Saturday, October 1, 2016

You Will Know Me

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
Little, Brown and Company: 7/26/16
eBook review copy; 352 pages
ISBN-13: 9780316231077

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott is a highly recommended thriller set in the competitive world of young gymnasts.

Devon Knox is exceptional. Everyone knows it. Despite a childhood injury to her foot, Devon, daughter of Eric and Katie Knox, is on the Elite training path at the BelStars gym to, hopefully, be an Olympic gymnast. Devon is the star of the gym; her innate talent is both revered and resented by the other parents. The family, including her younger brother, Drew, has sacrificed a lot for Devon's dream.  Eric is obsessively involved with the boosters and fundraising efforts to help the gym and he and Katie have a second mortgage on their home just to keep Devon's dream alive. It is, of course, the whole family's dream (except for poor neglected Drew) but one that can only be fulfilled by Devon.

When a young man, Ryan, is tragically killed it sends ripples of gossip and rumors through the close-knit group of parents. Coach Teddy Belfour hasn't been to practices because Hailey, his niece and the tumbling coach at the gym, was dating Ryan and is devastated. There is gossip that he was going to propose to her, but who knows if that is true. The answers to all their questions aren't that simple. Now, while the police are trying to determine what happened to Ryan and who is responsible, Katie needs to find out some answers on her own and protect her daughter.

Even if you know little or nothing about gymnasts, you will recognize the overly involved parents who are obsessed with their children's activities. These parents feel the success of their children reflect upon them, which goes hand-in-hand with the belief that the abilities of their children are greater than they are in reality. (Sports, academics, etc., oh, the real life stories I could tell about others of their ilk!) These misguided parents are determined that their children will succeed - if they have any say on the matter - and most of them are overly optimistic about their true abilities of their children. Honestly, the parents are mainly annoying sheeple or, in the case of one obviously reprobate financier, controlling and overbearing.

You Will Know Me is an unsettling, compulsively readable family drama. It is very well written and had me hooked from the beginning, when you know that a young man will die, but don't have all the information or the back story yet. Abbott does an excellent job setting up the story and allowing the truth to slowly unfold and reveal itself. I found it thoroughly enjoyable even though I did figure out the direction the story was going to take long before it went down that path. My heart broke for young Drew, who has his own interests and gifts that are neglected in favor of Devon's goals. What would you sacrifice to support your child's endeavors and dreams?

Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.

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