The Party by Robyn Harding
PUBLISHED BY SCOUT PRESS
REVIEW BY KRISTY KYI
The Party is part mystery/part legal drama/part coming-of-age story, focusing on the Sanders family who live in a wealthy area of San Francisco.
Right from the start, there are hints of this seemingly perfect family’s life being not quite so perfect. Parents Kim and Jeff are having marital problems – Jeff using exercise to get away from his controlling wife and Kim flirting with the idea of having an affair with a colleague. Son Aidan is a typically withdrawn teenager, and daughter Hannah – who has always been an all-round 'good girl' – has started hanging out with the popular crowd and is making some questionable choices.
On her 16th birthday, in an attempt to impress her new friends, Hannah plans to turn the slumber party her parents have planned for her into something more 'adult', with tragic consequences. In the aftermath, we come to understand the individuals involved and why they have reacted to the incident in the way that they have.
The common story is told from the perspective of several characters, which keeps things interesting – two mothers: one trying to hold her 'perfect' family together and the other a single mother who is fiercely protective of her only child; a father wanting to be seen by his kids and their friends as 'the cool one'; and a 16-year-old navigating her way from childhood to adulthood.
This book had me hooked from the beginning with its fast-paced style and the intrigue sustained throughout with gradual revelations about both the incident and the protagonists. Harding has created complex yet relatable characters, as well as basing the story on an incident that could easily happen to anyone – and this is what really sets this book apart and draws the reader in.
If you enjoy some strong character writing with a bit of mystery thrown in, this is the book for you.
Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.