BOOK CLUB: Give Me Your Hand

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Author: Megan Abbott
ISBN: 9781509855711
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: 31 July 2018
Publisher: Picador – Pan Macmillan
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

Give Me Your Hand is the first book that I have read by Megan Abbott and it was certainly a mind-game read. I enjoyed the story right from the beginning, I found it intense but not gripping.


There is a lot to love about Give Me Your Hand, the suspense is well written and we have a dual timeline bringing the events of the past together with what’s going on now. It’s a slow and steady unfolding that kept me guessing.

Give Me Your Hand is set in a research lab where the sought after Dr Severin has won funding to study PMDD, premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It’s a debilitating condition affecting 3-8% of menstruating women, a super severe form of PMS. Spots on the research team are limited and everyone in the lab wants to be chosen.

Kit is the only woman in the lab and she has worked hard to get to where she is, she feels she deserves the spot on the research team and that she must have an edge being the only woman.

This is a dual timeline story with a Then and Now that slowly come together to paint us a complete picture. Now, Kit is a driven young woman building a career in the sciences. Then, Kit was your average teen; until Diane Fleming started at her school and the two started spending time together.

Kit and Diane were close for much of their senior year but haven’t seen each other yet. They had an unusual friendship and when a huge secret was shared everything exploded. Their friendship was over but the drive that was been born for a scholarship spot with Dr Severin remained strong, it was something they had both been working towards.

Their lives moved in different directions until Diane walked into the lab in the days before the research team was announced and it brings back all of the high school angst Kit thought she had buried.

The mystery and suspense in this one certainly kept me guessing and all of the threads were deftly woven into a taut storyline that showed these people were connected and tied together in ways they didn’t necessarily realise. I am pretty sure some of the players knew exactly where all the connections were but it certainly wasn’t common knowledge. I was fascinated watching it all unfold and ticking off the connections and the history that had been hidden.

Another fascinating aspect was the lab politics and the nastiness hidden beneath the surface. People who worked together long days, every day, for years and always got on pretty well; as soon as they are in direct competition for very few sought after spots the claws start to come out. Just how far will they go to get what it is they want?

Abbott has planted a couple of deft twists that kept me guessing in this psychological thriller that expertly explored the depths of the mind while giving us a little taste of the research into PMDD. I had never heard of the disorder and I have to admit that it sounds like something that could have been cooked up by a savvy defence team. On finishing the book I did a superficial google search to discover that it is a real disorder and it is attracting attention for research to begin to understand, and hopefully manage the debilitating condition. Abbott shows how it could be twisted into a great defence but it is still a very real condition that deserves recognition and research.

Give Me Your Hand is a book that I enjoyed a lot, it kept me guessing and it had some very well placed twists that ensured I couldn’t put all the pieces together. Then when I started to put together a picture of the connections you start to make assumptions and then discover that isn’t necessarily the case either.

Interesting and thought provoking I would recommend this to readers with a love of the psychological side of the suspense, and not adverse to some gore. This was my first by Abbott but it wont’ be the last.

Megan Abbott can be found on Facebook and MeganAbbott.com.

Give Me Your Hand is published by Pan Macmillan and is available now through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading Give Me Your Hand so please be aware that there may be spoilers in the comments below.

 

20 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Give Me Your Hand

  1. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to review Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott. This is the first book I have read of Megan Abbott and it did not disappoint.

    Kit Owens and Diane Fleming meet in high school and they are both smart students. Diane’s familt is well off while Kit’s family consists of her and her single mother who are not well off.

    They become inseparable best friends and spend evenings studying chemistry at Kit’s house. One day Diane whispers a horrendous secret to Kit. With that revelation their friendship quickly ends, even though their bond from the secret cannot be broken.

    Ten years later they meet up again. Kit at that time is working as a postdoc researcher of Dr. Lena Severin. Diana is working as a researcher at Havard and has been offered a poition at the same place Kit works.

    The journey after that is incredible. This book has it all from ambition to obsession. It was hard to put down, it was well written and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a great thriller.

  2. Thankyou Beautyandlace and Panmacmillan for the opportunity to review ‘Give Me Your Hand’ by Megan Abbott.
    Kit and Diane go a long way back both doing chemistry at Lanister High School and keen runners.
    There is rivalry between them and Kit strives to do as well as Diane in her studies. Diane is quiet, beautiful and ambitious, perfect, and excellent in anything she does.
    During a cross country camp, four girls together, they exchange secrets. Kit becomes upset after telling hers and Diane’s words later were ‘my mum always says, you don’t know a self until you have a secret’. After sharing secrets their relationship becomes fractured.
    Diane’s mother who has a new boyfriend sends Diane away to live with her father who she barely knows, promising that she can return later.
    Over a decade later both find themseves working in a lab run by Dr Lena Severin where research is being done into specific women’s issues.
    Exciting, riveting and the type of book you just can’t predict the outcomes it was a great read.
    I hadn’t read any of Megan Abbott’s books previously but I’m now eager to read her previous ones.

  3. Thankyou to Pan Macmillan Australia and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott.

    Definitely can’t say too much about this story. Don’t want to give anything away to spoil it!
    The book is a thriller and a mystery.

    Kit and Diane meet in their teenage years. Run cross countries races together,are science partners and hang out as teenagers do. Tell their secrets to each other. One secret blew the friendship apart.

    Twelve years later their lives collide again. Both were ambitious as teenagers and both are ambitious as adults.
    The book is written in “Then “ and “Now” chapters.

    To find out what happened between them,then and now, you need to read the book! It is a can’t put down book!

    Thouroughly enjoyed it and recommend it !

  4. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and publisher Pan Macmillian Australia for the opportunity to to read and review Megan Abbot’s book Give Me Your Hand.

    This psychological thriller was an interesting read.

    There are two main characters Kit (the narrator) and Diane.

    both girls met in high school. Diane appeared to be very driven and when they become friends after a school camp, Diane encourages Kit to become more ambitious and driven in her life.

    They drive each other to get top marks at school until one day Diane shares a secret with Kit. This changes their relationship and Kit withdraws from Diane.

    Kit moves on with her life, graduates from high school and starts her career in a science working on an important research project. Diane is a distant thought in the back of her mind until one day Diane arrives at her work and is working on her team.

    The dynamics of the team change when Diane arrives. They find out that only 2 out of the 5 will keep their position with their idol. Their competitiveness threatens to destroy the team and the project.

    I really struggled with this book. Narrated in a then and now time line, the writer draws from the past and then to the future. You are left wondering what is the terrible secret that Diane told Kit which destroyed their relationship. When you find out the secret you realise how destructive people can be.

    I rate this book 2 1/2 stars. The book spent a lot of time introducing characters and establishing the timeline of Kit and Diane’s friendship. Then in the last two chapters the story is suddenly wrapped up.

    Would have been interesting to learn more about Diane.

    notwithstanding my review I am keen to read her other book.

    I rate this book 3 stars.

  5. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan for allowing me to review ‘Give Me Your Hand’ by Megan Abbott.

    The story of an ambitious Kit Owens who excels in most things she does especially her chemistry class. Introduce the mysterious Diane Flemming , who Kit once met at summer camp, who turns up at Kit’s school and becomes Kit’s partner in Chemistry. They form a friendship through their shared ambitions. That is until the day Diane tells Kit a very unnerving confession that Kit decides she no longer wants to be friends with Diane and once they graduate Kit thinks she will never have to see Diane again.

    Kit moves on with her life and becomes quite successful and is working for the very well known and sought after Dr Severin. It isn’t until a chance to be part of a team to study PMDD comes up, and everyone wants to be a part of, that Kit realises Diane will re-enter her life and threaten to take the one thing she has worked all her life for.

    It works out both Diane and Kit end up being selected to work together once again. Twists and turns happen where they have to again hold secrets that no one else can ever know what it is they have done. They have to fight for themselves. Or have some people already worked them out and tried to cover up their tracks for them?

    I did struggle with some parts of the book and understanding where it was going, it wasn’t until about ¾ of the way through that I started to enjoy the thrills and mystery of it all. It had a good ending that really helped finish off the book nicely.

  6. This was a great book that I really enjoyed reading!

    At first I found it a little difficult to get into Megan’s style of writing but once I got used to her rhythm – I couldn’t put it down!

    The story is about two women and their friendship from senior high school. They share a lot in common but they both have dark secrets that they know about each other.

    Later down the track, they both end up vying for a position on an exclusive scientific research group that they’ve worked hard for. Will their secrets come out jeopardising their chances of making it into the group? How far will they go to make it?

    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan for allowing me the chance to read this wonderful book.

  7. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan for giving me the opportunity to read ‘Give Me Your Hand’ by Megan Abbott.

    Kit and Diane become friends in strange circumstances in high school and the come to sharing secrets. Diane is particularly brilliant but Kit is also driven and ambitious, They collide again in a research lab working for a particularly brilliant scientist who is selecting a team for a special project….they both want spots on the team but can they work together?

    The story is full of twists and turns and jumps between the present and Kit and Diane’s high school days. The story is engrossing and easy to read.

    The story is well worth the ride, I highly recommend Give me Your Hand to any reader.
    Thanks again for the opportunity!

  8. Give me Your Hand by Megan Abbott, published by Picador/Pan MacMillan is a slow burning suspense novel that looks at the relationship between two high achieving female scientists, Diane and Kit.

    From their intense high school friendship where they spurred each other on, through their academic rivalry for the same scholarship, to their falling out after sharing disturbing secrets, and finally to their professional competition for coveted positions in the same lab, vying for the attention of their supervisor, Dr. Severin, this story looks at how things unravel… Ambition, rivalry, drive and obsession come together with some twisted and deadly outcomes!

    This is a dark and disturbing story of a complicated connection between two very intense women, and I felt quite tense reading it. However it didn’t quite hit the mark for me as I couldn’t really understand or appreciate the dynamic between Diane and Kit, and I found the motives for their actions somewhat cliched. Nevertheless an interesting read.

  9. Thank you BeautyandLace for sending me a copy of this book after I read about it on a UK book site and recognised it as being one of September reads.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the story. It is a simple and engaging psychological thriller and was engaging the whole read. I wanted to keep reading it to get to the end. The previous reviews gave a good summary on the plot.

    I will definitely be looking out for Megan Abbott’s books.

  10. Kit Owens and Diane Fleming met in high school and quickly formed a friendship but when Diane lets Kit in on her darkest secret all Kit wants to do is never see Diane again. Think of the worst thing anyone can do to another and thats what Diane is holding deep.
    Both girls want a scholarship with Dr Severin, to be on her team is the most important thing in both girls lives.
    Years down the track Kit is already working for Dr Severin and she hears she has competition coming. Is it Diane? All the trouble is going to begin all over again!

    I loved this book, the end was a twist I wasn’t expecting and it kept me intrigued throughout.
    I rate it a 4 stars out of 5!

  11. ‘Give me your hand’ is a fantastic fast paced thriller and I enjoyed every minute of it.

    It centres around lab technician Kit, an overachiever from humble beginnings who’s dream is to be chosen as a member of an elite grant team working under the formidable Dr Severin.

    There’s just one thing hanging over Kit, the secret she holds from her high school pal/rival Dianne. Dianne was a strange, emotionally detached girl who was similar to Kit in many ways (both champion cross country runners, high achievers and great at chemistry).

    Kit hasn’t seen or heard from Dianne in years, until she turns up in Dr Severin’s lab and begins vying for one of the coveted grant team positions.

    The book is set up in a ‘Now’ & ‘Then’ type scenario, making it easy to distinguish the present from the high school days.

    When something bad happens in the lab, will Dianne once again force Kit to keep a secret, or will the truth, all of it, finally come out?

    Megan Abbott has done a great job of creating troubled, interesting characters and keeping the momentum going throughout this whole book, while staying true to the technical side of the story with the chemistry lab and everything it entails.

    Highly recommend this book, I loved every minute of it!

  12. Give Me Your Hand goes back and forth between the past and present. A continuing storyline about PMS and menstruation means it will likely appeal more to females. The prose is very vague and it’s hard to get to know any of the characters. It’s all a bit foggy. This just adds to the spookiness of the story. A little bit slow at times and intense at others, in the end it all gets wrapped up in a neat little bow.

  13. Thanks to Pan McMillan and Beauty and Lace for the chance to read my first novel by Megan Abbott.

    This book took me a few chapters to really get into. I’m not sure what it was about the beginning but once I got into it I really enjoyed it!

    The book alternates between present and past tense and is a story of friendship bound by secrets. I enjoyed the strong female characters and their dynamics. This isn’t a cushy lovely friendship story but more a friendship of necessity, bound by secrets and horrors that keep you guessing and some that don’t present themself to the very end. I felt the whole book had a sense of dread about it, you knew there was something big going on, there was more to the initial story and it kept you turning the page.

    I look forward to reading more from Megan Abbott!

  14. Give me Your Hand is an interesting delivered Thriller buy his author. Initially at first a slow delivery, but the pace speeds up as the story unravels. The author has delivered us intrigue and mystery within the pages. Giving us spurts of the past and now present we see the rilvary of sorts , and a friendship only adhered by secrets, but as the story goes forth , mystery builds within. It certainly has us wandering ..

    I didn’t find it a wow factor thriller, it took over half way to get the rhythm flowing story wise. But would recommend to those liking intrigue within there stories with a different story line to boot. The lab factor and aspects behind it unique .

    The characters are like able enough, but did find the connection with Kit and Dianne that compelling,

  15. Thank you for selecting me to read give Me Your Hand written by Megan Abbott
    This is the 1st book I have read from this author
    Kit and Diane are the main characters in this book , the girls both love to run and both love science they push each other to the limit in school to get great marks
    Diane yells Kit a terrible secret ( no spoilers ) that will rock their friendship
    The girls / women meet up again later in life and are going to work together on a scientific project
    This is the part of the book where things get interesting ( no spoilers )
    The book is written in the past and present but is easy to follow
    A very enjoyable book

  16. This was my first Meg Abbott book and I am definitely keen to ready more by her. I was drawn into the book quickly and the topic of PMDD really interested me.

    Kit and Diane are friends at school till a secret is shared which changes their friendship. I liked the flow between the current time and also the past time. Megan Abbott managed to do some interesting side stories which I enjoyed and a great twist at the end. I also love a good twist that I don’t see coming so that was awesome.

    Unfortunately I didn’t like or relate to any of the characters, so that spoiled it a little for me. But overall I enjoyed reading it and recommend.

    Thanks to Pan McMillan and Beauty and Lace for the chance to read this novel

  17. Thanks so much to Beauty and Lace and PanMacmillian another exciting read. 3 1/2 out of 5 from me. I was a little unsure at the start of this as it felt a little unfamilar, starting in the lab, and reseach in some ways, but with very familar workplace interplays at other times. There is the intro with the flash back to the two girls Kit and Diane growing up from different backgrounds thrown together at school with the love of running and after Diane’s Dad dies and financial circumstances change.. Some of the awkwardness of Kit striving in science and only having an incidental outside life, that certainly was something with which I could emphatise with, as well as seeing the effortlessly stylish Diane grow up compared to somewhat awkward Kit ( I felt closer to Kit that Diane) .The ultracompetitive world of the lab and fiting for places and grants is brought alive on the page as the story develops in the now and as we try to find out what it was Diane told Kit she did as a child. When Diane is poached to work at the same lab Kit and Diane again are back together, bringing to mind those things Diane has told Kit, that Kit very much wants to forget (no spoilers). What about Diane and lab leader Severin? The story leads you to expect the reasons and facts to be one way, and some of those are true but actually you do really want to know if you are right! An interesting story and well developed, characters, that was most enjoyable.

  18. Can you give me some questions I can ask my new book club about Give Me Your Hand? This is our first gathering and I want to have some questions to start the convo.

  19. Thank you to Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to read and review this gripping book.

    I very much enjoyed this read which has twists and turns right to the end of the book.

    I would recommend this book to anybody who enjoys thrillers and will be on the look out for other Megan Abbott books to read.

  20. This is the first book I have read by Megan Abbott.

    It took me a while to really get into the story, as it is written in the Then & Now time periods, so jumps around abit. Not something I would normally read but in saying that once I got 1/2 way through the book I started to wonder what was behind the friendship between Kit & Diane.

    The last few chapters where the story started to unfold kept me captivated & wanting to know what would happen next.

    thank you

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