The Party | Book Review

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Author: Robyn Harding

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Publication Date: June 6, 2017

Publisher: Scout Press


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.


Thank you so much to Scout Press and Raincoast Publishing for sending an ARC copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Every teenager dreams of throwing the best Sweet Sixteen possible, right? So when Hannah tells her friends that it is going to be the best, what is a little lying to her parents going to do? Well, in this case, it means a lot.

Right from the start, readers are thrown into the party. From the entire set up days before to the night of the incident. What was just supposed to be a party with some drinks (and drugs and boys), turns into a night that no one can forget, and one can barely remember?

Told through the alternating perspective of Hannah, Jeff and Kim (Hannah’s parent’s), and Lisa (the mother of one of the girl’s present at the party). The different perspectives provide the different views that each person has on the accident, and all that has happened to them since then.

I found that many of the friendships in here were somewhat realistic, as you could feel the betrayal that was present among the girls. Hannah was just trying to fit in with her friends, but sometimes fitting in means doing things that are completely out of ones character. This also relates to the parents, as they just want what is best for their children, which means that they will of anything to make sure that they are safe. But just because families may seem perfect and well-kept on the outside, does not mean that they are not hiding secrets behind closed doors. Some families are just better at hiding things than others.

The layout of the book flowed well, but I feel that it did drag on a bit in the middle, and I did not understand the thing between Lauren (a friend present at the accident) and Jeff. I found it not really necessary to what had happened, but it was more of something that had occurred due to the accident.

With that being said, I did enjoy the pace of the book, and found myself wanting to know what was happening next, which may be why I stayed up late reading it. Now if this review didn’t peak your interest, I don’t know what will. Be sure to check out this book when it hits shelves on June 6!



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