I was hesitant to pick up The Party, by Robyn Harding, based on a number of mediocre reviews I was reading. Well, now that I have finished, it just goes to show you that entertainment truly is in the eye of the reader because I loved this novel.
Jeff and Kim host a sweet sixteen party for their daughter, Hannah, with some rules: no alcohol, no drugs, no boys. However, rules are broken and the party turns tragic. In the aftermath, relationships are tested, secrets are revealed and nothing will be the same.
I found this one absolutely unputdownable; I binge read it over the course of a couple of hours. Harding has an uncanny ability to captivate her reader with quick prose and eloquent story telling. I loved the way the book was narrated; quick chapters told through the eyes of alternating characters (both teenaged and adult).
Do I feel like this was a traditional mystery thriller? Absolutely not; I could understand why The Party would throw off people if that were what they were expecting. This novel is much more of a contemporary fiction and really reminded me of Liane Morarity’s novels. A novel that opens up with an incident and the journey is more of an inside look at the ramifications and the changes that occur in their community.
If you are looking for a tension filled, twisted read, then yes, you will be disappointed. However, if you enjoy a character centered, focused plot filled with wit and emotion, then I think you will be pleased. I gave it 5/5 stars.