#BookReview: The Party by Robyn Harding

Not all it was cracked up to be :(


The Party by Robyn Harding
Fiction
Released June 2017
Amazon ♦ Goodreads
In this stunning and provocative domestic drama about a sweet sixteen birthday party that goes horribly awry, a wealthy family in San Francisco finds their picture-perfect life unraveling, their darkest secrets revealed, and their friends turned to enemies.

One invitation. A lifetime of regrets.

Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting coming of age, a milestone, and a rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah—a sweet girl with good grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant, indulgent affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, cake, movies, and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?

But things do go wrong, horrifically so. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to come apart. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are revealed in the Sanders’ marriage, and the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah, is exposed.

Harkening to Herman Koch’s The Dinner, Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap, and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, The Party takes us behind the façade of the picture-perfect family, exposing the lies, betrayals, and moral lapses that neighbors don’t see—and the secrets that children and parents keep from themselves and each other.

My Thoughts:

2 1/2 but I'll bump it up to a 3 because it wasn't quite a 2.

I was lured into requesting this book from Netgalley when I received an email that promised me many juicy secrets and perfect people who behave very badly. I admit that I am a sucker for that kind of thing.

This is a great book to pick up if you don’t want anything too heavy, too emotional or basically anything that’ll strain the brain. It makes for a good mindless “beach book” which to me means I can drop it in the sand, get salt water all over it and even crack the spine (ahhhh!) because I’ll be leaving it behind for someone else when I’m done without feeling sad about the torture I’ve put it through. The material flirts with darkness and there is even a throwback “Heathers” moment but it never gets too deep and, for me, that was a great big problem.

So here’s the jist. Heather, uh, Hannah is turning sweet 16 and she invites her two childhood friends and two newer, cooler friends to her party.


She worries that her new friends will find her terribly uncool once they realize her mother is a controlling witch who won’t let them drink, do drugs or play with boys. Ummm, she could’ve avoided all of this angst by not inviting them in the first place but then we wouldn’t have ourselves a book now, would we? As you can suspect, the teens get up to naughtiness after mom goes to bed with a sleeping pill and some wine. Dad sneaks down and gives them a little present and soon after a very bad accident occurs that will ruin one forever and the others temporarily.


All of this setup was enjoyable and had me turning the pages awaiting some great and nasty reveals in the wake of this “event” but it never truly panned out. The accident spawns a series of Lifetime tv movie-like events that were dramatic but in the scheme of things a little too “meh” for my liking. Too much of the book gets hung up on boring lawsuit talk and selfish characters boo-hooing about the meanness of humankind whilst they ponder their navels and act like jerks.


I found myself losing interest in all of the characters somewhere after the halfway mark but especially Hannah who only cared about being the Queen Bee, even when she saw her “friends” being horrible. To hell with being a decent person, popularity is far more important.


If you’re in the mood for something that is more surface than substance and can stomach a cast filled with humorless unlikable people, you may love this book but it wasn’t meant for me. I need my darkness truly dark and emotional and The Party didn’t deliver that for me. Honestly, if I want to entertain myself with evil teenagers, I’d rather just rewatch Heathers.

*I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley. This review is very late. Sorry!

Comments

  1. Oh dang, when the characters are just unlikable and you can't connect with them it's hard to like the book.

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  2. I think I'd rather just rewatch Heathers, too. Such a classic movie! :)

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    Replies
    1. I watched it a few weeks ago and it still holds up too!

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  3. Yikes. The summary sounds so promising. Sorry it didn't work out. It sounds like something that I would end up not enjoying also. I'd want something darker! :P :) Great review. :)

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    1. Netgalley got me with this one. I've stopped going there because I always feel like I'm forced to finish the books when I'd rather not ;)

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  4. "Honestly, if I want to entertain myself with evil teenagers, I’d rather just rewatch Heathers." --- This made me giggle :)

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  5. Aw that's too bad, the premise sounds fun! Bummer it wasn't better...

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    1. It was such a disappointment but I guess they can't all be five star's.

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  6. It sure sounded good. I need more than flirting with dark though, darn it.

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  7. Doesn't sound like my kind of thing either but your review is pretty funny :-)

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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  8. Those NetGalley emails are so hard to resist. Too bad this one wasn't better for you. You are kind of making me want to watch Heathers again :)

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    1. I've been deleting them before reading them now. I just can't live like this anymore, lol! You must watch Heather's again. It's still dark and snarky and incredibly mean.

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  9. Oh My. I am so sorry this one did not go well for you. It is one of the hardest things when you are unable to connect with the characters.

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  10. sorry to hear this was meh and boring. Better luck with your net read Laurie! :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Daniela! I'm switching back to horror for a bit so that should fix me.

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    2. Horror is our thing isn't it? :)

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    3. I need to stop cheating around on horror!

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  11. Sounds like I'd absolutely detest this book! Selfish characters tend to really bother me. Add in teenagers that want to be popular, le gawd!

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    1. I'd recommend you skip it. No need to intentionally aggravate yourself if you don't like this kind of thing.

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