Book Review : Give Me Your Hand

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★★★★★

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A mesmerizing psychological thriller about how a secret can bind two friends together forever…or tear them apart.
Kit Owens harbored only modest ambitions for herself when the mysterious Diane Fleming appeared in her high school chemistry class. But Diane’s academic brilliance lit a fire in Kit, and the two developed an unlikely friendship. Until Diane shared a secret that changed everything between them.
More than a decade later, Kit thinks she’s put Diane behind her forever and she’s begun to fulfill the scientific dreams Diane awakened in her. But the past comes roaring back when she discovers that Diane is her competition for a position both women covet, taking part in groundbreaking new research led by their idol. Soon enough, the two former friends find themselves locked in a dangerous game of catand-mouse that threatens to destroy them both.

Friendship gone wrong, dark secrets, murder, feminism and science – this book was basically written for me.

I’ve never read a book written by Megan Abbott before, though I’ve heard so much about her and about her complex female characters and the dark, twisted friendships they share. I wanted to start with Dare Me, but somehow I never ended up actually reading it – but now it’s absolutely on the top of my TBR. Because Give Me Your Hand seriously blew my mind and now I want to read everything this author ever wrote. That’s how good it was, everyone!

This story is about Kit and Diane, who have been high-school friends and then drifted apart after Kit found out a very disturbing thing about Diane. Even though, they drifted apart and they don’t see each other for a very long time, Kit keeps on thinking about Diane constantly due to that dark secret bonding them, Kit didn’t share it with anyone for years, therefore becoming somewhat Diane’s accomplice.

They both end up becoming scientists, which was super cool and refreshing to see, I loved spotting the right terminology and some feelings that I share whenever I’m thinking about getting into the field (like how women aren’t taken seriously enough, how there’s a lot of inequality as in men being seen as more competent and women having to work so much more for their accomplishments to be recognized).

They reunite when Dr. Severin decides to conduct a research on PMDD, which is a lot like PMS, but the symptoms are more serious. In this book, it’s depicted as having a connection with different violent actions committed by women, from murders to arsons and so on. It was very interesting and I want to give kudos to Abbott for choosing such a subject that’s almost unknown to underline how sexist it is that period is still a taboo, that PMS-ing is seen as a joke and nobody seems to want to invest money into research to make women’s lives easier. Not cool, guys. Not cool. I’m side-eyeing here.

It was very twisted and dark, I just wanted to figure out what happened because the story was told back and forth from past to present. From high-school days to present days. And it was interesting to see the friendship between those two evolving, getting ruined and then seeing them be very angsty and messy with each other in the present (well, more on Kit’s side, to be honest).

“Because the bad things you do become part of you, literally. This is no metaphor. They become part of you on a cellular level, in the blood.”

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“My mom always says, you don’t have a self until you have a secret.”

Diane’s character was very unique and it will probably haunt me for a long time, how her childhood shaped her to who she became, how everything impacted her, how she is a very morally ambiguous character. And even though she makes some dubious decisions, I still rooted for her, I was very interested in seeing her story. I feel like Give Me Your Hand was shaped around three very strong women and the way they lived in the in-betweens, they weren’t only black or only white, they were gray and that was the exciting thing about them.

I would recommend it to anyone who loves tales of twisted friendships, with complex morally ambiguous female characters and lots of feminist themes.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan for sending me a review copy of this book, this hadn’t influenced my review or my rating in any way.

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Have you read anything by Megan Abbott?

What are some of your favorites books with morally ambiguous female characters?

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9 thoughts on “Book Review : Give Me Your Hand

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