Published: April 27th 2010, Random House BFYR
Pages: 240 pages, hardback
Acquired: Sent for review by Curled Up with a Good Book
Summary (from Goodreads): It's Saturday night in Santa Barbara and school is done for the year. Everyone is headed to the same party. Or at least it seems that way. The place is packed. The beer is flowing. Simple, right? But for 11 different people the motives are way more complicated. As each character takes a turn and tells his or her story, the eleven individuals intersect, and reconnect, collide, and combine in ways that none of them ever saw coming.
What I liked: The plot of Party is definitely what first drew me in. I love anything where different people intersect and have an impact on each other’s lives (think Lost, Crash, Love Actually...you get the gist) so Party sounded like a great read for me.
Each of the eleven characters has their own chapters, where different scenes from the party are retold from their perspective. Each time a few details change, new events are revealed and we learn a little more about what actually happened at the party and the reason each character had to attend. Some of them are there for purely superficial reasons – to try and score with a hot girl or guy or to celebrate the end of the school year but others are there for deeper reasons – to see if anybody would even notice she was there, to get revenge on an ex girlfriend.
In a relatively short space of time Leveen manages to create a number of vivid characters that really rang true and, even though the novel only takes place over a couple of hours, so much is revealed about each person through tiny, subtle details that show how much the writer cared about this book. It’s a great read and I’d happily read it again – and probably notice a lot more things that I missed out on first time round.
One of the things I love about Party is that things are never quite as they seem. I’d read a scene, take an instant dislike to a character because of the way they acted but then find myself seeing things through their eyes a few chapters later and siding with them.
Party is full of ups and downs, arguments, crying, fights sex and alcohol - a typical teenage party and, while I’m personally glad Leveen didn’t gloss over these elements, this book may not be entirely suitable for younger readers because of the content. None of it’s explicit but it is there so be warned.
What I didn’t like: I said earlier on that Leveen creates a number of vivid characters in Party. The only problem I had with the book was with the rest of the characters. Sure, out of the eleven people we focus on there were probably five or six that were really well written and memorable but, unfortunately, the rest fade into obscurity as soon as the story is finished.
A lot of the characters are there just to bulk out the story, provide another point of view but have no depth, no real back story of their own and nothing to really contribute except a few one liners and some vague observations of the party.
First line: “I’m the girl nobody knows until she commits suicide.”
Read if you liked...: wtf by Peter Lerangis
Total: 15/20 (B)