Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
She blinded me with science!
Kit Owens is a bright high school girl didn’t think much about her future until she met Diane Fleming when Diane’s dreams of a career in chemistry rub off on her. The two young women become both study buddies and rivals that push each other to excel until Diane confides a dark secret that shatters their friendship. Years later Kit is working in a lab and hoping to score one of the few slots available in a prestigious project when Diane is hired by her boss. Kit struggles to deal with the return of Diane to her life, and the fallout from that has unintended consequences.
Mighty Megan Abbott takes on a lot in this one and delivers on almost all of. What’s most impressive to me is how well she establishes the tone for each aspect. Whether it’s detailing Kit’s life with limited prospects as an underachieving kid in a dead-end town or getting into the nuances of the cutthroat politics hidden under a thin veneer of civility in the lab you completely understand and buy into every bit of it. When Abbott has Kit realizing how close she is to either achieving a critical next step in her career resulting in a vastly improved lifestyle or is about to come up short after all her hard work to get there you know exactly what’s driving her.
At the heart of all it is this complex relationship between Kit and Diane, and that’s where the noir part comes into it. I especially liked the revelations at the end that explain so much of what occurred throughout the rest of the novel.
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