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The End of Everything

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Thirteen-year-old Lizzie Hood and her next-door neighbor, Evie Verver, are inseparable, best friends who swap clothes, bathing suits, and field-hockey sticks and between whom--presumably--there are no secrets. Then one afternoon, Evie disappears, and as a rabid, giddy panic spreads through the balmy suburban community, everyone turns to Lizzie for answers. Was Evie unhappy, troubled, or upset? Had she mentioned being followed? Would she have gotten into the car of a stranger? Compelled by curiosity, Lizzie takes up her own furtive pursuit of the truth. Haunted by dreams of her lost friend and titillated by her own new power as the center of the disappearance, Lizzie uncovers secret after secret and begins to wonder if she knew anything at all about her best friend.

9 pages, Audio Cassette

First published July 7, 2011

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About the author

Megan Abbott

68 books5,531 followers
Megan Abbott is the Edgar®-winning author of the novels Die a Little, Queenpin, The Song Is You, Bury Me Deep, The End of Everything, Dare Me, The Fever, You Will Know Me and Give Me Your Hand.

Abbott is co-showrunner, writer and executive producer of DARE ME, the TV show adapated from her novel. She was also a staff writer on HBO's THE DEUCE. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times, 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, SUNY and the New School University and has served as the John Grisham Writer in Residence at The University of Mississippi.

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 is currently developing two of her novels, Dare Me and The Fever, for television.

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5 stars
2,271 (15%)
4 stars
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3 stars
5,081 (33%)
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815 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,924 reviews
Profile Image for karen.
3,978 reviews170k followers
June 24, 2018
a moment alone, i would steal a peek in dusty's room, clogged with the cotton smell of baby powder and lip gloss and hands wet with hair spray. her bed was a big pink cake with faintly soiled flounces and her floor dappled with the tops of nail polish bottles, with plastic-backed brushes heavy with hair, with daisy-dappled underwear curled up like pipe cleaner, jeans inside out, the powdery socks still in them, folded-up notes from all her rabid boyfriends, shiny tampon wrappers caught in the edge of the bedspread, where it hit the mint green carpet. it seemed like dusty was forever cleaning the room, but even she herself could not stop the constant, effervescing explosions of girl.

megan abbott, will you marry me??

i am pretty sure this is her first non-neo-noir book, and it is just as good as queenpin, in a totally different way, and it is making me want to go and get all her other noir-type books and just read them in my jammies while eating honey-toast.

this book has the secrets of girlhood spilled all over it. the longing, the cusping, the shimmering liquid period between scab-picking and training bras.the hopeless infatuations and the puppy-dog electra posturings.

i'm not going to lie - she likes to pack her sentences, but to my tastes, that is perfect, as anyone who has ever read one of my book-reports must know.i love a good packed sentence, as long as it works, you know? it is not meandering the way that proust is, but she builds her sentences by slipping in nouns and adjectives in such frequently surprising ways, you will want to sit up and pay attention.

at its most reductive, it is a story about a girl who goes missing.

but it is so filled with nuance about the rite of passage of girls, it makes me nearly cringe with remembrances. the idolization of the older sister, the sex-as-gratitude, the just-coming-into focus view of the adult world with its rules and its secrets, the whispery nights of two girls mashed in the same sleeping bag, legs tangled together,wistfully whispering secrets, the yearning for everything to happen RIGHT NOW, the half-remembered incidents suddenly showing their true significance.and the easily shoved-aside lurking horrors.

it missed five stars only slightly. there was a dip, for me, at the 3/4 mark, where i just thought it got a little muddled and weighted down, but that is just a personal glitch in me, because then it rose like an amazing phoenix to deliver one last kick in the balls, and there was this amazingly perfect revelation with that click in the throat of the realization that sent my mind on waves of "oh my god - and that means - ohhhhhh, but....ahhhh"

i have not read lovely bones, but i assume that is a less-well-written read-alike. but i have read a million other books that are similar, people love to write books about girls going missing and all.

but this one is just gorgeous. so if you are going to read one book about girls gone missing and horrible stuff probably happening to them, it should be this one.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Amy.
821 reviews19 followers
November 7, 2011
I did not like this book. I found it disturbing. In a time when so many men are accused of sexually abusing young girls, to have a book centered on 13 year olds who are consumed with their relationships (or lack thereof) with older men, fathers, etc. just to me was off the mark. I was offended when the young girl "offered" herself to the man who didn't kidnap her but she willingly went with him.....all so she could experience the single love of a man as she rivals for her father's attention with her sister. This was NOT what I expected the book to be about and was very disappointed.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,919 reviews10.6k followers
May 27, 2014
Teenage neighbors Lizzie and Evie are thick as thieves. When Evie disappears, Lizzie's world is shaken to its foundations. Who was driving the maroon car Lizzie saw circling the block when Evie was abducted and does he have a connection to Evie's disappearance? And will Evie be found alive?

I initally discovered Megan Abbott through her noir works like Queenpin, after hearing people mentioning her in the same breath as Christa Faust. While her latest books haven't been noir, she sure paints a dark picture of what life as a teenage girl is like.

The End of Everything is about what happens to a child's family after the child is abducted. The Ververs and their friends and neighbors cope in different ways. Mrs. Verver hits the pills. Dusty Verver, Evie's sister, gets even bitchier than normal. And Mr. Verver leans on Lizzie, the neighbor girl who happens to be Evie's best friend. And Lizzie takes it upon herself to unravel what happened.

Even in the suburbs, evil is afoot, something Lizzie gradually pieces together. She makes some questionable choices but I can't imagine things going a different way if I were in her place. Her dealing with Evie's disappearance makes The End of Everything something of a coming of age tale. The entire cast gets tossed into the crucible and not a one comes out unscathed.

This book reads like one of those cheesy Lifetime made for TV movies, only deadly serious and written by the literary offspring of S.E. Hinton and Richard Stark. To paraphrase something I've said before, I'd rather be an expendable partner in a Parker caper than be a teenage girl in one of Megan Abbott's novels.

There's not a whole lot more I can tell without spoiling any of the details. Things went down about the way I thought they would but that didn't make things any less chilling. If there's one thing I took from this novel, it's that I do not want to father girls. If you have a male child, you only have to worry about one penis. If you have a girl, you have to worry about all of them.

Four out of five stars. The Megster ran wild on me again this time.
Profile Image for Anke.
129 reviews9 followers
June 26, 2012
I can't decide how to rate this book - very good? Very bad? It certainly is well-written and has some beautiful prose, some very good descriptions of the confusing times when you are 13 and everything in the world seems to be shifting and changing. I stayed up way too late to finish it in one go because the book gave me a sense of mounting dread that made me want to read on.

At the same time, it is extremely disturbing. I can't make up my mind whether what bothers me is the limited, self-centered, naive world view of the narrator who does not fully process the immensity of the events around her, or whether it is the feeling that the author makes it all seem a bit too harmless, and too much like the girls' fault. Maybe the idea is to read the truth between the lines. Maybe the author wants to show that the narrator's mind only allows her to see what she wants to see, that she is too removed from the reality of men of her father's generation to understand what is going wrong here. Then again, maybe the conflict was a size too big for the author. I'm still undecided.
Profile Image for Trudi.
615 reviews1,412 followers
February 18, 2013

Can you remember the first time you ever had the wind knocked out of you? I was about ten. I was playing with my cousins out in their front yard. There was this fence that ran about 2 feet off the ground that we liked to walk along, imagining tight ropes and balance beams. It was during one of these wobbly walks when my ten year old body lost its balance and I came crashing down hard upon that low fence. It caught me right across my stomach where my diaphragm lives.

In a swift "whoosh" all the air was pushed out of my lungs. Every bit of it, or it seemed so at the time. I fell over onto the ground curled protectively around myself. In a blinding moment of sheer panic that exploded into terror, I found I couldn't actually catch my breath. As hard as I tried, I could not breathe in and in those few seconds of sickening realization, I was sure I was going to die. It's one of the clearest childhood memories I have.

Reading Megan Abbott's version of a coming-of-age tale shot through with dark secrets and unbidden impulses is like getting the wind knocked out of you for the first time. It's sudden, inexplicable, frightening and leaves you breathless. When it's all over and done with, you feel a little nauseous, a lot bruised and newly wary of the world surrounding you. It's as if your senses have been heightened, and a forbidden knowledge passed onto you that you don't ever remember asking for, or wanting.

The End of Everything is a story about that tender, delicate, powerful place girls find themselves in before they become women, when they cling to each other like life support systems, sharing breaths, secrets, curiosity and hormones. Hug your daughters close, because I did not need Megan Abbott to grip me by the throat and show me that when our girls are laughing the hardest, and tumbling cartwheels in the sunshine, that is when they are at their most vulnerable. How they yearn for what they cannot name and do not understand, moving towards it like moths to flames, ignorant to the perils, to how much something can burn and leave scars.

Thirteen-year-old Lizzie is our narrator, which makes for a brilliant choice. We see events from her innocent eyes and as she is thinking one thing, we are thinking something else.

This is a sad story, and it is a difficult read. There are many times where you will feel deeply uncomfortable. There are truths here that we do not want to know, do not want to ponder, and for some readers, truths they will not want to remember. But it is also a beautifully constructed piece of prose and if I wasn't a fan of Megan Abbott before now, this novel has clinched it.

P.S. A quick note on the audiobook: I did not enjoy the reader at all. I found the voice too childish, hyper and nails-on-a-chalkboard squeaky. The way she spoke for Mr. Verver really rubbed me the wrong way too. If I could have, I would have finished this in print. Don't listen to this one. Read it.
Profile Image for Debbie "DJ".
352 reviews397 followers
July 14, 2015
WOW! This is the first Megan Abbott book I have read. While this may be more of a 4 star book, it gets a 5 from me! I simply adore Megan Abbott! The beginning of this book had me all smiley and nostalgic. Never have I heard girl pubescence so exquisitely described. The scabs and bruises, the racing abandon, the deep desire to know of the elusive adult secrets. And damn, if Abbott didn't take me right down the road of these secrets. It gets dark, very dark.

The story is told by 13 year old Lizzy. Her best friend is Evie, with whom she is inseparable, Evie's older sister Dusty, who oozes with all things girl, and also Mr. and Mrs. Verver. It is about how Lizzy idolizes their family and is completely drawn into what life is like outside her own. When Evie goes missing, Lizzy thinks she knows Evie to her core, yet can anyone really know another completely, and can she ever know the full dynamics of another's family? To quote Abbott, "And with Evie gone, I can see things have been changing for who knows how long. It was like the scar on her thigh, the one I could feel beneath my own fingers had slithered from my own leg back to hers."

So much centers on Evie's disappearance and what happens after. At times, it reminded me of Lolita. While I haven't read this book, I do know the backstory. What I marveled at was how emotionally advanced girls are at this age. The real power they possess in many ways. How this power cannot be fully understood. Wanting more and not understanding the dangers in the wanting. Abbott shows that girls have a strong intuition, a knowing she infuses throughout this story.

All I can say is I was all smiles in the beginning, then ricocheted into a tale that had my heart pounding and didn't let up! I loved it!
Profile Image for Greg.
1,109 reviews1,843 followers
May 30, 2013
Evie goes missing on May 28th. I finished this book on May 28th. Kennedy's secretary was named Lincoln and Lincoln's was named Kennedy. Weird, right?
Profile Image for Lisa.
678 reviews5 followers
September 12, 2011

I just finished this and honestly don't know how to process it. It was one of the most powerful, quietly disturbing books I've ever read. There is so much there and it leaves you wondering, with so many questions.

I didn't know if I wanted to read this or "Across the universe", so I thought I'd read a chapter of each and then read the more interesting book. I started reading this and forgot "Across the universe" was even an option.

Some people may not like this. Some people may think it moves slowly but I think it was absolutely masterful and breathtaking the way she built everything up. The way the author made every character live and breath so that you felt everything in the end.

It was honestly brilliant the way she told the story from Lizzie's point of view. Lizzie, whose best friend(Evie) disappears. Lizzie, who remembers things that help with the investigation. Lizzie, who does not see things the way they are, at all.

Lizzie is a thirteen year old girl. She is a bit naive and seems to try and see things through rose colored glasses. She was so incredibly well-written.

Evie broke my heart. The things she says went through me like a knife.

The last 50 pages or so were crazy. I honestly don't know what to think for sure. It leaves you with a lot of questions about the way things really were, not just the way Lizzie saw them.

So powerful.

EDIT: I got a little sidetracked when writing this review(I went to get KFC with my boyfriend :P) So I came back to add a few more things.

I just read a few reviews on amazon and saw that a few reviewers compared this book to "The Virgin Suicides" and "The Lovely Bones" and its funny but while I was reading, I kept thinking how it reminded me of those two books. More "The Virgin Suicides" than anything, though.

The writing of this book had the same elegance and sadness as "The Virgin Suicides", as well as that feeling of nostalgia. It reminded me of "The Lovely Bones" because both books deal with people dealing with loss/tragedy.

The writing style also slightly reminded me of "Atonement". I guess because they are both beautifully written books where everything isn't cut and dry.

At first when I saw the cover of this book, I thought it might be Y.A but I'm pretty sure it isn't classified as a Y.A book. Which I can understand in some ways but it's weird how a book written from a 13 year olds perspective is not Y.A. It makes me wonder how people even classify what makes a book young adult and what makes it general fiction.

There is a heavy sense of discovery about sex as well as the power and destructiveness of sex in this book. It is mainly centered around two best friends who are 13 years old. The way the author handles this subject is perfect.

I think the weird thing about this book was that it made me feel like a 13 year old girl again. It is just so beautifully written and REALLY similar to the way "The Virgin Suicides" made me feel(which is an AMAZING book).

I really recommend it.
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,032 reviews1,423 followers
December 4, 2016
Actual rating 4.5 stars.

I read Dare Me by Megan Abbott earlier this month and, since then, have been collecting everything she has even penned in the hopes of binge reading all of them over the coming months. Both Megan Abbott and the dark contemporary genre are quickly proving to be my new favourites.

When Lizzie's next door neighbor and lifetime best friend, Evie, is abducted everything Lizzie thought she knew about herself, her friend and life in general is called into question.

Despite dealing with a much younger protagonist than in Dare Me, the same dark atmospheric quality still permeates the text and the same raw and gritty portrayal of adolescence is still painted.

Abbott is unafraid to push the boundaries of the acceptable and the expected in her fiction. She can appear harsh in her unapologetic representation of young females and the often extreme paths she leads them on. But this is what draws me to her fiction. You know the reading will constantly surprise and the plot will continually wander away from the safe and the expected. If you like fiction that pushes boundaries then Abbott is undoubtedly the one for you!
Profile Image for Erin .
1,229 reviews1,142 followers
February 19, 2020
4.5 Stars

Thriller A Thon: A trope you love


Man, this book is dark. I was so creeped out reading this book and I couldn't put my finger on what I found so creepy.

The End of Everything is not what I thought it would be. Going into this book, I thought I knew where it was going but it turns out I had no clue. This book was never predictable. Even when I thought I had it all figured out this book took some crazy turns.

Can a plot be both slow moving and action packed at the same time?

This was my first Megan Abbott novel but it most certainly will not be my last.

A must read!
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,444 reviews7,531 followers
August 16, 2018
Megan Abbott – you ain’t right . . .

A blurb by Tom Perrotta on the cover of The End of Everything says the following about Abbott: “Megan Abbott writes with total authority and an almost desperate intensity; her story grabs hold of you and won’t let go.” I can’t think of a better way to describe what makes me love reading Megan Abbott’s books. She writes with such urgency, as if the words are clawing their way out and her tales are told with extreme efficiency – every page is used to its maximum capacity and she doesn’t waste time with filler or fluff. And the subject matter she chooses????

The End of Everything is the story of two BFFs, Lizzie and Evie, and the events that take place during 19 days after Evie fails to come home from school. If you’ve read some of the author's YA selections and found them to be a bit lacking in the chills and thrills department, this is the book by Abbott you should read. The limits of taboo are pushed to the extreme by eliminating the YA moniker, but still using not-so-average (I hope) teenage girls as the main characters.

I'm going to be so brazen to say that some of you do not want this book because it is not for the faint of heart. Abbott is not writing sunshine and daisies here. She's offensive. She crosses all the lines of right and wrong. She makes you feel squicky . . . and if you're anything like me she'll leave you wanting more.

The more of Megan Abbott’s books I read, the more I fangirl (if you see signs that I may turn rabid, feel free to put me down Ol’ Yeller style). I love an author who makes me question whether I’m in the right state of mind to delve in to one of their books, and she is one who always has me hovering over the button . . .

Profile Image for Toby.
831 reviews328 followers
September 6, 2012
Megan Abbott really hit this one out of the park.

Everyone's favourite noir pixie takes a step out of her comfort zone with this fantastic contemporary novel. As an award winning aficionado of classic noir tropes, utilised to great effect in period pieces Die a Little, Queenpin and others, Megan Abbott demonstrated her writing style to great effect but with The End of Everything she has taken further leaps towards greatness.

No longer confined by her research in to 50s Americana The End of Everything is a modern tale of lust, revenge, guilt, and my favourite four words; secrets, lies, passions and repressions, that takes it cues from the "social problem" greats of noir history such as Mildred Pierce. Evie, a thirteen year old girl goes missing and everything in the world of her best friend, Lizzie, is changed forever.

Told from the point of view of Lizzie this is not a straightforward read, it is dark and disturbing, it might make you feel icky and dirty, you'll be filled with an unnerving sense of dread because you are not a thirteen year old girl and everything in your bones tells you that this girl is hopelessly wrong and nothing good can ever come of any of her actions.
"...for most 13-year-old girls, life is “noir.” It’s all sex and terror and longing and confusion. Everything feels big and frightening and thrilling. The stakes feel dramatically high and everything feels precarious — it’s a time of heightened everything." - Megan Abbott

This book has drawn comparisons to The Lovely Bones all over the place but I warn you Megan Abbott is not in this game to provide catharsis, she wants to twist your insides in to knots and steal your breath away, this is no easy ride and if you're not questioning yourself and your reaction to the words, the phrases, the tone, the rhythm then you're doing it wrong and I suggest something a little more surface, a little less feeling for your reading from this point on, a little more conventional perhaps.

Abbott wants you to be in Lizzie's world, her usual prose style is heightened to encourage this, from the opening pages you get a real sense of it thanks to wonderful descriptions of sights, sounds, sensations, memories;
"...voices pitchy, giddy, raving, we are all chanting that deathly chant that twists, knifelike, in the ear of the appointed victim." - p1

"...he's the one always vibrating in my chest, under my fingernails, in all kinds of places. There's much to say of him and my mouth can't manage it, even now. He hums there still. p4"

and once you're there Abbott takes you for all she can, you're vulnerable to suggestion now, weak, your defences down and she pulls no punches to the very last; just when you think you've taken all the hits you can another one buries itself deep in your gut as you marvel at the power of the author to make you feel this way without resorting to tired old genre cliche, the literary equivalent of soaring emotive music or removing all forms of doubt and hitting you with a sledgehammer or emotive phrases.

Even now, a day later, my heart is pounding at the thoughts of what I've just read, just experienced and I'm not sure if there's a single book out there that can follow this. After this I may have to retire from reading.

Edit: #1 favourite book read in 2012, originally posted at Blahblahblahgay
Profile Image for Char.
1,634 reviews1,487 followers
May 8, 2017
The End of Everything features some more messed up teenage girls, just like You Will Know Me. I think these young ladies were even worse.
I had fun reading this strange, mysterious, psychologically focused novel.
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,161 followers
October 10, 2017
The writing in this book is brilliant. It's like corduroy or velvet - you can feel it. But, sometimes you don't want to feel it.

The book is the first-person POV of a 13 year old girl whose best friend goes missing. The two girls live next door to each other and are practically inseparable, so everyone is looking to her for answers as to what happened to Evie. We live in this pre-teen's head, Lizzie, as she tries to figure out what happened to her friend.

This gives us an unreliable narrator and we are forced to come to conclusions about certain things ourselves. And, believe me, these conclusions are uncomfortable.

When the boys tease, you don’t want it to be you, but with Mr. Verver, his teases are like warm hands lifting you....

Evie and I pull up our T-shirts to see if we have the treasure trail. That’s what Mr. Verver keeps calling it, treasure trail...

Lizzie talking to her mother:
it seemed like something like this might happen to them. The Ververs.”

“What do you mean?” I say roughly.

“I don’t know,” she says. “There’s always just been something about them…Like something had to break. It could only go on for so long, before something had to break.”

“That doesn’t make any sense at all,” I say, shaking off a flinch deep inside.

Yes, the book needs a giant trigger warning sticker on the cover, but it is also extremely well-written and thought-provoking. Just an amazing book that will make you want to take a Purell bath after reading it.

Profile Image for James Thane.
Author 9 books6,915 followers
October 7, 2011
This book represents a significant departure for Megan Abbott and is really more a literary novel than it is a crime novel. Two thirteen-year-old girls, Lizzie Hood and Evie Verver, are next-door neigbors and best friends in the suburban world of the 1980s. They share everything, including their deepest secrets. Lizzie's father has recently abandoned the family, and Lizzie idolizes the Verver family. She is especially drawn to Evie's father whom she believes is virtually perfect.

The two girls' idyllic world is shattered one afternoon when Evie goes missing. Lizzie was the last person to see Evie and she now finds herself at the center of the investigation into Evie's disappearance. Exhilerated at being in the center of the mystery, Lizzie begins her own search for Evie and for the larger truths of the life that is just beginning to open ahead of her.

Abbott tells the story from Lizzie's perspective as a thirteen-year-old girl, and she does it flawlessly. This is a beautifully-written book that captures convincingly the magic and the mystery of a young girl beginning to come of age in the midst of an enormous tragedy.
Profile Image for Deb.
246 reviews79 followers
July 19, 2011
Huh? If you like a book where you have to read between the lines, try to figure out the innuendos, and keep re-reading passages to see if indeed you did miss something, then this is the book for you.
The only reason I finished it was because it was a super fast read.
The premise of the book is intriguing, which is what made me pick it up at the library when I stumbled upon it. I think it could have been a good creepy story, despite the subject matter and what the author was trying to make us see.
But there was not enough being said, and there was CONSTANT repetitiveness of people's thoughts on nearly every page. For example, the author writes "I promised every time. Every time" and again, "you can never tell. You can never tell", "I can't listen, I can't", "I am waiting. I am waiting", "I open the door. I open the door..."
Really? no other words? all words and descriptions have escaped you?And this is just a tiny sampling from my last reading session when I finished the book. And lastly, it seems the author was going purely for shock value in some of the grotesque descriptions/thoughts in the reading. Shock value is better than no value I guess.
Profile Image for Melki.
5,785 reviews2,340 followers
February 15, 2018
There are probably thousands of "missing child" books out there, and even the most poorly written never fail to terrify. It must be because there are few more horrifying thoughts swirling around the mind of a parent that the dark image of having your child leave home one day and never return.

I will never forget that heart-stopping moment years ago when the school bus pulled up out front and my son DID NOT get off. The phone rang as I was reaching for it, and when I heard my son's voice informing me that he had slipped out the bus door unnoticed at a friend's house, I experienced for the first time that sensation unique to parents everywhere, that "Thank-god-you're-okay-now-get-your-ass-home-so-I-can-kill-you!" feeling.

In this book, 13-year-old Lizzie's best friend, Evie, vanishes after school one day. Sadly, Evie's parents do not get to experience that giddy sensation of relief at finding out it was just a mix-up, everything's okay.

Days pass. Detectives comb the neighborhood. Rumors fly. Interestingly, though Lizzie was the last person to see Evie, she chooses not to tell the police EVERYTHING, though she does point out some cigarette butts in the yard outside Evie's bedroom window.

The story is told by Lizzie. We hear her young girl thoughts and speculations.

How does this man, a man like this, like any of them, come to walk at night and stand in a girl's backyard, and then, smoking and looking up, suddenly find himself helpless to her bright magic?

Those were his cigarette stubs, his left-behind longings and woe.

Though this is technically a crime/ thriller, the book ends up being more about the complexities of human relationships than anything else.

Evie's disappearance may not necessarily be the end of everything, but it is certainly the end of innocence.
Profile Image for Kathie.
27 reviews
November 29, 2011
Everything about this book looked promising and I picked this book up fully intending to become engrossed in it. I was disappointed to say the least. The choppy writing bothered me from the start; Abbott was trying to say too much by saying too little and it simply didn't work.

It was really Abbott's portrayal of Lizzie that ultimately put me off completely. What 13 y/o would deal with the alleged abduction of her lifelong best friend so casually? Lizzie should be upset. She should be doing everything she can to help find her friend; her reactions makes me feel she is the most disturbed character of all - which is saying a lot considering every single person (other than her brother, who is a minor character) had serious issues.

I never understood her reasons for being so secretive with the information she had - I think it was to highlight her desire to dole out information to Mr. Verver in a way that would garner the most attention from him, but that does not explain things like moving the cigarettes or not telling what Evie said to her about "him" before she disappeared.

Also, Lizzie knowing things but not quite being able to grasp them got old fast. It simply wasn't believable unless she lived in a fog.

The dreams were unnecessary and contributed absolutely nothing to the plot.
Profile Image for Kelly.
878 reviews4,019 followers
July 6, 2016
This review talks generally about both Dare Me and The End of Everything and originally appeared on my blog Shoulda Coulda Woulda Books.

Before I start with my thoughts on Meg Abbott’s writing, I should state that from what I can gather, she writes two kinds of books. One are pretty old fashioned hardboiled noir books with female-centered stories of feminine power and violence and appropriately stylized covers, all shadows and curves. The latter are books centered around the fairly privileged lives of middle school and high-school aged girls fighting it out undercover in locker rooms, backyards, bedrooms and hallways. I’m going to be talking about her style in the latter books- I haven’t read any of the former ones (something I plan to correct soon). But I have a feeling that these seemingly wildly divergent tales of female aggression and violence have a lot in common than people would feel entirely comfortable acknowledging.

The two Megan Abbotts I’ve read are The End of Everything and Dare Me. I’m almost annoyed that I have to tell you the plot because I know that’s part of how people decide to read books, even though its so not the point, but here goes anyway. End of Everything‘s protagonist is a thirteen-year-old girl whose best friend and next-door neighbor disappears one night, apparently out of the blue. With the help of our protagonist, Lizzie, the police quickly think they’ve found a suspect in an older man, seemingly a quiet pillar of the community for decades. But although in many books this would be a movie-of-the-week pedophile scare story ripped from the headlines, Abbott takes it in a whole other, super brave direction that I’ll talk about farther down and turns it into something far more powerful that puts a surprising and heartbreaking amount of feminine energy in the driver’s seat. Dare Me focuses on the two queen bees of a high school cheer squad. Beth, the fearless Cool Girl Regina George of the group, and her self-proclaimed “lieutenant” and best friend since elementary school, Addy. Addy is our eyes and ears for the duration of this pivotal-time-in-life story in which their cheer squad gets a coach who is…. complicated and unconventional to say the least, Coach French. She is beautiful and collected and possibly a master manipulator of high school girl minds. Addy develops a close relationship with her, ever closer as the book goes on, while Beth goes on a crusade to oust the Coach from her position and reclaim her former position of power. This obviously sets the girls increasingly against each other for the first time in their lives. There are hints from the beginning of the gigantic pile of mess that sits inside every girl who is even momentarily a part of this tale, and oh man, when those powerful messes combine- well suffice it to say that Captain Planet is not what appears. The fight is not what I just told you the fight is about and that’s all I’m going to say until you read it.

I am sad if anything about the plots I just said encouraged you to immediately discard it. I would encourage you to keep reading for just a little longer, because like I said before whole the plots seem like something you might discard as hackneyed or juvenile, or, more insidiously, “not serious”, they are anything but. I read a great article in The Atlantic recently about how revealing it is when people complain about Elena Ferrante’s book covers, filled as they are with pictures of women in wedding dresses, brushing their hair, holding dolls, playing with their friends in costumes as little girls, and holding babies. Because of course, even people who love the books cry, don’t discourage people to think these books are “just” “chick lit”- people will be embarrassed to read something that looks like a romance novel, something not for “smart” people, “serious” readers. Because we’ve been trained, as a culture, to think less of stories that focus on the every day struggles of women with received cultural ideas and the social, emotional and physical problems this causes in their lives (see also Jennifer Weiner and Judi Picoult on the critical dismissal of “women’s fiction” and Vulture’s recent great article about why Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is the best show on television and will never get the credit that a Mad Men or Breaking Bad will).

Abbott’s books are a great example of stories that would get a wider and more appreciative audience if people were willing to expand their ideas about what plots can make for compelling fiction subjects. If you’re willing to look past surface signals of identity towards the work that’s actually being done, I think you’ll find that Abbott’s books have more in common with all the introspective character studies being given five stars in the NYT than they do with surface, standard High School Story formulas. Hear me out. Here’s my case for her:

1. The writing
2. The writing
3. The writing

I love so many things about her writing. Both of these books are written from the personal perspective of our protagonists- we spend most of our time looking out of their heads, trying to make sense of the world around them. I think that this is the most powerful way to write books about teenagers, especially for adult readers. Because the most important thing, I think, to convey about the teenage experience is the way that teenagers think. And oh man, does she have it down. Her characters are absolutely flooded with feelings every moment of their lives- strong ones that sometimes sharpen them to a knife point of adreneline and discovery, but most often leave them lost and flailing about for any purchase they can find.

Abbott chooses to convey this through a stream-of-consciousness style full of commas and clauses and sentences that change structure before they get to their bottom. I barely noticed the periods most of the time, because the next wave of !!!! was already rushing in behind them whenever they did occur, overflowing with just everything it needs to tell you right now. The excruciating moments of embarrassed silence and stuttering starts and stops and resets that draw adolescents on full speed ahead to a screeching halt showed themselves much more powerfully because of it. Through establishing this rhythm, Abbott is able to get readers to live at the often terrifying pace and intensity of her characters once again.

Then she can hit them with the reminders of what its like to be at an age when you know enough to maneuver the world in a physically independent fashion and mostly perform the basics of human interaction- but also to not know just enough to embarrass yourself in somebody’s eyes in a daily basis. It’s that period where everything you know feels like the most certain thing in the world, but the most certain thing can change from hour to hour depending on the new information you’re always learning and receiving. Or it can stay artificially in place long after you have the information because you don’t want to know it. Her characters feel truth far more often than they think it and for them that doesn’t make it less true. Everything is constantly shifting for them, the goalposts are moving- that is the reality of their world, both mental and physical. Everything does feel like the end all the time because, honestly, it often is- so many things die at this age, over and over again, and everything that these things are being replaced with often seems scarier and harder and you’re not allowed to express that because nothing is worse than seeming like you don’t know everything. Anything, anything is better than admitting your weaknesses and confusions- including hurting yourself and anyone around you.

And before you say “well, fine, but adults know how to deal with their emotions, so this still sounds irrelevant”…. I think that you can’t have looked around at the news lately at all the many, many people who are willing to burn down the world rather than acknowledge change or how sad they are about the way their choices in life turned out, or why the choices someone else makes about their family are so personally threatening to them. The saddest thing I saw lately was just a brief clip, inside a larger story. It was of a large, muscled man with tattoos all over him and the biggest sunglasses he could possibly have found screaming “I LOVE TRUMP!” until he was red in the face and almost crying with the effort of yelling that loud, unable to listen to perfectly reasonable questions being asked of him, and earning slightly scared looks from even other Trump supporters around him. I wish I could find it because it’s just the most heartbreaking example of someone for whom change, uncertainty and conflicting feelings were just too much, someone who is willing to risk anything for the illusion of security.

All this was powerful enough, but I think the bravest part of both books, especially The End of Everything was going beyond how it feels to be inside the mind of a teenager to what it feels like to be inside their bodies. It’s where so much of the mess of the mind originates, for starters, but beyond that, it’s an important subject to acknowledge and deal with in a time when we’re often too puritan or careful about perceptions to do so. Abbott does not shy away from describing, in Dare Me, her characters feeling the strength of their nearly full-grown thighs and arms and hands and ruminating on all the disturbing possibilities of what they can do with these new superpowers they seem to have inherited, feeling simultaneously terrified and excited by them. She also has characters watch them from the outside, trying to get through to these cheerleaders about the horrifying risks they are taking with their bodies, covering themselves with bruises and throwing each other about above steel and concrete and smiling while they do it- and shows how thrilling it is for the characters who realize that others see them this way.

And yes, she does venture into the realm of sexuality. In Dare Me, she largely sticks with the slightly more familiar territory of nearly grown girls testing out what newly grown body parts can gain them and lose them and thinking they can handle the consequences of that, hating themselves every second and telling themselves they are goddesses the whole time. In what is a slight spoiler, I guess (so look away now if you don’t want any hints), there’s a more exciting, subterreanean effort at dealing with fluid sexuality and the penalties friends inflict on each other for not sticking to the script, for exposing perceived weaknesses instead of building points and power. This admission of confusion feels like a personal attack and the characters react to it as such. In End of Everything, I thought she was even braver about dealing with awakening sexuality in very young teens. Yes, the ultimate plot is about the deeply confused, deeply disturbing ways that this struggle can manifest in daylight. Especially when, as far too often happens, no guidance is given by adults who are too deeply embarrassed to acknowledge that their child is- or any children are-making this transition at a younger age than anyone is comfortable with, or are too deeply wrapped up in their own lives to notice what’s happening (the total absence of any adults from the lives of the kids in Dare Me, even at the most adult moments, was particularly powerful- the only ones who really featured strongly were the ones who were in league with them in some way and not acting by “adult” rules- and oh man the stuff to unpack there). But even more quietly enthralling was Abbott’s descriptions of these girls just starting to understand what the feelings in their bodies mean and how they are different from the ones they felt in childhood. She goes about it until you squirm uncomfortably at the utter, helpless, scary cluelessness of her characters who are just acting on what they feel to the best of their ability, with the information they have and messages they’ve received from the (usually terrible) role models available. End of Everything is particularly heartbreaking because of just how young these characters are- it’s all happening before they’ve even developed that hard shell older teenagers have often already learned to present even to themselves. It’s all new at this time and someone could help them and nobody wants to be responsible so they don't- and then what happens happens. Not enough authors deal with this topic, and certainly not enough try to deal with it inside the head of these girls and boys without idealizing them with flowery words that don’t come close to truth or insisting on making it all into an inevitable trauma that they’re just going to have to deal with and we’ll talk to you when you make it to the other side-that is, whichever ones of you survive this (I haven’t read The Fever yet, but that’s next, and from what I’ve read, it seems to take that particular idea to its natural extreme). I think Abbott offered her characters the most precious kind of understanding, as merciless as it can be: just being seen. And she deserves more recognition if only for that.

Of course, I’m not saying everything was perfect. I thought that sometimes her plotting wasn’t as tight as it could have been and the surprises sometimes needed a little more to be really earned- I thought she didn’t get the absolute most out of some of the amazing underground feelings and inner crises going on because she was so focused on hiding them, both from her own characters and the readers (which had some amazing effects discussed above, but could also make the twists feel less earned than they should have been at times). I also loved End of Everything leaps and bounds more than I did Dare Me, which felt a little less authentic and more sensational than I wanted it to, by the end, like she had been guided towards shock and awe. I knew these girls, but not in my bones the way I did with End of Everything, just because of how carefully she described everything. Dare Me was still cast an amazing spell, but all the stuff that makes this one much more likely to become a movie made it a slightly less memorable book for me. As I mentioned, YMMV on Dare Me, depending on how much of an Addy you are in your own life, or at least how much you really want to think about it.

But I personally plan to read The Fever soon, and then all her noir novels and totally encourage you to do the same. Yes, these are girls. But these are girls whose stories and feelings need to be heard and respected, because until we do, all these seemingly hackneyed plots will continue to be written and played out over and over because you know what- they’re still happening, every day.
Profile Image for Carmen.
2,056 reviews1,855 followers
March 29, 2016
Ew. Abbott needs a therapist, I am convinced. In this book a little girl (13) gets kidnapped and raped over and over again by a forty-year-old man and the author seems to think this has something to do with love and that the little girl was asking for it. Deeply sick.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for TheBookSmugglers.
669 reviews1,985 followers
July 20, 2011
(Note: 2 1/2 stars.)

Original review published on The Book Smugglers HERE

Warning! This review contains spoilers!

13-year-olds Lizzie and Evie are next-door neighbours who have been friends their whole lives and are so close, they have no secrets and sometimes they can’t even tell their memories apart. Lizzie, the narrator of this story, is fascinated by Evie’s seemingly perfect family, especially her glamorous older sister Dusty, a beautiful boy-magnet girl and accomplished sportswoman and above all their father, Mr. Verver, a cool and approachable man, the king of the beautiful Verver kingdom. Lizzie’s own family is in disarray, ever since her parents’ divorce, with her mother striking up a relationship with a married man.

Then one day, on the way home from school, Evie disappears. The police and her family are desperate for clues and Lizzie feels something nagging at the back of her mind until she remembers….she remembers a maroon car that had been following them and a whispered conversation with Evie about someone who had been watching her from outside her window, and the cigarette stubs found there prove to be an inestimable clue to the police. It soon becomes clear that Evie has been taken by Mr. Shaw, a married, older man who had been observing her for a while.

In the ensuing days, as she tries to make sense of what is happening, Lizzie searches for more clues about the disappearance and becomes not only the centre of the investigation but also the centre of the Ververs’ Kingdom – as Mr Verver finally gives her all the attention she ever wanted.

I devoured this book in one sitting and it was definitely engaging and intriguing but also extremely disturbing and unsettling. I am in fact, fascinated by The End of Everything and I have been thinking about the book and trying to digest everything I read for the past few days.

First of all, it soon becomes clear that the story is less about the crime itself (Evie’s disappearance) and more about the people that it affects: from Mr. Shaw’s family, left behind to deal with the repercussions of what he has done, to Evie’s own family and above all, Lizzie, her best friend. This is clear in the way that the story progresses really slowly, with Lizzie’s observing everything around her and effectively acting to bring her friend back in one piece. Throughout the story she is adamant that Evie is alive and well and that Mr Shaw has been moved to act by a love that is pure and is taking good care of Evie (isn’t he?).

Because of all that, Lizzie’s narrative is both genius and problematic.

She is the typical 13-year-old on the brink of maturing emotionally and sexually but not quite there yet. Her thoughts are naïve and even romantic. She thinks of Mr Shaw as a knight in shining armour, so in love with Evie that he couldn’t control herself and believes Evie is lucky to be so loved by an older, experienced man. This is obviously extremely unsettling because the reader….the reader knows that this story is anything but a love story. And this is the brilliance behind this narrative choice: Lizzie is an unreliable narrator. Not only because of her age, her naivety and what she doesn’t understand but also because she doesn’t realise how much of her own inner thoughts and secrets seeps into the telling of this story. There is definitely an element of projection there as it is clear that Lizzie has these feelings for an older man herself: Evie’ dad. If at first it seems that he is a role model and a father figure to replace her own father it soon becomes clear that there is something else going on. It is a mixture of wanting to be the centre of attention, period and wanting to be the centre of his attention.

This also sheds some light in how interchangeable the two girls seem to be. Lizzie says they share everything, Lizzie says they have no secrets, they want the same things. Lizzie’s memories are sometimes, Evie’s and Lizzie’s scars are not her own. At one point, Lizzie seems to be saying, for all intents and purposes: here, you lost her, you can have me instead. But can she replace her friend? Is that what she really wants? Is this interchangeability even real? The psychology behind it all is very fascinating and perhaps what kept me glued to the pages.

At the same time there are obvious problems with this narrative choice as well. First of all, the writing. It is really good but at odds with what is supposed to be the age of the narrator. The voice is much more mature than Lizzie is supposed to be and at times this took me right off the story. But I think that what discomfited me the most and makes me wonder is how, because the story is narrated by a naïve, unreliable 13 year old in the 80s, certain things remain unnamed (the setting in the 80s is quite important I think, to explain the lack of awareness?).This story clearly presents a disturbing portrait of things that are not quite right, of things that people won’t talk about or even name. I have nothing against things being open for interpretation but I would argue that even despite the unreliability of this narrator, certain events such as: the culprit being driven by guilt and killing himself in the end; Lizzie’s mother cryptically saying that things are not quite healthy next door; Dusty having serious mental issues, leave no DOUBT in my mind on what we are talking about here: incest as well as paedophilia. And yet the “relationships” between the three girls and older men in this story are constantly framed with the words “love”, “pure” “falling in love or being loved by” older men.

I keep going back and forth about this, wondering if the narrative (again, by Lizzie, a 13 year old girl) and the 80s setting (and the lack of awareness about these issues) are enough to account for how Lizzie interprets these events and therefore it is down to the reader to name things and point fingers? Not to mention that there are enough consequences to some of the people involved in these events (death, loss of innocence, etc) not to make it an issue of metatextual lack of acknowledgment of those issues.

However I do wonder if those choices of narrator and setting aren’t simply a contrived way to provoke and shock? It works…definitely, but to what purpose? Aren’t you sick and tired of reading “fascinating insights” into the “minds of teenagers” and “observations of secretive small town in Anywhere-America” that are invariably grim and dark just so they can be?

Also one last question: isn’t it disturbing how basically all female characters including the teenagers in this book are either attracted to married men or to much older ones and they are all, to one extent or another, victims of/dependent on those men? Lizzie’s mother is a victim of a marriage gone bad and only starts to recover when she meets a new man (married); Lizzie is a victim of a broken home and the lack of a father and a victim of the bad influence of the next door neighbors; Evie and Dusty are victims of their father; Evie is a victim of Mr Shaw (and a willing one disturbingly so); Evie’s mother is a non-entity, a shadow of her husband and even Mrs Shaw who never shows up on page, willingly helps her husband when he is on the run because apparently she can’t control herself or pities him even though he seems to be the worst husband in the world (not to mention a sick pedophile). I mean, how messed up is that? It is worth noting though that maybe this is totally intentional and meant to be one of those searing looks at American Suburban Life in the 1980s with women in their dependent roles with the poor children in the middle of it all and I am being entirely too contemporary in my interrogation of the text.

The End of Everything is dark, disturbing and affecting and I remain undecided as to how I feel about it. I am undecided between singing its praises (good book, well written, provides food for thought) and wanting to throw it against a wall (oh, please Lord of the Books, save me from all this doom and gloom and also from potentially problematic depiction of women, amen).
Profile Image for Mish.
222 reviews97 followers
March 10, 2015
The End of Everything is an incredibly dark, mysterious novel and so unsettling in places. So much so that my heart was pumping so wildly from the intensity, I had to break every so often to get myself under control. Reason being was that the main characters are 13year old girls. They have found themselves in the center of a horrific crime, and caught the eye of a very sick man. They have a mentality of a child. No thought process went though in what they did; just impulsive decisions and/or followed a gut feeling; no thought of the consequences of what might come or happen afterwards.

Megan Abbott is a wonderfully talented writer. Her interpretation of pubescent girls and their enhanced emotions was remarkably accurate. She’s also a considerate and restrained writer to her readers. Some themes many people would find fairly uncomfortable. But when approaching delicate issues like this, Ms. Abbott wasn’t explicit or didn’t feel the need elaborate, but was told in a matter of fact way. As a mother of a young girl, I had full trust in her. In no way did I feel sickly uncomfortable but was completely devastated, and wish I could turn back time for the girls.

This story involves two 13year old girls, Lizzie and Evie, in a confused period where they’re going through many changes, and the role adult males play in their life. They are children and behave like one. They enjoy playing childish game, like cartwheeling on the grass, but they’re body is changing. They’re in awe of Dusty (Evie’s teenage sister); of her shapely curves, how she conducts herself amongst older males, and how they look and admired her. They want what Dusty has. But when it comes to their own body and mind, they are embarrassed of their changing shape and social awkwardness. And with those changes comes the powerful feeling inside them, of desire, jealously, infatuation – finding it hard to explain or make sense of.

Oh, and Mr. Verver, Mr. Verver, Mr. Verver, he’s the one always vibrating in my chest, under my fingernails, in all kind of places. There’s much to say of him and my mouth can’t manage it, even now. He hums there still.

Lizzie and Evie are neighbours and best friend since early childhood. They do everything together; attend the same school, walk home together, like the same sports; they’re at each other’s homes and share their most intimate secrets. Then one day after school, Lizzie makes plans to go with her mother to the local mall. Evie declined the invitation to accompany them, said she would walk home. But unfortunately, Evie didn’t arrive home. Panic spread in the community. What happened to Evie? Did she run away? Was she abducted? The police and Evie’s parents are looking to Lizzie to give them something new to go by.

But I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t.
Somewhere, though, somewhere in my head, in the back pitch of it, there’s something. There’s something, I just can’t reach it.

As Lizzie conducts her own secret investigation and dwell on conversations with Evie before her disappearance. She starts thinking that perhaps Evie wasn’t exactly being truthfully honest with her.

Compelling and thrilling novel. So much more than just a mystery.
Profile Image for Ed.
Author 42 books2,692 followers
January 28, 2019
I'm a fan of Megan Abbott's previous retro-noir titles, and this one takes even bigger risks and longer leaps. Noir is nasty and painful, both in abundant supply here. Life in this 1980s suburb may appear placid on the surface, but the 13-year-old narrator Lizzie soon reveals a toxic mash of pediphilia, incest, and depression. The layered story, poetic diction, and sensitive handling of the tough material are among the hallmarks I admire at work. For some reason, I was reminded of Margaret Millar's best domestic noirs. Not an easy read by any means, The End of Everything should appeal to the fans of literary noirish fiction.
Profile Image for Jo Anne B.
235 reviews18 followers
July 28, 2011
Ewww! The End of Everything normal. What a disturbing book. I thought it sounded interesting- a 13 yr old girl goes missing and her best friend tries to help find her. I didn't expect a book about young girls in love with their father. Who could even write a book on that topic without throwing up. That is how I felt the whole time reading this book.

I kept reading the book because it was well written (albeit about gross subject matter) and I wanted to find out the truth about the missing girl. It is too bad that such good writing was wasted on this book.

All the relationships in this book are perceived in a sexual way. The narrator is Lizzie, the best friend of Evie, the missing girl. Indescribing her relationship with her best friend, it almost seems like she is obsessed with Evie and in love with her. It was like she envied her and wanted to be her. She even said that it was they were so similar sometimes she would wonder where her scar on her knee went when it was really Evie that had the scar. Almost seemed stalkerish. You got the creeps just reading it. Then in describing Evie's sister Dusty, she went on and on about her beauty and big breasts in a sensual way. At one point in the book she said she felt like how a boy would feel looking at those large breasts. Of course when referring to all the teenage boys it was all about how they had to fulfill their needs. She even let one boy pinch her breasts so while he masterbated because he so NEEDED it. Like he couldn't help himself and she was saving him. Everytime she mentioned her mom it was about finding her lingerie or her boyfriend's sock or witnessing him suck her breast. Then the worst of all, the way they were all in competition for Evie and Dusty's father in a sexual way! What is wrong witht these people?

When we find out the truth about Evie's disappearance, I was even more disturbed and creeped out. There is quite a twist that just makes it worse than what the reader was expecting. But then again, it is right on par with this book. You just get disgusted and ask how can people be like that?

This was like the reverse of a pedophile story since it wasn't the adults that wanted the sex, it was the young girls pining for the love of a father. How disturbing! And it seemed so real, like who could make a story like this up. It might be something from the author's past and if so I hope she has sought therapy for it. Maybe this book was part of that treatment. Letting the truth all out. I would much rather think that than her being able to imagine this.Who would even want these thoughts in their head?

The writing was good so I am not against reading another book by this author. But let's change the subject.

I am going to read a religious book next to hopefully restore my faith in humanity.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Bill Kupersmith.
Author 1 book196 followers
August 11, 2017
My new book choices had been a succession of unsatisfying false starts so I read a book that needed revisiting by an author I love. And it didn't hurt that I've just finished the first draft of a novel about field hockey players. I’d read The End of Everything before Megan Abbott published her brilliant Dare Me, which taught me that you're on your second or third reading before you begin to find out what her novels are actually about. I’d first read The End of Everything as a “girl-is-missing” story told rather confusingly from the POV of “girl-in-peril’s” 13 y/o BF and found the denoument of what happened to Evie sort of phlutt - okay, but her 17 y/o sister Dusty seemed rather a loose end. Now I’ve realized that when you find a seeming “loose-end” in Megan Abbott, that’s your first clue to what the story is really about. With Dare Me it was wondering what Beth was trying to do and why in that climactic 2-2-1 stunt, here it is what was really going on in the Verver family. Reading with an eye to the “family romance” with Mr. Verver @ the center made the rivalries between the sisters and between the BFs emerge. In Lizzie we have a favorite kind of unreliable narrator, someone a little too naive to understand quite what it going on next door and how it involves her, but is appealingly honest and straight-forward in sharing her perceptions. And yes, what is occurring next door could indeed be out of Greek mythology and Classical tragedy. How often, I wonder, do we witness such things in “real life”? At school we notice that an Evie didn’t go out for JV hockey or that a Beth quit the cheer squad and think, “I wonder why she did that?” When only a Euripides could have told us. At her best, Megan Abbott is as good as that.
September 14, 2016
How do I feel about this book?

I feel like I need to take a shower. Even a week later. I feel grimy, I feel dirty and I feel like that is exactly what Megan Abbott was going for when she wrote this.

To tell you the truth I disliked this for the first half. I nearly put it down. I don't generally do *mysteries* because I just need to know what happened NOW. None of this it floats off at the back of my mind somewhere, only to disappear out of my grasp at the last second bullshit.

But after taking ages to make it halfway, I positively flew through the last half and while I didn't love that ending, it made up for a lot of the nothing that was at the start of the book.

The writing is incredible. It's raw and ragged, even when it's prattling on about insignificant things.

All in all, I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it and I'd try more of her work in the future if only to see how far she pushes things next time around....

3 you'll-never-be-loved-like-this-again Stars
Profile Image for samantha  Bookworm-on-rainydays.
278 reviews118 followers
April 10, 2017
It was a ok book. Could've been laid out better and been a great story. It drug on and on and you expect something to happen then nothing! And it's just over
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Yigal Zur.
Author 10 books126 followers
April 15, 2019
beautifully written. very creepy subject -love of young girls to grown up men. but Abbott making it in amazing way, with deep understanding of emotions of girls on the verge of being women. it took me a while to get into it but once in it got hold till the spin in end. great work of writing.
Profile Image for Lynn.
1,608 reviews48 followers
September 29, 2015
Very disturbing topic but beautifully written. I had happily forgotten what it was like to be 13. I hope I can forget again.
Profile Image for Amos.
646 reviews76 followers
June 7, 2021
Another disturbing yet enjoyable romp through the minefield that is adolescent girls on the cusp of womanhood, as filtered through the decidedly dark imagination of Megan Abbott.
Four Creepy Stars, Yo
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