Another Great Thriller From Megan Abbott

Give Me Your Hand - Megan Abbott

Megan Abbott has received rave reviews for her previous novels especially You Will Know Me and The Fever. Her knack for creating engrossing plots with complex characters is evident again in her newest work, Give Me Your Hand. Abbott manages to weave a taut, addictive tale while also addressing many timely themes and contemporary issues.  In this book, just some of the topics she touches upon: symbiotic/parasitic friendships, the stigma of mental illness, guilt and self-punishment, gender inequality in the STEM fields (both as a focus of research and in workforce representation), lack of NIH funding, class privilege and cronyism, and competition between women.  Give Me Your Hand takes place in a medical research lab staffed primarily with male post-docs. Kit, the main character, and their boss Dr. Severin are the only women, even though the focus of the study is PMDD (Premenstrual Dysmorphic Disorder).  The staff are vying for spots on Dr. Severin’s special team, an opportunity that could cement their careers.  They are all dismayed to see a new female employee entering their fold, especially Kit.  It turns out that Diane Fleming is not only fierce competition for the limited slots, she and Kit have a shared history that contains a disturbing and life-altering secret.  The novel pivots back and forth in time between the drama in the lab and the background story of how Kit and Diane met and became enmeshed as teens.  Abbott cleverly keeps the reader guessing and glued to the pages.  She challenges traditional ideas of ethics, especially for women who have been marginalized and forced to fight for advancement and recognition.  A page turner that also provokes deep contemplation, Give Me Your Hand is a great pick for the summer.  It will certainly reaffirm Megan Abbott’s deserved popularity and create anticipation for her next endeavor.