Monday, July 6, 2020

DARE ME: A Novel: Teen Cheerleader Sex and Seduction

We've written about Dare Me's USA television series adaptation. And we've written about Megan Abbott's, the author's, other novel The End of Everything. Now we'll peruse Dare Me - the novel.

Here's part of the novel's plot summary from the author's website:

Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy's best friend and trusted lieutenant. Beth calls the shots and Addy carries them out, a long-established order of things that has brought them to the pinnacle of their high-school careers. Now they're seniors who rule the intensely competitive cheer squad, feared and followed by the other girls -- until the young new coach [Coach Colette French] arrives [...] The raw passions of girlhood are brought to life in this taut, unflinching exploration of friendship, ambition, and power. 

The novel is very similar to the series but with some interesting changes. For example, a lipstick lesbian affair between Beth and Addy could be inferred in the novel, but it was apparent in the series. 

A popular fetish is fantasizing about teen cheerleaders. And Addy, the novel's 16-year-old narrator, shared: "All those misty images of cheerleaders frolicking in locker rooms, pom-poms sprawling over bare bud breasts. All those endless fantasies and dirty boy-dreams, they're all true, in a way."

By page 16, the first example of an age-gap affair appears: "Brinnie's slutty sister got caught making out with the assistant custodian [...]"

Addy shared some bawdy details about Beth: "She rides horses, has a secret library of erotic literature [...] In eighth grade, no, summer after, at a beer party, Beth put her scornful little-girl mouth on Ben Trammel, you know where. [...] He was grinning, holding her head down, gripping her hair [...]

Like in the USA series, Beth made a wager with RiRi, her cheer mate, to see who could be the first to seduce Sarge Will, an on-campus military recruiter, who was described as: "[...] handsome in a way unfamiliar to us. A grown-up man, a man in real life." 

RiRi tried: "[...] leaning [...] arms pressed tight against either side of her breasts, framing them V-like and drawing one foot up her other leg, like she says men like." However, Beth said, "I find they [i.e., men] like it when I lift my cheer skirt over my head."

In addition, to RiRi and Beth, Addy shared: "All the [high school] girls are hurling themselves at him [...]"

Addy shared: "Beth is the dark mistress of such nights and seems always to know where the secret house party is [...] [where] college boys are so glad for girls like us, who never ask them even one question ever." 

Recently, we wrote about summer camp teen sexcapades; thus, it wasn't surprising to learn that, the summer after seventh grade, Beth received a "ringlet of hickeys from a counselor". But we were shocked to learn of girls sharing stories of "kissing their babysitters"!

Like in the USA series, the cheerleaders, including the 14-year-old JV cheerleaders, attended a hotel party with members of the military: "Because it's all okay because these are [Sarge] Will's men [...] one of them is pressing our heads together, wanting us to kiss [...] the Comfort Inn on Haber Road! - better still these men, grown men, Guardsmen [...]" And Addy narrated: "Who am I not to curl under their hard, angled arms?" 

In the USA series, with her consent, Corporal Prine, performed oral sex on Beth. But in the novel, Beth performed oral sex on Corporal Prine: "[He put his] hand on the back of my head and shoved it down there and kept saying, "Do me, cheerleader. Do me." But very interestingly, Beth said, "I made him make me. And he did. Can you believe he did?" And Beth shared that she and the Corporal had sex: "He held my head, he bent my legs back, he did it to me, Coach."  

Beth, the high school cheerleader's captain, had some interesting motivational techniques: "Give 'em the best blow-job smile you got. Turn it on, on, on." And: "Brace those arms. Bolt those knees. Look at that crowd like you're about to give them the best piece of ass they ever had. Sell it."

In the end, the bet between RiRi and Beth about who could be the first to seduce Sarge Will led to a death.

Lastly, from the author's website: "Award-winning novelist Megan Abbott, writing with what Tom Perrotta has hailed as "total authority and an almost desperate intensity," provides a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl."

And New York Magazine opined in the Highbrow\Brilliant section of "The Approval Matrix" (August 6, 2012): "Megan Abbott's Dare Me hurtles past the glitter and angst of high school cheerleading, right to the bruising inner-struggles of adolescence."

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