Give me Your hand: Manipulative, intense female friendships and competition

Give Me Your Hand Book review

What is this about?: Kit Owens is a worker bee in a lab, pulling in the hard hours when Diane, her former friend and fiercest competition comes to work for the lab — and becomes her greatest competition for an prestigious competition on a research team at the lab. They share a secret and it comes back to haunt them … or rather, Kit.

What else is this about?: The power of female friendships — the good and the bad.

Blurb

A mesmerizing psychological thriller about how a secret can bind two friends together forever…or tear them apart.

Kit Owens harbored only modest ambitions for herself when the mysterious Diane Fleming appeared in her high school chemistry class. But Diane’s academic brilliance lit a fire in Kit, and the two developed an unlikely friendship. Until Diane shared a secret that changed everything between them.

More than a decade later, Kit thinks she’s put Diane behind her forever and she’s begun to fulfill the scientific dreams Diane awakened in her. But the past comes roaring back when she discovers that Diane is her competition for a position both women covet, taking part in groundbreaking new research led by their idol. Soon enough, the two former friends find themselves locked in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse that threatens to destroy them both.

Stars: 3/5

Give Me Your Hand begins with Kit anticipating Diane’s arrival at the lab she is working at, and inserting herself into a position on a premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) research team with the head of the lab, Dr Severin.

Unfortunately the first part of this book was frustrating because it lacks meaningful pacing, and focuses too much on the anticipation Kit has of Diane coming to work in her lab, while contrasting their past at the same time. It also emphasises how insecure Kit is, and how much weight Diane’s secret had in her life — which given what it is, is understandable, but Abbott relies on mysterious, ominous and frankly irritating mentions of how dark and ominous Diane’s secret is.

I quickly reached the point where I honestly did not give a shit what the secret is, and was half convinced Kit was in love with Diane, and was rejected, which is why she is so obsessed with Diane to the point of calling out her name in sex, indicating how much this woman is on her mind.

Characterisation

It’s in the second and third parts of the book is when the plot picks up. Events transpire that Kit and Diane share another awful secret. Kit has moments of fantastic characterisation, where you can empathise with her and her desire to hold on to something she’s worked so hard for, while her conscience demands she tell the truth.

Diane is unreachable, a cold spectre in the book that looms large over Kit. Where Kit shows humanity, such as it is, Diane has none, and that made me want more from her. I think she would have been a far more effective character, and her relationship with Kit that much more explosive had Abbott given her as much care and depth in characterisation as she does Kit.

Dr Severin is the woman they both want to be, and to an extent Diane is already there. Severin is their mentor, even if she doesn’t know it yet, for they both saw her as teenager, when she inspired them both to go into science. That’s one of the greatest things about the timeline in the past — the depth of their short-lived friendship, but how they drove each other, how they fed off each other and needed each other. I enjoyed that insight into them far more than I did their relationship in the current timeline.

There have been tons and tons of reviews about this book, talking about how good it is — for me, that first part was too lacklustre, slow paced and did Kit a disservice in terms of characterisation for me to enjoy the rest of it.

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