Bestselling and award-winning author Megan Abbott's revelatory and mesmerizing new novel set against the hothouse of a family-run ballet studio.
With their long necks and matching buns and pink tights, Dara and Marie Durant have been dancers since they can remember. Growing up, they were homeschooled and trained by their glamorous mother, founder of the Durant School of Dance. After their parents' death in a tragic accident nearly a dozen years ago, the sisters began running the school together, along with Charlie, Dara's husband and once their mother's prized student.
Marie, warm and soft, teaches the younger students; Dara, with her precision, trains the older ones; and Charlie, sidelined from dancing after years of injuries, rules over the back office. Circling around one another, the three have perfected a dance, six days a week, that keeps the studio thriving. But when a suspicious accident occurs, just at the onset of the school's annual performance of The Nutcracker—a season of competition, anxiety, and exhilaration—an interloper arrives and threatens the sisters' delicate balance.
Taut and unnerving, The Turnout is Megan Abbott at the height of her game. With uncanny insight and hypnotic writing, it is a sharp and strange dissection of family ties and sexuality, femininity and power, and a tale that is both alarming and irresistible.
About the Author
Megan Abbott is the award-winning author of ten novels, including Give Me Your Hand, You Will Know Me, The Fever, Dare Me, and The End of Everything. She received her PhD in literature from New York University. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, TheWall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Guardian, and The Believer. She is the co-creator and executive producer of USA's adaptation of Dare Me and was a staff writer on HBO's David Simon show The Deuce. Abbott lives in New York City.
One of: TIME’s 36 News Books You Need to Read This Summer Entertainment Weekly’s Highly Anticipated Washington Post’s Eight Thrillers and Mysteries to Read this Summer The Boston Globe's Summer Reading 2021 Picks Vogue’s Best Books to Read This Summer Real Simple’s Up-All-Night Thrillers Refinery29’s 38 Books You’ll Want to Read This Summer New York Post’s 30 Best Books on Our Summer Reading List in 2021 Seattle Times’ Most Anticipated Books of 2021 Adore Magazine’s New Releases to Enjoy this Season The Millions's Most Anticipated Books of 2021 Lit Hub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2021 Reader’s Digest 50 Best Fiction Books to Read This Year CrimeReads’ Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2021 Publishers Weekly’s Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2021: Mystery/Thriller BookPage’s Most Anticipated Mysteries and Thrillers of 2021 BookRiot’s 20 Must-Read Crime Novels to Keep You Up At Night Booktrib’s Most Anticipated SheReads’s Most Anticipated 2021 Summer Thrillers for your Beach Bag
"Abbott's novels are often described as crime fiction, and, while indeed she works with mystery and suspense and draws on noir and Gothic tropes, her goal seems less to construct intricate, double-crossing plot problems than to explore the dark side of femininity....In other words, Megan Abbott is a mood." –The New York Times Book Review
“Abbott is a legend for good reason. No one combines the style of classic noir with the psyches of sophisticated men and women who are willing to do anything—anything—to succeed better than Abbott. Her latest is a dizzyingly fascinating story of a family-owned dance studio and the weight of unrequited ambition. An instant classic.” –Washington Post
“Abbott is a master of atmosphere, and in the blood, sweat, tears, bruises, ripped toenails, broken bones, rivalries, desires, and tutu-pink dreams that fill the studio during its annual production of The Nutcracker, she creates a world of almost unbearable tension, pirouetting ever further into darkness.” –Entertainment Weekly
"Abbott—so good at plucking the dark and twisted strands of female friendships and rivalries in books like You Will Know Me and Give Me Your Hand—fashions her unsettling new novel around a ballet academy run by three high-strung former dancers, two of them sisters." –The New York Times
“Abbott casts her disquieting fictional magic as the obsessive dynamics of a self-contained family—sisters Dara and Marie, and Dara’s husband, Charlie—running a small-town, run-down ballet school, collide with the presence of a sinister newcomer.” –The Boston Globe
"[A] taut, suspenseful novel that's anxiety provoking in the best way." –Vogue
“This is a deliciously creepy thriller about competition and family ties.” –Real Simple
“There’s no one better than Abbott at exploring issues of femininity and power struggles, and getting at the visceral heart of both. Fans of Black Swan and The Red Shoes are bound to be obsessed.” –Refinery29
“Abbott’s prose is dazzlingly precise and her portrayal of student rivalries razor-sharp in this taut and psychologically gripping novel.” –The Guardian
“The Turnout unfolds like a dark fairy tale, unpacking the rigid demands of femininity. Abbott fans and suspense lovers alike won’t be disappointed with this exploration of human frailty and twisted love.” –LitHub
“At once engaging and unnerving.” –Reader’s Digest
“Gut-punching noir…Abbott is pitch-perfect at making the sisters’ complex dynamic and mix of emotions plausible and painful, while capturing the competitiveness and cruelty of children’s ballet, where every young girl wishes to be the center of attention. This look at the darker side of the dance world demonstrates why Abbott has few peers at crafting moving stories of secrets and broken lives.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Abbott has a top-notch ability to reveal the dark undercurrents of women’s relationships and sexuality. Her taut, unsettling writing creates tension through the slightest actions and phrases, and keeps the pages turning. This is clever, chilling psychological suspense at its best.” –Library Journal (starred review)
“Abbott brilliantly explores the psychosexual undercurrents throbbing throughout this haunting novel, from the dancers’ pointe shoes…through even the Nutcracker itself.” –Booklist (starred review)
“The mesmerizing prose will keep you turning the pages. Abbott is a master of thinly veiled secrets often kept by women who rage underneath their delicate exteriors.” –Kirkus Reviews
"One of the most well-known and acclaimed thriller writers working today is back with a twisted tale of fraying ties at a family-run ballet studio." –BookPage
“There’s no one who captures the atmosphere of a tight-knit hothouse world, in all its feverish beauty and brutality, quite like Megan Abbott.” –Tana French, author of The Searcher
"All one needs to know about a Megan Abbott book is that it's a Megan Abbott book -- dreamy, sexy, a deep dive into a subculture that has been exhaustively researched. The Turnout is all those things and more, taking you so far into the world of a small ballet school that you feel the characters' aches and pains in your joints, your feet, and, most dangerous of all, your heart." –Laura Lippman, author of Lady in the Lake
“There is not a writer alive who is better at investigating the tension and threat of violence at the center of women’s lives than Megan Abbott. Megan goes into the heart of female spaces and finds the ugly in all that pretty, the dark in all that light, with breath-taking suspense. The Turnout has notes of James M. Cain and Alfred Hitchcock, but it’s better because it’s so fresh and unexpected, so wholly revelatory. I turned page after page, holding my breath in fear, and also excitement, about what might happen in this run-down ballet school, what blood red might be lurking behind all that pink. This is Megan Abbott working at the absolute height of her talent.” –Attica Locke, author of Bluebird, Bluebird and Heaven, My Home
“Megan Abbott is a master of atmosphere, and she captures the Durant School of Ballet—a tinderbox of promise and perfectionism, innuendo and fierce desire, of tension twisted to a breaking point—in all its merciless extravagance. The Turnout is a bewitching climb up a spiral staircase into the inner sanctum of the Durant family, a house of mirrors in which nothing is exactly what it seems. This novel pounds with blood and grips you in its teeth: Megan Abbott is unafraid as ever of the darkness that makes us human.” –Chloe Benjamin, author of The Immortalists