“There are spoilers ahead as I’d like discuss the novel thoroughly, so please proceed with caution.”
“THE PARTY” by: Robyn Harding
This book certainly caught my eye when I went scouring the shelves for a new read, and I can surely say that I was not disappointed. The story follows the Sanders Family as they deal with the aftermath of their daughter’s sweet sixteen birthday party, and what it was that occurred that very night. I would like to preface this by saying, as I began to read the book I did have quite a few ideas in mind as to what exactly happened at Hannah’s sweet sixteen, but what I later learned is that any and every theory I had was false. I really appreciated that each chapter took on a new character’s point of view, and I didn’t feel like switching between these characters throughout felt confusing. It was written in such a way that made it relatively easy to keep up, and I found the entire read quite enjoyable. This book was a step outside of my comfort genre, but I was thoroughly pleased with how much I enjoyed it.
Now, let’s get to the story. – SPOILERS BEGIN HERE
The story opens with Kim Sanders, Hannah’s mom as she wakes from her sleep to find her daughter in her room, crying, upset, when she should’ve been downstairs enjoying her birthday party with her few friends. As I read the prologue, I was waiting for something riveting, for the build up was quite nice and it did not let me down. Kim wakes up to find her daughter shaken, with blood on her hands. I absolutely adore when a story starts off like this, because throughout each chapter I’m waiting to see when the entire story of that night will unfold. – It was certainly not what I expected.
Each chapter delved into each main character’s problems, separating them from the next. I got a good look into Hannah’s life, what her friends are like, what she wants out of life as a teenage girl. I understood how much she wanted to fit in, how much she wanted to feel like she belonged. All she wanted was to have an enjoyable sweet sixteen, but it was definitely one she’d never forget. Up until this point I learned that Kim Sanders is a very strict parent, and she has very high standards for her family and the way they’re viewed by society, and I know that must’ve been a little overwhelming for Hannah at times. Though, when we finally get introduced to the party, I expected there would be a little bit of teenage rebellion, however, what I did not expect was that a girl would crash into a glass table and lose her eye.
Hannah had wanted to impress both her “friends,” Lauren and Ronni, for all she wanted was to be in the inner circle. Though, when Ronni crashed into the glass table and severely hurt herself, Hannah could not imagine just how much that would change her life forever. The story continues, as we see just how upset and uneasy everyone is as they try to process what happened. This in itself, is every parent’s worst nightmare. Kim and Jeff try to do everything they can to get Ronni to the hospital, get all of the other girls home, and try to take control of the situation. Though, Ronni’s mother, Lisa is furious.
She is furious that she left her daughter in the care of parents she thought would look after her daughter, and she became rather vengeful when she realized that her daughter had lost her eye. This entire situation seemed to be an unfortunate accident, one that really had me questioning from the very beginning whether it was really an accident. This has really taken a toll on both Jeff and Kim, as their marriage was already rocky to begin with, and now they had to deal with Lisa Monroe taking them to court and suing them for three million dollars.
Throughout all of this, we get a good look into the parents life as well. Kim, as she deals with all that people are saying about her, as well as almost getting into an affair. As well as Jeff, as he really regrets giving his daughter a bottle of champagne for her sixteenth birthday. He also is dealing with one of Hannah’s friends, Lauren, taking an interest in him.
Let’s talk about Lauren for a second, as she is certainly the antagonist, as well as a vindictive and manipulative character. From the moment she was introduced, as the popular girl whom everyone tried to impress, I knew she was trouble. She is a troubled girl, and she has a lot of issues at home, and that could be the reason she turned out the way she did. Though, she did prove to be a terrible problem for Jeff, one that he eventually tried to make right by making her father listen, by asking him to parent his daughter for once.
This story in particular has quite a lot of depth, and with each passing chapter I feel like I know a little more about each character, as though I’m right there experiencing all of this with them. Those are the kinds of stories I look for when I settle down to read a good book. We see a lot of struggle on both sides, each family trying to readjust to all that’s happening as well as Ronni trying to readjust to her new life which has been incredibly difficult on her. As the story progresses we see how the Sanders Family go from living their perfect life, to selling a lot of their fortune to give Lisa the three million dollars for Ronni so that she can set up a good life for herself after all that she’s been through. The progression of each character, as well as the depth they encompass is evident throughout, and that’s what makes this story such a good read.
Though, the question was still on my mind as I approached the end of the book: “Was it really an accident?”
As I got to the last chapter, the question was still rather prevalent in my mind until the second to last page came about and as Hannah tried to claw her way back to the top of the popularity scale, she sends a message that read: “At my party, Lauren pushed Ronni into the glass table… No one saw but I did.” It seems as though, Hannah has set out to take Lauren down, but this begs to question whether this is the truth or not.
Did Lauren actually push Ronni into the glass table? Or is this just Hannah’s way of getting what she wants more than anything, to take Lauren down and to be popular again?
If any of you have read this book, I’d love to hear what your thoughts are.
Thank you very much for reading this little review, and I hope you enjoyed it!