by Megan Abbott (Picador) ISBN 9780330518345
What does it feel like to be the beta to your best friend’s alpha status? If you are always following the leader, how do you discover what your talents and desires are? Addy and Beth have been friends since childhood. They shared secrets, adventures, family angst and school activities, including cheerleading.
When the new, perfect, attractive coach, French takes over the cheerleading squad, she unbalances the status quo. Suddenly Beth is thrown off her pedestal and Addy becomes close to the coach which leaves Beth in a vindictive mood.
However, as Addy gets closer to the coach, she discovers that under her picture-perfect facade lurks deep unhappiness in her marriage and role of motherhood to her little daughter Caitlin. This leads to sordid experiences that Addy witnesses and tries to understand. While practising for the final game where the squad aim to do their awe-inspiring and dangerous 2-2-1 routine, Addy is being bullied by Beth. All is not as lovely and dainty as it seems in adolescent cheerleading squads.
This is a fast-paced thrilling ride from start to finish. A much more compelling read than Abbott’s previous novel The End of Everything. I recommended it as the anti-feel-good-coming-of-age story.