Primary Genre(s): Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Published: 17 Jul 2018 by Little, Brown and Company
Page count: 352
My Format: Audiobook via Overdrive
Pacing: First good, then slow
Would I recommend it: Maybe
Commission Link: Buy on Amazon
My rating: ★★☆☆☆
Synopsis from Goodreads
You told each other everything. Then she told you too much.
Kit has risen to the top of her profession and is on the brink of achieving everything she wanted. She hasn’t let anything stop her. But now someone else is standing in her way – Diane. Best friends at seventeen, their shared ambition made them inseparable. Until the day Diane told Kit her secret – the worst thing she’d ever done, the worst thing Kit could imagine – and it blew their friendship apart.
Kit is still the only person who knows what Diane did. And now Diane knows something about Kit that could destroy everything she’s worked so hard for.
How far would Kit go, to make the hard work, the sacrifice, worth it in the end? What wouldn’t she give up? Diane thinks Kit is just like her. Maybe she’s right. Ambition: it’s in the blood…
I keep trying different psychological thrillers hoping to find one that will blow me away. This book did not fit the bill. I’ve read that this author writes fantastic thrillers, so I definitely wanted to give her a try, but I think I picked the wrong book to start with. Here are my pros and cons:
- This was at least a good attempt at depicting how secrets (and we are talking profound ones here) can impact the confessor and the recipient of the confession. On the author page on Goodreads, Megan Abbott (the author) states the following about this book: “I was compelled by the notion of the burden that sharing a secret can be on the person hearing it. The notion that, when someone confesses a secret to someone else, then the person who hears the confession has to carry the weight of that darkness with them. It fascinates me! It’s almost like, by confessing, the confessor feels better, but the recipient feels worse…and faces a moral quandary!” I’m not sure the author was wholly successful with incorporating this idea into her novel (see Cons 4 and 5 below) but you can tell the attempt was there.
- I enjoyed the Then/Now format of the book.
- I liked that the female characters were highly intelligent, even if they were flawed in other ways. It is nice to read books about women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.
- Both girls told each other secrets, but only one secret seemed to be a big deal through the majority of the book. However, we do find toward the end of the story that there was a little twist with one of the secrets… and that at least gave me a teeny tiny “a-ha” moment.
- The book started out strong and interesting, but then got quite slow and dull.
- This is one of those books where you basically know everything that is going on, so the author has to maintain interest by writing about how people are affected by, or react to, the same knowledge that the reader has. I’ve read books where this is done very well. I don’t think it was done well in this book because ultimately I wasn’t interested.
- I really felt like the book became a bit repetitive, convoluted, and boring (which is sad considering this was portrayed as a thriller). Some of the situations in the book were just unbelievable and borderline silly.
- Considering the author’s statement above (see Pro #1), I didn’t feel like the “weight of that darkness” was strong enough in Kit’s character. When she first hears the confession it does impact her quite a bit and she obviously struggles with how to handle the knowledge. However, I don’t feel like that struggle carried on into her adult life quite as much as the author may have intended. I think the story would have been better if that “struggle” had continued through the book in a much more intense way.
- To me, the relationship between Kit and Diane was more competitive than anything else. I felt like Kit should have been experiencing fear or rage or even a desire for justice when Diane reappeared in her life! Instead, we mainly got jealousy. That was a missed opportunity in my opinion.
- I’m not sure how the PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) subject was meant to impact the story. It almost seemed to lean toward being an excuse for Diane’s behavior (or the behavior of women in general?), but ultimately was not. The synopsis for the book (above) even ends with “Ambition: it’s in the blood…” Was it supposed to be a statement that all women are basically controlled by their menstrual cycles? I don’t know where the author was going with all of that, but the whole PMDD thing seemed to be a bit of smoke and mirrors to me that didn’t quite work.
- I didn’t feel like the characters were developed enough. I don’t feel like I got enough information about Diane at all, and Kit definitely could have been fleshed out more. I really felt like I needed more back story and a better understanding of the “WHY” of their personalities and issues. I’m the kind of reader that can’t/won’t just accept most things on face value, especially if the things I’m being asked to accept are exceptionally strange or atypical, particularly related to people and their actions. I really need that foundation and I didn’t get that here. Therefore, I didn’t feel invested in Kit or Diane at all.
- The ending was meh. All the buildup was a bit peculiar and implausible, but at least there was somewhat of a happy ending… I guess. Like I said… meh.
- The writing was full of similes and metaphors that were just crazy! Super overwritten.
- Did I miss something in the story that explained why the book is called Give Me Your Hand? I don’t get how the title is relevant to the book.
I obviously have way more cons than pros here, but honestly, I didn’t totally hate the story. It was just okay for me – thus the 2-star rating. I probably wouldn’t recommend this book to many people, unless they are super fans of Megan Abbott.
I think I might be getting desensitized to “thrillers” in general since they seem to be pretty formulaic and weak to me lately. I haven’t really found one that knocks my socks off in several months – but I know they are out there! I will keep hunting for that 5-star thriller! Any recommendations?
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