By: Megan Abbott
Publisher: Little Brown & Co.
Publication Date: 7/26/2016
My Rating: 4 Stars
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 roller coaster of a novel about the desperate limits of desire, jealousy, and ambition.
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From the award-winning author of The Fever and Dare Me, Megan Abbott presents a gripping, edgy, domestic, psychological "noir" suspense, YOU WILL KNOW ME, a fragile family on the brink of obsession, desire, and despair.
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 Knox’s have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. Everything resolves around one talented girl.
Fifteen-year old Devon Knox is a gymnast with dreams of the Olympics, and the parents are obsessed, rigid, and structured- with achieving this goal, to the point of giving up almost everything- sacrifices; time, practices, to the expense of equipment, credit card debt, and even second mortgaging their home.
When Devon was three-years- old, she lost two toes and a piece of her foot in a freak lawn mower accident. Parents driven by guilt, and a young girl, driven by a deep-seated need to overcome her deformity, she scores one gymnastics triumph after another.
Katie and Eric, parents and little brother Drew's world revolves around Devon. Drew is always in the background, neglected (but observant). How far will you go to achieve a dream?
The town, community, parents, and the coach rely on the star gymnast to attract business, and the Olympic hopeful under their nose. The coach devotes all his time and energy to Devon.
But when tragedy strikes and the local BelStars gym, charismatic Teddy Belfour ‘s (Coach T) niece, Hailey, learns her boyfriend, Ryan, is dead in a hit-and-run; only a couple of months before Elite Qualifiers—everyone begins to unravel. Will the death threaten Devon’s gold medal?
Devon, can't afford any missteps. Her success relies on structure, and Eric promises he’ll do anything to keep Devon on track. When Hailey starts threatening Devon and the Knox’s observant son, Drew, starts talking about things he hears - the whole family, Katie in particular begins to wonder who really killed Ryan? What is one capable of?
The hit-and-run death of Ryan Beck, a young man dating the coach's niece, threatens the community, as jealousies and secrets emerge. A time bomb ready to explode.
In the meantime, Katie (mainly told from her POV), begins to look closely at her family. Is it what she thought it was? From jealousy, ambition, to desire. A crumbling world, as similar our world today – from financial, power, sports, and politics.
As Katie puts the pieces together of what has been really going on behind her back, Drew fills in the missing pieces in a shocking conclusion to how far will you go to protect your family. When the family itself, is more of a mystery to be unraveled, versus the actual crime mystery.
Do you really know those close to you? From spouses, children, to friends.
With a fitting title, you sense an ongoing threat lurking--a darkness, secrets, moral codes, and the murder mystery centered around the ambitious teenage gymnast and her family. From tension, and guilt of the earlier accident, you can see why possibly this would be a driving force to devote, sacrifice, and give themselves to their daughter. From disabilities, prodigies, and power in a family.
Unsettling, haunting, and lyrical - readers will be observing the family and drawing their own conclusions. The focus being primarily on Devon and her inner life, feelings, image, and how others observe from the outside.
A skilled writer, Abbott delivers a masterful setting for a standout psychological thriller. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Lauren Fortgang for a chilling and entertaining performance.
Abbott explains in an interview that the idea for the current plot grew out of a viral video of a mom and dad so completely possessed by anxiety on the sidelines of a gymnastics meet that they unconsciously mimic their daughter’s moves on the bar.
The novel’s idea of longing is complicated by the insular nature of family, both the Knoxes and the BelStars gym family. The characters go to great lengths to achieve their goals, but they go further to protect one another, often with tragically contradictory results. It’s this fierce parental devotion that forms one of the story’s most painful truths. This kind of love, Abbott remarks, “heals wounds, it creates wounds, it exacerbates wounds, and it salves them.”
July Top Reads
“Almost unbearably tense, chilling and addictive, You Will Know Me deftly transports the reader to the hyper-competitive arena of gymnastics where the dreams and aspirations of not just families but entire communities rest on the slender shoulders of one teenage girl. Exceptional.”
–Paula Hawkins, author of the #1 bestseller The Girl on the Train
“Gritty, graphic, and yet beautiful and dreamlike in the way the story unfolds, You Will Know Me comes barreling at you with all the power and urgency of a high-speed train, as Abbott asserts herself as one of the greatest crime writers of our time.”
–Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl
“That rarefied sweet spot between unnerving psychological suspense and a family drama with heart, You Will Know Me induces equal parts dread and unease, empathy and warmth. The pages couldn’t turn fast enough as I dug deeper into the peculiar and fascinating Knox-family world, trying to figure out who was lying, who was telling the truth, and who was dangerous. Luscious writing, a timely and unique premise, and an ending that will haunt you all summer long.”
–Jessica Knoll, New York Times bestselling author of The Luckiest Girl Alive
“Is there anything Megan Abbott can’t do? We will have to wait for the answer to that question because You Will Know Me continues her formidable winning streak. This story of an ordinary family with an extraordinary child is gorgeously written, psychologically astute, a page-turner that forces you to slow down and savor every word. And, yes—please forgive me—she totally sticks the landing.”
—Laura Lippman, New York Times bestselling author of After I’m Gone
"Abbott has a knack for dissecting the dark, beating heart of the most all-American activity... Her Dare Me (2012) brought a Fight Club intensity to cheerleading. This equally dazzling tale [is]....vivid, troubling, and powerful-and Abbott totally sticks the landing."
—Booklist, Starred Review
About the Author
Megan Abbott is the Edgar®-winning author of the novels Queenpin, The Song Is You, Die a Little, Bury Me Deep, The End of Everything, Dare Me, and her latest, The Fever, which was chosen as one of the Best Books of the Summer by the New York Times, People Magazine and Entertainment Weekly and one of the Best Books of the Year by Amazon, National Public Radio, the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times.
Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Believer and the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Born in the Detroit area, she graduated from the University of Michigan and received her Ph.D. in English and American literature from New York University. She has taught at NYU, the State University of New York and the New School University. In 2013-14, she served as the John Grisham Writer in Residence at Ole Miss.
She is also the author of a nonfiction book, The Street Was Mine: White Masculinity in Hardboiled Fiction and Film Noir, and the editor of A Hell of a Woman, an anthology of female crime fiction. She has been nominated for many awards, including three Edgar® Awards, Hammett Prize, the Shirley Jackson Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Folio Prize. Read More