By Seija Rankin
November 02, 2020 at 10:00 AM EST
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Credit: Drew Reilly

Megan Abbott has had a busy 2020: The USA Network adaptation of her novel Dare Me aired at the beginning of the year, and she's been hard at work on her new tome The Turnout. Now, EW has an exclusive first look at the ballet novel's cover, as well as a peek inside. First, the official synopsis of the book, which promises to be just as entertaining and insightful as the rest of her vast catalogue:

"Ballet flows through their veins. Dara and Marie Durant were dancers since birth, with their long necks and matching buns and pink tights, homeschooled and trained by their mother. Decades later the Durant School of Dance is theirs. The two sisters, together with Charlie, Dara's husband and once their mother's prize student, inherited the school after their parents died in a tragic accident nearly a dozen years ago. Marie, warm and soft, teaches the younger students; Dara, with her precision, trains the older ones; and Charlie, back broken after years of injuries, rules over the back office. Circling around each other, 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 delicate balance of everything they've worked for."

Check out the book's cover and read an excerpt below. The Turnout will hit shelves July 6, 2021.

Credit: Penguin Random House

Excerpt from The Turnout, by Megan Abbott

It was the three of them. Always the three of them. Until it wasn't. And that's when everything went wrong. Starting with the fire. Or before.

They were dancers. Their whole lives, nearly. They were dancers who taught dance and taught it well, as their mother had.

"Every girl wants to be a ballerina . . ."

That's what their brochure said, their posters, their website, the sentence scrolling across the screen in stately cursive.

The Durant School for Dance, est. 1986 by their mother, a former soloist with the Alberta Ballet, took up the floors of a squat, rusty brick office building downtown. It had become theirs after their parents died on a black-ice night more than a dozen years ago, their car caroming across the highway median. When an enterprising local reporter learned it had been their twentieth wedding anniversary, he wrote a story about them, noting their hands were interlocked even in death.

Had one of them reached out to the other in those final moments, the reporter wondered to readers, or had they been holding hands all along?

All these years later, their parents' end still seemed unbearably romantic to their students, whenever they heard the story, passed down like lore—less so to Marie, who, after sobbing violently next to her sister Dara through the funeral, insisted, I never saw them hold hands once.

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