Author: Tom Leveen
Genre: YA fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
FTC Disclosure: I bought this book because it is set in Santa Barbara and am donating it to my school library
Summary (from the inside flap): It's Saturday night in Santa Barbara, and school is done for the year. Everyone is headed to the same party. Or at least it seems that way. The place is packed. the beer is flowing. Simple, right? But for eleven people, the reasons for being there are way more complicated... to confront my ex; to hook up (since that's what everyone expects); to make a friend...any friend; to numb the pain; the finally talk to her; to piss off my parents; to say goodbye. As each character tells his or her stories, they intersect and reconnect, collide and combine in ways that no one saw coming.
Review: Ok, a book set in my town? I had to read it just to see if the author "got it right" and if the book was good, that would be a bonus. And he did! He's got the streets, the beaches, a local burrito place, the beach restaurant, and my alma mater all in there. Totally cool. I am impressed. And, the book is good.
I like books where we read the story from different perspectives so the style of this book appealed to me. Eleven students tell the tale of the night and the party. They are not all friends, but their lives intersect in interesting ways on this one night. It really got me thinking about the idea of chance meetings, who we talk to and how that changes our lives in even little ways on a daily basis. I've also been thinking about this since I read Lauren Oliver's before i fall.
The characters in Party are absolutely believable. There is a good mix of girls and guys and even a couple non-white characters (though I would have liked some Hispanic/Latino characters since almost half our population is Hispanic/Latino). I think Leveen did a good job of capturing varying personality types without being stereotypical as well.
Do I believe the plot? Absolutely. Teenagers cruising around town, having part-time jobs, some who get along well with parents, some who do not, some who drink, some who don't. There's friendship conflicts, misunderstandings, people who do stupid things while they are drunk, and more. And, all of them have insecurities. That pretty much covers it for all age groups actually!