Megan Abbott takes the Mean Girls trope to extremes in her novel Dare Me, about a team of high school Cheerleaders who revel in their sense of entitlement and perceived immortality. Addy Hanlon is the sixteen-year-old narrator who identifies herself as the “lieutenant” to her best friend and Team Captain, Beth. Even as she kowtows and follows Beth’s every command, Addy recognizes how cruel and ruthless her idol can be. The alpha-beta balance of their relationship is threatened however, when the squad comes under the leadership of a new coach. Colette French is not about to be dazzled or overtaken by Beth. Coach French is also a domineering force with a magnetic personality that upsets the team’s hierarchy and engenders loyalty and adoration from the girls, including Addy. Beth is so furious with this competition for Addy’s affection that she embarks on a campaign to sabotage the interloper at any cost. That includes implicating the coach in the suspicious death of a young Guardsman recruiter working at the school. It is also possible, however, that Beth’s theory is correct- that their Coach is as guilty as she would like her to be. Addy is torn between the two possessive women, the focus of their power struggle and a pawn susceptible to their deceit. In this novel, all of Abbot’s female characters are depicted as either rapacious and cruel or passive and vulnerable. Still, the women fare better than the men, who are mostly shadows in the background- all apparently weak and completely clueless. The themes of domination/submission are omnipresent, with no representation of a healthy relationship in any form. Still, Dare Me is a well-written and gripping read, with some decent (if implausible) plot twists. Wicked fun if a reader likes their thrillers dark and does not require likeable characters to root for.