Beth (Marlo Kelly) and Abby (Herizen Guardiola) walk down the school hallway wearing cheerleading uniforms

Hazel and Katniss and Harry and Starr Podcast: Dare Me

The logo for Hazel & Katniss & Harry & Starr podcast: an orange box with the words written in white fontHazel & Katniss & Harry & Starr is a weekly Canadian podcast about young adult literature, their film and television adaptations, and everything in between. Now in its sixth season, the podcast—hosted by film critic Joe Lipsett and English professor Brenna Clarke-Gray—aims to highlight the cultural worth of young adult and middle-grade texts, with a focus on Canadian, Indigenous and minority creatives and stories.

Join us weekly for deep dives, as well as a round of YA BINGO.

Book 6, Chapter 38: Dare Me

Brenna and Joe kick off “the kids aren’t alright” summer with Megan Abbott’s 2012 novel Dare Me and its 2019 TV adaptation. C/W: implied sexual assault and disordered eating.

We’re talking sociopathic girls, awful parents, and red hold blooded cheerleading in a pair of texts that may just feature the most unlikeable protagonists we’ve ever covered.


Plus: backstories galore, celebrating Willa Fitzgerald and Marlo Kelly, endless musical montages and ponderous voice over, and the dark side of female friendships.

Read on for more about this week’s episode from co-host Joe Lipsett:

I have wanted to discuss Megan Abbott’s novel for quite some time. Her prose is rich and vibrant, but her female characters are completely toxic, which I thought would make for an interesting conversation.

Brenna and I have tackled *a lot* of unlikeable female characters on the show. Most recently it was Hailee Steinfeld’s lead character in Edge of Seventeen, but it also comes up every time we tackle a Twilight title (see: New Moon).

It’s an important issue, particularly in YA media where there are more stories about teen girls, but it begs the question: what kinds of stories get told?


In the case of Dare Me, it basically boils down to competition + hormones = baby sociopaths. Enjoy the drama! -JL

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