#bookclub Feature – The Party by SJV
“The Party opens with a bang when sixteen-year-old Hannah Sanders stands at the end of her parents’ bed, covered in blood and crying. It’s her birthday.
The novel continues at a hectic pace and is narrated in turn by Hannah, her parents Jeff and Kim and Lisa; the mother of one of Hannah’s friends. I’m a fan of the multiple narrative and this worked especially well in The Party, enabling the reader to get some insight into the minds of the characters.
Oh what characters they are! Not a likeable one amongst them; selfish and self-centred, dismissive of others and defensive of their flaws; this certainly is a nasty crowd.
The incident at Hannah’s Sweet Sixteen party doesn’t just affect the injured party, it blows open a whole lorry load of worms. It’s clear that Kim and Jeff’s marriage, whilst glossy and perfect on the surface, is fractured and on the verge of disaster. Hannah is a girl who is prepared to do anything to be accepted by the in-crowd and her friendships are superficial and shaky.
The Party is not a crime thriller or a mystery, it’s a completely riveting reveal into a family who lie to each other, and to themselves. It’s a tense and intense look at relationships and beliefs and there’s enough of a story to keep the reader turning the pages.
The Party is a reminder to parents that their children often learn from the things that are hidden, and sometimes know much more than they tell you. A well written story, with characters to loathe!”
“The Party is the story of a birthday party that goes terribly wrong. Hannah has invited over a few friends for a sleepover to celebrate her sixteenth birthday, but that night there is an accident and her life and the life of her parents, Kim and Jeff, of one of her friend and her mother Lisa will never be the same.
I love books that start the narration by telling you right away that something really bad happened because it builds suspense and tension and that’s exactly what this book does. The book opens with Kim waking up to find her daughter Hannah in tears and then it goes back to the morning before the party and all I wanted to do was to keep reading to see what was going to happen. But the suspense doesn’t end here because after the party things just get more and more complicated.
The Party is a character-driven novel and I love that it is told from different points of view, both adults and teenagers, as I got a real feeling about the characters. I found all the characters selfish and not very likable. Kim, Hannah’s mother, is overprotective and snob and ready to do anything to protect the perfect life she has built for her and her family, while Lisa, although I sympathized with her and what she was going through, was driven by revenge, jealousy, and a feeling of inferiority that didn’t make her realize how many people she was hurting, especially her daughter. Hannah is the typical selfish teenager trying to fit in with the popular crowd at school, although she has a few redeeming moments.
The Party addresses themes that are common nowadays, like bullying, both on social media and face-to-face, the complicated relationship between mothers and daughters, and how hard life can be for teenager. I loved the ending which was surprising and unexpected, especially regarding some of the characters, and the compelling writing and the engaging, gripping, and thought-provoking plot kept me glued to the page.”