Book Title:
The Party
Book Author:
Robyn Harding
Page Count:
Publishing Date:
June 6th, 2017
Gallery/Scout Press
Date Read:
January 18th, 2020


In this stunning and provocative domestic drama about a sweet sixteen birthday party that goes horribly awry, a wealthy family in San Francisco finds their picture-perfect life unraveling, their darkest secrets revealed, and their friends turned to enemies.

One invitation. A lifetime of regrets.

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.

Harkening to Herman Koch’s The Dinner, Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap, and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, The Party takes us behind the façade of the picture-perfect family, exposing the lies, betrayals, and moral lapses that neighbors don’t see—and the secrets that children and parents keep from themselves and each other.

My Review

The Party was one of those books that I wanted to read for ages, but have pretty much forgotten about it over and over again. I’d see it in the store, or online as a recommended book, but I never picked it up. So when I was out shopping for groceries with my mom the one day and I saw it there, I figured why not? So I picked it up and decided that I was going to give it a read.

Once I finished the library book I was reading, I started in on this one. Once I started reading this, I could not put it down. It was amazing. It wasn’t exactly as edge-of-your-seat as I had hoped it would be, but still, it was really a gripping read that I absolutely loved reading.

First off, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting – I guess I was expecting a little more of an earth-shattering secret to come to light than what did – but it didn’t make me dislike the book or anything. It was just…I’m not sure. Not what I expected. But like I said earlier, I loved reading this book and I kind of tore through it, so it didn’t really make me not want to read it.

The Party starts off with an interesting chapter about something that happened the night of Hannah’s sixteenth birthday party, where she has a sleepover with a few of her friends. Since they are teenage girls, they want to do more than just watch scary movies and play Truth or Dare – but Hannah’s mother, Kim, is incredibly strict and refuses to let them do anything more than that – so they, of course, decide to sneak it.

What happens over the course of that night and in the days following it is a horrifying account of mistakes the girls made leading up to a frightening moment where one of them is incredibly hurt, and why. Friends are divided, families are torn apart, and the light is shed on the events that really occurred that night.

It’s so hard to write a good synopsis for this book without spoiling it. While I’m surprised it wasn’t more…surprising? than it was, it was still a good read. I wouldn’t call it a thriller, either, which is what it has been dubbed as. Maybe suspense, but it definitely wasn’t thrilling. It wasn’t like an edge-of-your-seat type thing or anything.

I think my favorite character in this book was Hannah. I really didn’t like Kim’s character in the slightest. If anything, I found her to be quite annoying and I honestly hated the chapters that were narrated by her, because her whole personality was just…stuck-up and self-centered.

The other characters…Hannah, Jeff, and Lisa, for instance, didn’t feel so forced. I really liked Jeff – he tried to be a cool dad, and when it all fell apart, he was stuck trying to hide evidence that he did anything wrong. It felt real. Kim, on the other hand, just felt forced.

I think this is a great book for those who are interested in reading something suspenseful. Thrilling? Not really, no. But the writing style is absolutely brilliant, and I fell in love with this book. I wish I had picked it up sooner!

4.5 stars
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2 Responses to The Party by Robyn Harding

  1. I always wondered about this book because the blurb sounded so good. I was so happy to see you reviewing it. It sounds good, even if it wasn’t quite what you expected. Great review!

  2. Jill Everson says:

    I usually never get my hands on horror books but yeah why not… thanks for sharing next time I am in store gonna get one 🙂

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