By: Robyn Harding
The Party by Robyn Harding is a suspenseful story about Hannah Sanders’s sweet sixteen birthday party. The Sanders’ are a picture-perfect family living in the San Francisco area. Thanks to Jeff Sanders’s high-paying tech job, the family lives extremely comfortably in one of the wealthiest suburbs in the city. Instead of throwing their daughter, Hannah, an extravagant party for her sixteenth birthday, Hannah chooses to have a few friends over for movies and a sleepover. While this may sound innocent, things take a dramatic turn for the worse that night. Once the incident happens at the party, dark secrets are reveled in the lives of everyone involved. This book takes you through everyone’s perspectives about what happened at the party and how they were affected.
While Robyn Harding knows how to keep the reader engaged and enticed throughout this book, I found that this book gave me the same feelings I have while watching a Lifetime movie. I was entertained the whole time, but the story was sub-par. While the events in the book were interesting, they didn’t quite hit the mark for me. The way Harding led up to “the incident” gave me the impression that it would be something really dark and dramatic. However, once the incident was revealed, I was let down. I also found the character development weak. We only get to know these characters at a surface-level. Hannah only cares about being popular, Kim is a strict mother who has trouble letting go, and Jeff is a workaholic dad with no compassion toward his wife. The characters are neither like-able and nor relatable.
Worried I was the only one who felt this way, I read some reviews about this book on Goodreads.com. My favorite review came from a user named Bark. Bark rated this book three-stars, as well. What I loved about her review was that she compared reading this book to watching the late ’80s/early ’90s cult classic, Heathers. The difference is, though, that Heathers committed to the darkness in its story line, while The Party did not. It feels like Harding was afraid to get to the really juicy, dramatic stuff and left me wanting more.
Despite all of my criticisms for The Party, it’s a great book to read when you want to read something solely for fun that doesn’t have a lot of depth. I read The Party really quickly because of its ability to entertain without making the reader think too hard. It is the perfect story to take to the beach or on a car trip. Just like a good Lifetime movie, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat, but you might be disappointed with the outcome.