Will Dare Me Chase The Same Big Mystery From The Book?

Photo: Courtesy of USA Channel.
Warning: Book spoilers for Dare Me are ahead.
Cheerleading movies and series are a dime a dozen in Hollywood, but you’ve probably never seen one like Dare Me, a new series based on the Megan Abbott book of the same name. According to the official synopsis, it’s an “unflinching exploration of volatile female friendships, loyalty, and the dynamics of power” in the cheer squad of a small Midwestern town, but if you’ve ever read the book, you know there’s so much more than that going on. So what is up with the troubled teens on Dare Me? Since adapted series only sometimes follow their source material, it's probably alright to talk about who dies in Dare Me, the book, and everything else that happens to the books’ main characters. But be warned, the show is definitely going to use at least some of these details as the episodes unfold.
This is your last chance to turn back before the spoilers start.

What Is Dare Me About?

Addy and Beth (Herizen Guardiola and Marlo Kelly on the series, respectively) are high-school cheerleaders and best friends. Beth is the queen bee and captain of the squad, and Addy, especially, falls into place. Whatever Beth says, goes, and if she wants Addy or the rest of the girls on the team to jump, it’s basically a matter of how high. That is, until Colette French (Willa Fitzgerald), the new cheer coach, comes to take over the squad.
Suddenly, they get long practices, mean comments about their weight, and no captain — Coach French has got it from here. Addy is especially captivated by her, much to Beth’s chagrin. (If no one is there to look up to Beth, Beth's not sure what she has left.) Coach French runs a hard practice, and as the team gets better, it seems that her unorthodox methods actually work. But it's not all good, because Coach French also has the squad over to her own home to drink wine and eat and lounge and gossip, and all of it is wholly inappropriate, since, ya know, this is a teacher-student relationship and these girls are doing some underage drinking.

Does Someone Die In Dare Me?

And it all goes really bad about the time that Addy and Beth see Coach sleeping with Sarge Will, a high school army recruiter with a sad backstory. Beth’s mind goes to blackmail, but it all gets worse when Sarge Will is found dead from what Coach says is a suicide… but the details point to something more. Was Will murdered, or did he kill himself?

So Who Killed Will?

To boot, Coach’s relationship with Addy is inappropriate and weirdly dependent — she even brings Addy to the crime scene — and as the details get more convoluted, Addy isn’t sure who to trust — Coach, Beth, or neither? The answer comes when it turns out Beth set everything in motion, telling Coach’s husband that she was cheating on him. Then, Coach’s husband, Matt, went to Will’s home and shot him. Coach and Matt were both trying to cover it up when they brought Addy into the fold.

How Does The Dare Me Book End?

In the end, Beth suffers a fall from the top of a pyramid, Addy ends up cheer captain, Coach and Matt answer for their crimes, and the cycle continues. Since this is a series, I'm going to go ahead and bed the season 1 finale does things a little differently.
From the trailers of Dare Me, it seems like the story will stick true to the “obsessed teens and coaches” mantra, and it does include an important line from a book — that, to paraphrase, the boredom of teenage girls is dangerous. How dangerous the show actually is remains to be seen, but with all the obsession, cheating, and unrelenting material available from Abbott’s book, there’s potential for all the sex, lies, and scandal we can take.
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