire gym. The coach's niece Hailey, who is also an assistant coach at the gym, learns that her boyfriend Ryan was killed in a hit and run accident. All of the girls at the gym (and even their moms) have had slight crushes on Ryan, and the rumors surrounding his death start flying.
As sad as Ryan's death is, it also just happens to be a really bad time for Devon. The elite qualifier competition is only a few months away, and her coach is distracted. In fact, practices are being cancelled and Devon is feeling very frustrated. Her father, Eric, steps in and promises her that he will do whatever it takes for her to reach the next level.
Meanwhile, Hailey begins threatening Devon, both verbally and physically; and Katie and Eric's young son begins speaking strange words about his sister's actions. Everyone associated with the gym wonders who could have wanted Ryan dead, and Katie even begins to doubt if those she loves the most could have played a part!
I absolutely loved YOU WILL KNOW ME. That's probably not a big surprise to those of you familiar with Ms. Abbott's books. She is truly a gifted writer who undoubtedly delivers a suspenseful tale. This novel was dark and, at times, difficult for me to read (in a good way); and I was very impressed with how the tension built throughout the story and how I was kept on the edge of my seat.
Another wonderful thing about this novel was how well Ms. Abbot captured the essence of the characters, especially teenage girls and their families. As a mother to a 16 year old daughter, I am always a bit uncomfortable with how she portrays girls... but at the same time, I love it because it's so intriguing! In addition, I thought her portrayal of the entire Knox family, from Katie to Eric to their young son, was fascinating. There were a lot of family dynamics going on between the pages of YOU WILL KNOW ME, and they definitely made me think about not only the Knox family but families as a whole.
And that brings me to my next point -- I love that this story was told through the eyes of Katie. As a mother, I enjoyed seeing how Katie processed the events surrounding her daughter and how she eventually reacted to them. I think the decision to feature the mother's side of this story made the family dynamic aspect of the novel much more important -- maybe even more important than the mystery/suspense aspect.
Finally, I appreciated how the author brought to life the world of gymnastics (both the good and the bad.) As the Olympics rapidly approach, I always find myself drawn to stories about the athletes; and I know I'm not alone. While I hope the world of gymnastics isn't quite this cut-throat, I would be naive in not acknowledging the almost desperate nature of these young woman. I realize that the desire to reach the pinnacle of the sport requires a pretty intense individual as well as a family who will support her no matter the cost.
Overall, YOU WILL KNOW ME is an outstanding thriller that takes place in the world of competitive gymnastics. I love that it not only was suspenseful but that it also focused on the inner-workings of very complicated family. Highly recommended.
Thanks to Tandem Literary for providing a review copy of this novel.
Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.