The Engagement Party by Darby Kane
Published December 5, 2023 by Avon
Date read: July 14, 2023
Mitch, Sierra, Alex, Cassie, Will and Ruthie
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The Plot (from Goodreads):
Emily Hunt went missing from her affluent liberal arts school on graduation weekend. Her body was found floating in a river, and a quiet loner who most people on campus really didn’t know committed suicide. A tenuous link—one text—bound the two dead students together and was enough for law enforcement to close the case. But they got it wrong and now someone is determined to set it right.
Twelve years later, college friends gather to celebrate an engagement over a long overdue getaway on a swanky private island in Maine—with only one way in and one way out. Sierra Prescott, invited as a guest and unconnected to past events, is the only person who soon senses not all is what it seems.
The tension in the air is ignited when they find a dead man in the trunk of a car with a note: time to tell the truth. And things only get worse. As a torrential storm strands them together, the group’s buried stories begin to surface and secrets are bartered. To survive this deadly party, they’ll need to stop a killer before they become prey.
How did The Engagement Party end?
I couldn’t pass up this title when I saw it on Netgalley–I read it just two weeks before my own engagement party, which I thought was fitting in a funny way. Hopefully no one dies at mine! I enjoy the “college friends with a big secret” trope. The Engagement Party is your standard “cut off on an island, bad weather looming, a hidden dead body, phones useless, no way to call for help” novel, by its own admission towards the beginning of the story.
I was hooked and it was very easy to read, but the connections were all pretty convoluted.
A few things were weird to me about this book, which I’ll note since it’s so far before pub day. First, there was no getting-to-know-the-characters scene at the beginning of the engagement party. Bad things started happening pretty much as soon as the group got to the island. We didn’t need much, but a celebratory scene to get to know the characters would have made some sense. Second, I felt like the bit about Mitch’s childhood was very abruptly thrown in there and then glossed over. No spoilers, but it was a pretty shocking reveal and didn’t seem to get the time it deserved.
Overall I was interested enough to read the book very quickly, but didn’t love it or feel like it really stands out in any way. I’ve got a few more thoughts tucked into the spoiler recap on my blog as well.