Publisher: Little Brown
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.
Much like Abbott’s previous novel, Dare Me this book explores the world of teenage girls, but this time instead of cheerleading, it’s the cutthroat world of gymnastics. I’ve always been totally intrigued by gymnastics, though it’s nothing I’ve ever attempted myself, and though I thought I knew just how brutal this industry can be, You Will Know Me was an real eye opener for me.
Katie and Eric’s daughter, Devon is the rare type of gymnast that only comes along once in awhile. She could be an Olympian one day and her parents have dedicated their entire lives to ensure her success. Things are told from Katie’s point of view, which is a bit different for Abbott, but for the most part I liked this approach. The strain and pressure that Devon is under to be such an elite athlete is crazy, but her parents are bearing the weight of the world on their shoulders as well. There is a heavy financial strain, countless hours lost driving to practice and meets, fellow parents that are intense and jealous, and the worst part of all (for me at least) is that Devon’s younger brother, Drew is pretty much forgotten about.
My favorite part of this book was the look into this insane world. The families at the gym Devon is a part of were morbidly fascinating. Everyone is very close, it’s a tight knit community, but at the same time everyone is uber competitive. You have families that are literally sacrificing everything for their daughters, at any and every expense you can dream of. When someone closely related to the gym is killed, things ramp up even more and the tension is palpable.
The mystery aspect here didn’t work so great for me, I found it a tad predictable. Had I not been so caught up by the gymnastics, I probably would’ve been more disappointed.I wasn’t very satisfied by the ending either, and as a whole I would’ve liked to see a little more depth in the characters, maybe this is due to everything being told from Katie’s perspective, I’m not sure. I wasn’t a big fan of the majority of the characters either, Devon especially was so cold, she always had a laser like focus even when she was at home and school. I had a huge soft spot for poor little Drew though.
Abbott’s writing style is razor sharp and intense and there was an underlying sense of dread throughout, which undoubtedly made me give her a pass for a so so “twist”. If you’re already a fan of Abbott’s then you’ll enjoy this I think. Or if you want to read a very dark book about the competitive world of gymnastics, give this a try. But if you want a surprising mystery, this isn’t it.
Overall rating: 3.5/5
Thanks to Little and Brown for my review copy.