Robyn Harding | The Party

party robyn harding

The Book: 

The Party by Robyn Harding, 2018

The Characters: 

Jeff and Kim
Their daughter Hannah

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Buy it on Bookshop.org | Amazon


The Plot (from Goodreads):

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.

Click here for book spoilers for <em>The Party</em>
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read The Party, I suggest you turn back now.

The Twist:

There was no real twist. Ronnie gets drunk and falls into Hannah’s glass coffee table, and ends up losing her eye. She gets ousted from the popular crowd because teenagers are terrible. The only “secret” was that the boys of their friend group were there that night and didn’t want the adults to know.

The Ending:

Hannah couldn’t let her popularity go, even though she pretended she was doing the right thing. She reconciled with Ronnie until Ronnie left the school, and then she colluded with the newest popular girl to ruin Lauren’s life. She didn’t learn anything from her mistakes.

The Review: 

I had high expectations for The Party since I know how popular Robyn Harding is, but this one fell a little flat for me. I hated Hannah and all of her friends, and I couldn’t connect with the adults either. That said, I did keep reading and wanted to get to the end to see how things would turn out. So I guess I was entertained, but not invested?

I’m surprised this isn’t considered a YA novel, since most of the plot relates to popularity and high school politics. Yes the adults are involved, but they aren’t much more mature than the teens in this case! I also thought it was a thriller, but there was no real twist or mystery involved. Most of the story was about the aftermath of one event. The blurb compares it to Big Little Lies, but there was no question of who did it or what happened.

I wish there was more character growth on Hannah’s part. She went from a whiny bratty teenager who just wanted to be popular to a whiny bratty teenager with a vendetta who wanted to be popular.

Overall, I wanted to like this one but I’d probably suggest giving it a pass. I’ve heard great things about The Swap and The Arrangement, so I’m still interested in giving Robyn Harding another try. This one just didn’t do it for me!

party robyn harding

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