Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But when a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community just weeks before an all-important competition, everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself drawn, irresistibly, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate. From a writer with "exceptional gifts for making nerves jangle and skin crawl," (Janet Maslin) You Will Know Me is a breathless rollercoaster of a novel about the desperate limits of desire, jealousy, and ambition.
While I didn't like this as much as THE FEVER, there is still much to appreciate here. YOU WILL KNOW ME features a slice-of-life of the family of an Olympic gymnastic hopeful, Devon, and raises questions (without actually asking them) about how much parents sacrifice in pursuit of their children's goals. Is it the child's goal, or are the parents living out their ambitions and hopes through their children? What extremes are Devon's parents willing to take to encourage, support, and protect her in an effort to obtain the ultimate prize? There's a criminal act that occurs during the story, and a mystery of sorts to uncover the perpetrator that drives the story forward. However, its the character reveals that are more interesting and their actions, beliefs, hopes and fears that will stay with me long after the story is forgotten. While there are no characters that I would consider ugly in nature, there are several with twisted priorities and values. It was difficult to become sympathetic or attached to a single character through the first part of the novel. It took awhile to warm up to some of them. Author Abbott doesn't reveal the whole Tarot deck at once, preferring to provide little insights on each character as the story progresses. Each insight provides more understanding until finally towards the last section of the novel I began to empathize with some of the characters, particularly the Knox family. The majority of the story presents the point of view of Katie, the mother. It later shifts in both tone and point of view to show events from the perspective of Devon, the pride of the local gymnastics school. Through the first half of the book she seems robotic and withdrawn. It's only in the events of the second half that we learn how she really feels about her situation and chosen path. Abbott has an ability to get into the heads of young people and share that with us. The characters are realistic. It's the situation at the core of the novel that seems a bit exaggerated and extreme. While I've marveled at the lengths that some parents will go to help develop a child's athletic (and sadly less often - academic) abilities, it's hard to imagine the Knox family being driven to the extremes that they are and the choices they make. Worth checking out.