cover image Party


Tom Leveen, . . Random, $16.99 (228pp) ISBN 978-0-375-86436-0

Leveen's debut follows one wild evening in Santa Barbara through the eyes of 11 teenagers on their way to a party. Attention-seeker Morrigan has just dumped Josh for not sleeping with her and is determined to find someone else; Josh's friends want to get his mind off the breakup. Morrigan's best friend, Ashley, plans to supervise her, but is distracted by the distant behavior of an old friend, Beckett, who desperately wants someone to notice her. Max is secretly in love with Beckett, and Azize is a Turkish immigrant taking the opportunity to meet new people. The story has the feel of a raucous SoCal soap opera, with abundant drinking, fighting, and plot twists (also, plenty of cliffhangers). Readers spend only one chapter with each character, which is effective in building suspense and getting to know the characters (and view events) from different angles, yet feels emotionally reductive—it's not quite enough time inside their heads. While the dialogue is realistic and voices and personalities well differentiated, despite all the drama the story feels too tidy. Ages 14–up. (Apr.)