Tuesday, July 24, 2018

#Review - Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott #Thrillers #Psychological

Series: Standalone
Format: E-Galley, 352 pages
Release Date: July 17, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Thrillers / Psychological / Suspense

A life-changing secret destroys an unlikely friendship in this "magnetic" (Meg Wolitzer) psychological thriller from the Edgar Award-winning author of Dare Me.

Kit Owens harbored only modest ambitions for herself when the mysterious Diane Fleming appeared in her high school chemistry class. But Diane's academic brilliance lit a fire in Kit, and the two developed an unlikely friendship. Until Diane shared a secret that changed everything between them.

More than a decade later, Kit thinks she's put Diane behind her forever and she's begun to fulfill the scientific dreams Diane awakened in her. But the past comes roaring back when she discovers that Diane is her competition for a position both women covet, taking part in groundbreaking new research led by their idol. Soon enough, the two former friends find themselves locked in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse that threatens to destroy them both.

“Haven’t you ever done something in the blink of an eye and then realized it was wrong? That it was all wrong?”

Megan Abbott's Give Me Your Hand is a story about two complex and flawed female characters told in Kit Carson's POV. The story alternates between 12 years ago, and the present. 12 years ago, Kit was a fairly smart student who stumbled her way through high school, while also working part time at the local burger joint since it is only her and her mother. Over summer, Kit met a girl by the name of Diane Fleming and they seem to hit it off remarkably well. Months later, Diane arrives for their Senior year. Diane sees something in Kit that Kit failed to see in herself; passion and untapped ambition. 

She pushes Kit like she's never been pushed before. Kit goes from a girl who is smart, to a girl who challenges herself to apply for a much coveted Severin Scholarship to work alongside Dr Lena Severin, a genius in the area of PMS. The scholarship would mean so much for Kit since it would pay all of her tuition, her room and board, plus stipend. Then one day, Diane tells Kit the worst secret that anyone has ever told her. Kit's conclusion becomes that Diane is a horrible person. Diane & Kits relationship cools, and they end up going their separate ways. To be fair, Kit also told a secret to Diane when they were at summer camp. 

12 years later, Kit is working as a research scientist for Severin Labs which has received an NIH grant to study *PMDD. Kit believes her goals are finally within her grasp. Then the shocking news that Diane Fleming has been hired by Dr. Severin. Diane and Kit will be vying for the same position working under a brilliant scientist whom they both idolize. Dr. Severin is once again front and center of a major grant that will change the lives of women who most doctors refuse to believe or understand. Can Kit and Diane resolve their past issues, or will Diane's presence push Kit over the edge?

From the first moment we meet Diane, she is a lock box filled with secrets. She comes from a well off but dysfunctional family. She is sent to alternately live with her father and mother then her grandfather. Diane is brilliant, strange, and extraordinary. But, for Kit, she is an unwanted distraction that she no longer needs in her life. For both women, they have each excelled through the years. One of the things Diane states is, "Remember, you don't have a self until you have a secret." For Diane, her secret revealed destroyed a friendship. Will her return into Kit's life destroy Kit's hopes and dreams? 

Abbott is really good at getting into the minds of females and ripping out their deepest, darkest feelings, and motivations. We often associate the worst things a person can do to men, but forget that women are often much more cunning when getting away with murder, or stabbing someone in the back. Women often go through depths and lengths that men can't touch to get what we want. Even when it comes to friendships, or job offers, or wearing the same dress and then going on Twitter or Facebook and shaming our once best friend. I appreciated that Abbott drives her story towards the sciences. More young women need to apply for these positions. Yes, it is still a male dominated world, but a great majority of women are now graduating from college and the future looks bright.

*By the way, PMDD is a real disorder and I encourage you to go online and see for yourselves. Women who suffer from consistently severe mood swings during their menstrual periods are now being diagnosed with mental illness. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), sometimes referred to as 'PMS on steroids', is formally recognized in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

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