“Give Me Your Hand” is about as tense and dark as I was expecting from Megan Abbott – and I really loved it. It took a little while in terms of the build-up for pacing, but once it hit its respective stride, it really took off. Trading between past and present events, the book is written from the viewpoint of Kit Owens, an up and coming graduate researcher looking for her big break while researching subjects who suffer from PMDD. Yet Kit gets an unexpected surprise when the lead researcher reveals a new addition to her team: Diane Fleming.
Diane is a ghost of Kit’s past, and in the beginning of the novel, we realize that Kit carries some heavy secrets regarding Diane’s identity that threaten to throw the balance of things. There’s a sense of foreboding in each scene Diane occupies, though it’s clear from the flashbacks that Kit and Diane used to be best friends. Kit attempts to keep her distance from Diane in the present day, but ultimately the two are thrown together yet again after a tragic accident in the lab. From that point, the novel explores the relationship between Kit and Diane, providing insight alongside current tensions and events after the “accident” that reveal there’s more to the incident than meets the eye.
I wasn’t surprised by many of the events in the novel, but it did keep me on the edge of my seat anticipating what would happen. Mostly, I found the characterizations of Kit and Diane to be very strong, and that’s what kept me steamrolling through this novel each time I picked it up. (The audiobook narration was very well done by Chloe Cannon.) The secondary characters were decent, and aptly provided tension in moments of the novel where it felt like the other shoe would drop sooner than expected (i.e. the fiancee). There’s a competitiveness in this novel that drew me in similar to my experience with Abbott’s “Dare Me”, but not quite on the same scale because I felt like I didn’t connect as closely to the collective cast of characters here. There were also moments in the novel where I felt the pacing hit a snag. I don’t know if it was due to the time jumps, but that might’ve contributed to part of it in spaces of the novel. Yet, the vivid descriptions, the interrogations, the head-dizzying tension that occurs after the illustration of crimes in this novel were all wonderfully told.
Overall, I really enjoyed the journey this took me on.
Overall score: 4.5/5 stars.