The Party

Robyn Harding. Scout, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5011-6124-7
In Harding’s (The Secret Desires of a Soccer Mom) latest incisive family drama, a 16th birthday party is the catalyst for an affluent family’s fall from grace. Hannah is the well-behaved and well-adjusted daughter of Jeff and Kim Saunders, or so they think. When Hannah’s low-key sweet 16 celebration—pizza with a handful of friends—becomes a test to see if she can cut it with her more mature friends Ronnie and Lauren, Hannah is willing to break the rules. The night quickly turns to terror when Ronnie has an accident that throws Hannah’s parents and their choices into the spotlight, threatening to unravel everything they have built. Although the plot doesn’t build the tension required to sustain the high drama of the novel, Harding expertly peeks into the darker corners of the high school experience. Hannah is a believably smart yet insecure teenage girl, and the conflict between her parents, who feel jarred by her growing up, and Hannah, who feels constantly reminded of how young she still is, rings true and textured. The premise, which often feels like a reworking of and homage to Herman Koch’s The Dinner, feels simplistic at times, but the intricate family dynamics that Harding teases out are complex and engaging. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/03/2017
Release date: 06/06/2017
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 978-1-5011-7503-9
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-5011-6129-2
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-5082-3534-7
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-5011-6130-8
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