Wednesday, 5 September 2018

You Will Know Me

I've been meaning to try Megan Abbott's books for years and finally the Popsugar challenge gave me a push to pick one up. Devon Knox is a rising gymnast star, introduced to the sport when she lost two toes to a mower as a toddler. Katie and Eric Knox would do anything for their daughter taking long hours at the gym and debt in their stride.

That was what gymnastics did, though. It aged girls and kept them young forever at the same time.

You Will Know Me explores the obsession and drive to succeed in the competitive world of gymnastics and the parents who steer their children's paths in life. Devon has real chance at the Olympics and her parents push the local gym to improve, Eric schmoozing the "booster moms" to get what he wants. They all love Devon. She raises them all up. But a shadow is cast over the tight-knit gymnast community when a young man is killed in a hit and run.

Ryan, boyfriend of the gym owner's niece, all round nice guy who all the moms and gymnasts love. Suspicion is cast, threatening the training schedule at a crucial time.

Devon is portrayed as the perfect daughter, innocent and compliant, only interested in gymnastics. The incident with her toe is crucial, her parents have an underlying guilt over it and it is also her Achilles heel. She has an innate natural talent though, and not all the girls will be as good as her, no matter how much they train, this is the reality of sport at the top level.

But things aren't perfect, as as the story progresses, you realise there were things missing from her life. Gymnastics is all consuming and she's not getting the same life experiences as others her age. I really liked that it was told from the mother's perspective, showing how parents often don't know much about what's going on in their children's heads. It felt like a young adult story but told from a parental point of view.

The things you want, you never get them. And if you do, they're not what you thought they'd be. But you'd still do anything to keep them. Because you'd wanted them for so long.

My heart broke for Drew, Devon's little brother. He is so smart and kind, but he takes a back seat to his sister at all times. He's not treated badly per se, but he is overlooked repeatedly.

I think the reader is supposed to suspect Devon from the start, she's just too perfect. There are hints and then doubts are introduced. The joy is in the journey to find out what really happened, and I'm still not sure you really get to know the true Devon by the end. You would get a lot more out of it if you're a fan of gymnastics. I recognised most the terms but it's just not particularly interesting to me. I would read another of her books though.

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: 19. A book about or involving a sport

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Book Source: Purchased

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