Title: The Party
Author: Robyn Harding
Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books
Date of publication: June 6, 2017
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Number of pages: 352
POV: 3rd person
Where you can find The Party: Amazon
Book synopsis (from 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.
The Party is one of those books that when I finished, I exhaled and thought “What the heck did I just read”. I thought it showed perfectly how relationships can be destroyed when pressure is put on them….more so if they are already fracturing. It was an intense read and I did just sit there and think about the book for a while after I read it. It got that under my skin. As a mother of an 11-year-old girl, I often wonder how high school is going to be for her and if she is going to feel like she is going to have to be something she’s not to fit in. I will tell you this, I will not be like Kim or Lisa. Too extreme on either end. One wants to control her daughter and the other letting her daughter having too much freedom.
I am going to admit that Kim bugged the crap out of me the entire book. She was self-righteous. Everything that she did had to be better than everyone else, she was extremely condescending to her husband and kids and she basically thought that she was above everyone. She rubbed me the wrong way. Even when I was supposed to feel bad for her, I didn’t. I almost felt that she brought this on herself by being the stuck-up snob that she was. But then again, greed was a reason in the lawsuit too.
Lisa, however, I did feel bad for, at first. Her daughter was disfigured and hospitalized. But her greed started showing very early in the book and by the time they went to court, I felt disgust for her. She had convinced herself that her daughter wouldn’t be able to do anything in life because of her injury and she refused to listen to Ronni when Ronni begged her to drop the lawsuit. At that point, Lisa was out to ruin Kim and Jeff, professionally and publicly, because they didn’t offer to pay for Ronni’s hospital bills right away (which they should have done right off the bat, to be honest). Even her boyfriend got clued in when she declined a settlement….because she wanted the full amount in the lawsuit.
Honestly, in my eyes, Ronni was the only one who lost in this book. She was mercilessly bullied by people she had once considered friends and didn’t have any friends, she lost her eye and her mother had turned into someone who she didn’t even know. So when certain events happened in the book about her, I truly wasn’t surprised. I actually figured that what happened would happen and expected it to happen earlier.
I am really not going to get into the storylines because they all crisscross with each other, but I will say that I found them all very compelling. Actually, the storyline with Lauren and Jeff creeped me out….a lot. But I did think that he did the right thing in the end.
The end of the book wasn’t a happy ending. While some storylines were resolved, other’s weren’t and that is what made the ending good. I was taken by surprise by the slight twist at the end. I actually wished that there was an epilogue or something because I wanted to see what happened.
Now my questions for the book:
Why were certain events about that night not revealed until almost until the end of the book? I mean, it makes sense with what happened but I wish that the author made those characters make their scenes sooner
Why the total 180 with Lisa? I mean, I kinda liked her as the laid back, pot smoking mom. But when she morphed into Ms. Greedypants, I just lost interest and empathy for her.
Why didn’t Hannah try harder with Ronni? She went to the same school and she had to of seen her. If she missed her that much, she should have tried harder. But, then again, she is a teenager and we all know how they are.
How many stars will I give The Party: 4
Why: I really liked the story and the messages that it got across. Even with my dislike of Kim and Lisa, the story was beautifully written with compelling storylines and hot topics. I couldn’t put the book down.
Will I reread: Yes
Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes
Age range: Adult
Why: Language, violence. Also, triggers for bullying
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**