“Stranger Dangers: Sexuality, Adolescence and The End of Everything” by K.A. Laity

Over at NoirCon’s Retreats from Oblivion journal, I’m talking about the daunting young girls in Megan Abbott’s novels.

Retreats from Oblivion: The Journal of NoirCon

Abbott uses the crime and its investigation to upend all manner of assumptions about how we view girls and – as narrator Lizzie discovers – how they view themselves and one another.

Megan Abbott’s 2011 crime novel The End of Everything deals with the situation most parents dread – and most news outlets exploit: the disappearance of a child. While the crime itself disrupts the community and separates best friends Lizzie and Evie, the seemingly unspeakable horror hides something even more dangerous and frightening to their middle class world: the nascent sexuality of adolescent girls. While the mystery of the child-snatching gets slowly unraveled, disrupting the community, the bigger secrets prove more explosive especially to those at close range. For all the handwringing about “stranger danger” it seems the real horror normalcy cannot contain is the sexual longings of adolescent girls. Abbott uses the crime and its investigation to upend…

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