Author: Megan Abbott
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: G.P. Putnam Sons
Publication Date: August 3, 2021
Book Description: Bestselling and award-winning author Megan Abbott’s revelatory and mesmerizing new novel set against the hothouse of a family-run ballet studio.
With their long necks and matching buns and pink tights, Dara and Marie Durant have been dancers since they can remember. Growing up, they were homeschooled and trained by their glamorous mother, founder of the Durant School of Dance. After their parents’ death in a tragic accident nearly a dozen years ago, the sisters began running the school together, along with Charlie, Dara’s husband and once their mother’s prized student.
Marie, warm and soft, teaches the younger students; Dara, with her precision, trains the older ones; and Charlie, sidelined from dancing after years of injuries, rules over the back office. Circling around one another, the three have perfected a dance, six days a week, that keeps the studio thriving. But when a suspicious accident occurs, just at the onset of the school’s annual performance of The Nutcracker—a season of competition, anxiety, and exhilaration—an interloper arrives and threatens the sisters’ delicate balance.
Taut and unnerving, The Turnout is Megan Abbott at the height of her game. With uncanny insight and hypnotic writing, it is a sharp and strange dissection of family ties and sexuality, femininity and power, and a tale that is both alarming and irresistible.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Review: I am a huge Megan Abbott fan, as she consistently surprises me in each of her books. The Turnout did not disappoint at all. Set in a competitive dance studio, sisters Marie and Dara along with Charlie run a top ballet school, where students go on to become professionals dancers.
Marie and Dara grew up in a ballet family. When their parents die in a tragic accident they assume the role of taking over their beloved mother’s studio. Charlie who was loved by this family marries Dara after the accident and helps run the studio after he is sidelined from his dreams of dancing.
When a small fire occurs in one of their studios, right at the start of Nutcracker season, they bring in a contractor that comes highly recommended. Instead of just pitching an updated studio, the contractor bring in a much larger project, of making a studio every little girl would dream of. They reluctantly decide to make the upgrades, but quickly things start to fall apart, in the studio and the cracks spread to their family.
This book has a bit of a build-up, but when you get to the last 30% it goes off the rails in a satisfying way. Nothing is what it appears and it will have your head shaking. If you like an unconventional thriller, this will hit the mark.
Thank you NetGalley and G.P. Putnam’s Sons for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.