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The Turnout


I’ve been a huge Megan Abbott fan for years. She captures intense female friendship and rivalry (and the intertwining of the two) like few other writers. Her previous thrillers mined this theme by exploring some of the settings where women are brought together and then pitted against each other, from cheerleading and gymnastics to nightclubs and ultra-competitive science labs. But somehow she had never written about ballet before now. Enter The Turnout, set in a ballet school gearing up for its annual performance of The Nutcracker just as some very disturbing secrets from the past begin to emerge.

If you want to know about the inspiration behind the novel, Abbott has written a wonderful piece here about her own childhood ballet lessons and the link the novel is making between ballet, competition and expectations around becoming and being a woman. She describes comparing herself against other girls and women at the ballet school: ‘I wondered how I would ever become that. And the “that” was not just a ballet dancer. It was, in part, a woman. Because the two were forever yoked for me, as they are for many young girls.’

I hope you love The Turnout as much as I do – it’s bloody, sexy, nail-biting and intense while also leaving you with a lot to think about.

Sarah Savitt