Review: You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
The audacious new novel from bestselling author Megan Abbott, "one of the best living mystery writers" (Grantland). 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.
Man, what a stunning book, from start to finish. I almost don't even know where or how to start reviewing this quiet book about a sudden death and how it rocks this gymnastics-centric community of parents and their hopeful daughters.
A quick teaser-summary? Okay. Katie Knox is so proud of Devon, her 15-year-old gymnast daughter who's on her way to qualifying for the Olympics. Katie and her husband Eric have put everything they have into getting her the best training possible, and Devon's little brother Drew has grown up sitting on the bleachers at the gym, watching everything and everyone. The community, with Eric and a committee of wealthy gymnastics-moms at its core, has built a state-of-the-art gym based almost entirely on Devon. Every mother wants her daughter to be a Devon. Her success is their success, and her failure is their failure.
No pressure or anything.
Ryan is the young dreamboat boyfriend of the coach's niece, the guy who helps around the gym, who low-key flirts with the moms, and who dies suddenly in a hit-and-run. Suddenly, everything is thrown into a panic. The coach can't handle his grieving niece, rumors are flying, Drew is sick, and Katie doesn't know anything anymore. And the gym - and everything they've all worked so hard for - is threatened. At its core (and probably unsurprisingly, given the title) You Will Know Me is about the terrifying truth that you never really know anyone the way you think you do (or that maybe you don't really want to, if it means facing the awful truths about them). The pacing is meticulous and captivating, the way the mystery and its resolution builds is both terrifying and deeply satisfying. And if the answer to the mystery happens to be clear for you early on, no worries: This is more than just a whodunnit novel. It's a novel about how communities come together and fall apart, about parenthood and childhood, about unbridled competitiveness and ambition. Remember that kind of wanting? That kind that's just for yourself? And you don't even have to feel guilty about it? You wouldn't know to. I love Megan Abbott's style of writing. It's quiet and understated, and very internally focused. The 3rd person limited POV is brilliantly done, so intimate without feeling claustrophobic - that sweet and tortuous spot between knowing and not knowing. And the way she about the inner lives of women and girls is absolutely gorgeous. You Will Know Me is definitely one of my favorite books of 2016, at least. I can't stop thinking about this book.
Published by Little, Brown and Company on July 26, 2016