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The Party

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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.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published June 6, 2017

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About the author

Robyn Harding

16 books2,926 followers
Robyn Harding is the bestselling author of several books and has written and executive produced an independent film. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her family and two cute but deadly rescue chihuahuas.

To learn more about Robyn's books visit: http://www.robynharding.com. Or follow her on Instagram: @rhardingwriter
or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRobynH...

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,270 reviews
Profile Image for Crumb.
189 reviews538 followers
July 20, 2018
This is a the ultimate embodiment of a ‘page-turner.’ Great beach or vacation read.

This should be required reading for teenagers. It is a cautionary tale of teenage drinking, drugging, and partying gone wrong. Horribly wrong.

Hannah is super excited for her party, but also nervous. Two of the most popular girls in school will be in attendance and she has to impress them. But how?Her mother, Kim, is strict and uptight. In fact, when all the girls arrive for the party, Kim lays down the law telling them there will be no drinking, drugging or pornography of any kind. With that being said, I thought the mention of pornography was a tad excessive. So, what could possibly go wrong? Everything.

I absolutely loved the writing. Chapter by chapter, revelations about what happened the night of the party were divulged and secrets slowly bubbled up to the surface. This book is exactly what I needed at this moment. I've been working on my popsugar challenge lately and I have been feeling a little burnt out. This book enabled me to turn my brain off and reminded me of the reason why I love to read. This novel offers pure and unadulterated enjoyment. Translation: Perfect Beach Read!
Profile Image for Deanna .
691 reviews12.5k followers
July 20, 2017
My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...

I bought this book on a whim. I think this is one of the first times in a long time that I didn't read any reviews before starting a book.

"One invitation. A lifetime of regrets"

Kim and Jeff Sanders want their daughter to have a wonderful sweet sixteen birthday party. Their daughter, Hannah wants a small affair.... just four girls for pizza and a sleepover. Hannah NEEDS this party to be perfect.

The story is told from four points of view. Hannah, her parents (Kim and Jeff) and Lisa, mother of one of the girls from the party.

To say that Kim Sanders takes her job as a mother seriously is an understatement. HER children are well-behaved and follow the rules. She's not as confident about her eighteen year marriage though. After an "incident" the year before, most of their time is spent bickering. Jeff feels like she treats him like a child, wanting to know every move he makes. Kim hopes they will be able to salvage what they once had. Even Hannah notices the tension in her parents marriage.

High school has been going well for Hannah. She even has a new boyfriend, Noah. On top of that, Ronni Monroe and Lauren Ross, two of the most popular girls in school, have also started including Hannah in their plans. She has known Ronni for years though they haven't been close for some time. She's also pretty sure that Lauren is just hanging out with her because of Noah, but she doesn't care. She'll do pretty much anything to get Lauren's attention. So what if Lauren changes friends on a whim? And sure she can be kind of mean.... well really mean to those she deems beneath her, but Hannah is positive she turn this into a meaningful friendship.

"She'd spent two years watching the queen bees stroll through the halls of Hillcrest Academy, bored, jaded, beautiful; Hanna was one of them now"

Hannah is both excited and anxious for her party. This evening is very important to her social status. Lauren and Ronni are coming to her party along with Marta and Caitlin. Marta and Caitlin are nice girls, like Hannah. However, now that she's been hanging out with Lauren and Ronni she finds both Marta and Caitlin a bit immature. Hannah made sure to tell them that tonight's party will require them to up their game. This isn't some kids party. Hannah needs to impress Lauren and intends on doing just that.

Girls eating pizza, listening to music, and gossiping is what Hannah's parents are expecting. Good clean fun. However, the girls have a different idea of what constitutes a good party and have their own plans.

In the middle of the night Kim wakes up to her daughter calling her name. Then she sees that Hannah is crying....and her hands are covered in blood. The next words out of her mouth send Kim and Jeff flying down the stairs to the basement.

What should have been a night of harmless fun for five teenage girls, turns into a nightmare for everyone.

What really happened the night of the party?

I think this book may have a lot of mixed reviews. It was definitely a thought-provoking read. The fall-out after a party goes very wrong. Who is at fault? Honestly, it's scary how easily this could happen. When I think back to the decisions I made as a teenager, I am so thankful that nothing bad happened to me or any of my friends. How lucky we were.

I had a very difficult time rating this book. There were so many unlikable characters. Usually that doesn't bother me, but I found myself getting irritated quite often. However, I didn't stop reading....in fact I read this book in just two sittings. So am I riding the fence a little here? I guess so. A fast read with a really interesting premise, but just not what I expected.
Profile Image for jaime ⭐️.
126 reviews6,474 followers
January 4, 2020
book 1 out of 100

I don’t even know where to begin with this one. I can’t believe that this book has been my very first book of the new decade.

The Party is a domestic thriller about a rich family hosting a sixteen year-old’s birthday party, which becomes the setting for a horrific accident and develops in a pretty teenage girl receiving a terrible injury and becoming a pariah at her school. The results of this event turn into a messy lawsuit, a sprinkle of adultery, a little bit of cyberbullying, and an incredibly uncomfortable relationship between a middle-aged father of two and an unbearably overly-sexualised teenager (which we’ll get into later). At it’s core, The Party is essentially a book about rich white people doing horrible things to each other.

I guess we’ll start with the introduction of our major players? None of which are likeable, might I add. Our main family is the Sanders: Kim, probably the most shallow, judgemental protagonist I’ve read in a long time, and Jeff, a bland middle-aged husband who’s only personality trait is the fact that he likes to exercise and tried LSD once in Vegas. Their daughter Hannah is probably the only person who had an ounce of humanity, but it was completely undermined by the lack of depth in the actual writing and an ending that felt unfinished, underdeveloped and out of place. Opposing the family is Lisa Monroe, mother of the victim of the accident and a completely selfish, vindictive, pseudo-bohemian middle-aged woman. I had no idea who to root for so I decided not to root for anyone. Which made for a pretty boring reading experience.

I honestly have no idea what the theme of this book is. Cyberbullying? The dangers of having too much money? Revenge? I don’t even think the author knew what the theme was when she was writing it. The story is told in third person from three different perspectives: Kim’s, Jeff’s and Hannah’s. Hannah’s perspective of the story felt like it came from a different novel. While Kim and Jeff are navigating an impending lawsuit and trying to come to terms with their own issues, Hannah’s story feels like it’s right out of a high school YA novel written by someone completely out of touch with the reality of teenagers today. I’m not sure about anyone else’s experience: but my high school certainly did not have some sort of Mean Girls social hierarchy. It felt juvenile and frankly ridiculous.

The writing style itself was also nothing special. I felt no suspense and no mystery. I’m assuming the mystery was supposed to be what really happened at the party that night, but we find out within the first one hundred pages. We’re left with two-hundred and twenty pages of aftermath, but the issue is that I really don’t care about what happens to these awful people. The structure felt messy and there was absolutely no climax. It just kind of…ended. The author’s voice also felt incredibly misogynistic. It was hard to tell if it was from the perspective of the characters or the author herself, but there were so many comments on what a certain woman was wearing or how much makeup she had on, as if that determined that persons character. This passage about a teenage girl had me particularly riled up:

“With her cleavage and pancake makeup, sweet wasn’t the adjective that sprang to mind.” (pg. 87)

But my biggest problem isn’t even what I just mentioned. It has to be the messed up storyline between Jeff and Lauren Ross, the book’s antagonist and the popular friend of Jeff’s daughter Hannah. Lauren is sixteen and considered the queen bee of Hannah’s high school. After the birthday party, Jeff gives a drunk and slightly traumatised Lauren a ride home to her house. Lauren ends up getting Jeff’s number and the inappropriate relationship ensues. We only hear from Jeff’s perspective, and every time he has an interaction with Lauren, he always prefaces how disgusted and distressing Lauren’s attention makes him feel, as if we’re supposed to be on his side. However, it is totally undermined by the fact that whenever he sees this young girl, he thinks about how pretty or beautiful she is. We also get the pleasure of knowing that when this man receives a nude from this actual child, he is turned on in the briefest of moments. This whole storyline feels vile to me, especially because it seems as if the author wants us to be on Jeff’s side. As if it’s normal for him to feel this way, and he’s just a simple man getting manipulated by an evil, over-sexed young woman. This storyline might have worked IF Jeff wasn’t commenting on Lauren’s physical attractiveness every time he looks at her and if we got to read from Lauren’s perspective too, showing us why she is the way she is, why she needs this attention and her motivations behind the misguided pursuit of her friend’s dad. But unfortunately, it’s just a story about a man’s struggle to overcome being sexually attracted to his daughter’s friend (I feel sick even writing that sentence).

I love a domestic thriller, but this book just missed the mark completely for me. If you want something fast to read this could be for you, but I just had way too many issues with it for me to seriously recommend this to anyone. I can’t wait to forget I read this as soon as possible.


Profile Image for James.
Author 20 books3,725 followers
February 28, 2018
Why This Book
The publisher, Gallery Books, sent me a copy of this book either because I won a Goodreads Giveaway or they thought I might like the book (I get lots of books and I can't remember how this one came to me exactly). I'm trying to close up my 2017 Reading Challenge and clean off all the outstanding books my bookshelf, so this one's turn was up next! Overall, it gets 3.5 stars!

Plot, Characters & Setting
Hannah is turning 16. Her parents throw her and some friends a party in the basement of their $2.5 million San Francisco home. Hannah invites some of the popular girls, as her fame is on the rise. She wants to fit in, but the girls bring alcohol and drugs. When something awful happens, her parents, Jeff and Kim, are thrust into a lawsuit and a divided high school. Hannah's friends are typical 16-year-old girls searching for acceptance and adult experiences. Kim and Jeff's marriage is having a few issues and they are each keeping a secret from one another. Their friends aren't sure what's wrong, but someone isn't telling the truth about the night of the party. The novel explores the lengths to which parents will go to protect their children, as well as those young adults will go to keep their own secrets.

Approach & Style
I read this 340 page paperback book in two sittings over the course of one day. It absorbed me! It's told in third person POV from the perspective of 4 or 5 main characters. Chapters alternate their focus, revealing different aspects of a story over the course of a 6-month period. The writing is clear and concise, which made it quite a quick read.

Strengths & Concerns
Harding quickly makes you dislike these characters, which is a good thing. I was immediately taken back to what life was like in high school for many students. While I felt some components were an exaggeration, I also know that things like this happened to varying degrees. For the most part, it really captured the reality of what 16-year-old girls go through, but it also showcased a particularly nasty strain of kids hoping to climb to the top. It angered me (the plot), but it also impressed me (the quality of the details). I enjoyed the leaps between different characters. It was a page-turner for me and brought me back to when I once lived in San Francisco.

On the flip side, the ending was not what I wanted nor expected. It had a few too many open questions. For a story with lots of tight components, I think this was a bit of a let-down. Ultimately, I'm not sure if I learned a less or just saw a slice of life during a short time period. I'd be fine if it were either case, but it was a bit too blurry. I definitely took sides in the conflict, which makes me wonder what kind of a person I am... in terms of who I rooted for. While I understand both sides, ultimately, the wrong people were punished for something they had little responsibility for. At the same time, it propelled the lives of every person in that school toward a new direction. If everything came together better in the end, this would have been a solid 4-rated book for me, but it unraveled in a few too many places so I knocked a half star off.

Final Thoughts
I'd still recommend this book despite the ending which threw me too much. You'll be drawn in and really enjoy witnessing the battle, as there isn't necessarily a right and wrong in an unfortunate accident like this one. It's a strong point of view and really shows the differences in the way parents and children think.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
Profile Image for Laura.
425 reviews1,254 followers
July 17, 2017
“The police were here. They said what happened was a terrible accident, but we’re not responsible. We weren’t negligent. I mean, it’s not like it was a party party. There were only a few girls. We had no way of knowing they were planning to drink...”

A parent's worst nightmare no matter how you look at it. Whether you are the one whose daughter had the slumber party where something goes terribly wrong or you're the one whose daughter's life changes forever in a serious accident. It sounds horrifying on both sides. The Party explores this concept and where responsibility lies when things go wrong at a sixteen year old's birthday party.

Hannah's mother Kim lays the rules out very clearly: no alcohol. no drugs. no pornography. and no boys. Yeah, Hannah got a kick out of the porn one too because we all know that's the top priority for 16 year old girls (note my sarcasm). But things go so wrong that Kim (fast asleep thanks to a couple glasses of wine and half a sleeping pill) and her husband Jeff get woken up in the middle of the night by Hannah with blood on her hands and tears streaming down her face. This is actually how the book begins before going back earlier that day leading up to the sleepover. I needed to know what happened, but things get a little more clear when Hannah's perspective enters the picture. All in all, there are four POVs given: Kim, Jeff, Hannah, and the mother of the victim.

Hannah just wants to be cool, so this sleepover is everything. It could make or break her spot in the popular clique. Noah started seeing her two months ago sparking the interest of two popular girls in being friends with her: Lauren and Ronni.

I wasn't sure if the story would stay interesting after the mystery of what accident occurs is revealed. It is about 16% in. From here, it's interesting to see how things play out in the aftermath. There are secrets not yet revealed, though nothing too big. The story becomes more of a family drama at this point with each character involved in different parts of what happens next. Kim is caught up in the lawsuit, as is the other mother. Jeff has secrets he wants to keep hidden. Hannah's friends at school are caught up in bullying.

A lot of questions were brought to mind regarding culpability. The girls are sixteen in the book, but under Kim and Jeff's roof. How old do you have to be before you start taking responsibility for your own actions? If you're old enough to know better and know you're breaking the rules, should you receive blame? Or should the "responsible" adult? Is it okay to knowingly provide even the smallest bit of alcohol knowing they are doing it anyway?

Every single adult in this book is selfish. Not by any means a bad thing, IMO. I wanted to punch Kim in the face every single time the incident was brought up and she needed to reiterate how it wasn't their fault. It was just so tactless. What did get annoying was the repetitiveness. Certain arguments kept happening that had just happened. and the story reaches a lull where we're stuck in this boring lawsuit and not much happens.

While this is definitely a good read, it was missing something. I do think this would make a very nice beach read to pass the time. It doesn't have too much that makes you think, but does the job well enough. It is making me reconsider having children....
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,024 reviews15.7k followers
December 9, 2017
Not quite sure what to think....
Kim and Jeff have worked hard to be perfect and have the perfect family with the perfect children... but all of that is shattered after Hannah's 16th birthday party.... this book kept me reading, but it sure did frustrate me throughout the entire book.... people didn't ever seem to want to take responsibility for their own actions.... Kim was so concerned with what everybody else thought of her, but she couldn't seem to understand why her daughter would feel the same way???

The question this book brought up to me was at what age are you responsible for your own actions? When is it no longer your parents or the responsible or not so responsible adults responsibility?

I thought this book gave us a good perspective from both the teenagers and parents viewpoints, however I would have liked to see more character growth.... and there was opportunity for this, but that twist at the end..... just ruined that!

Good book that made me think, but not with the most likable of characters....
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews610 followers
February 10, 2020
My rating?
I might as well toss a coin!
All ratings - thoughts - feelings - opinions - judgements could definitely unite together to chitchat this novel.

Many other reviews before me did an excellent job revealing the plot... so no need to be repetitive.

I’ll add a few things....
Police had already cleared Jeff and Kim Saunders of being liable for an accident at their house.
However - an important secret was withheld from the police that ‘never’ came out.
A troubled teenage girl, Lauren, tried blackmail.....
If it had worked ( slutty blackmail)... it would have changed directions of this story.
Lauren had information that the police should have had.
I don’t think the author handle this part well.
THE BIGGEST ISSUES THAT READERS WANTED TO EXPLORE ... got short changed with trite issues.

I wanted to know ALL THE FACTS -
I wanted the police to have ALL the facts - so that I could formulate in my own mind—
was the party host couple - in part - to blame?
Should they have been legally punished? Were they liable, had the ‘truth’ come out to the police?
I’m still not sure - and the author didn’t allow us to examine this ‘main’ issue.
...should Mr. and Mrs Saunders have been held responsible for the tragedy that occurred? Yes? or no?
90% of the time I felt NO!!!
‘But’ ....with the withheld information from the police - or a court trial...
I was never 100% sure!!!
Instead... we get a crappy cop -out ending. Totally unsatisfying!

I’m rating this four stars - anyway - because I think it’s worth reading- flaws and all.

Our true story:
Years ago - our younger daughter was 16 - at home by herself while Paul and I were away for the weekend- only 30 minutes away.
Sunday morning around 7am... I drove home just for a ‘second’, to pick something up I needed... then was going right back to the retreat we were at.
When I walked in the door I saw around 20 teenage boys and girls sound asleep all over the floor....in every room of our the house.
Alcohol bottles were everywhere.
Not one person was awake so I grabbed what I needed and walked right out and never said anything.
When Paul and I were returned home late that afternoon the house was spotless - our daughter at home.
Our story could’ve gone in many different directions....
Including the crappy choice that I made.
We were damn lucky that’s all I have to say.

Robyn Harding shows us a much less lucky story. Yet didn’t resolve important issues.
I suppose she was just trying to show a slice of life from all these petty people?/! Yet, not commit to who was responsible.
It’s still definitely a cautionary story.

Nerve grating - yet has an
Profile Image for Brandice.
913 reviews
August 8, 2018
I breezed through The Party, a book about a 16 year old birthday party that goes wrong, and the aftermath that ensues.

Parts of the book felt like contemporary fiction and others felt like a young adult book, due to the alternating viewpoints between the various parents and Hannah, the 16 year old birthday girl.

The story wasn't really mysterious but I raced through it, as it was easy to read, and I was eager to find out the outcome of how it would end. All of the characters were unlikeable at some point (or multiple points in some cases), but I could understand their varying perspectives re: who was at fault and that the incident could have also happened at another house.

I really disliked the ending of the book. While the big issues were resolved, it seemed to fall flat after such a big buildup. The story built, but the ending was a solid letdown.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing an ARC copy of this book to me via a Gallery giveaway, in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Laurie  (barksbooks).
1,752 reviews697 followers
January 5, 2018
2 1/2 but I'll bump it up to a 3 because it wasn't quite a 2.

I was lured into requesting this book from Netgalley when I received an email that promised me many juicy secrets and perfect people who behave very badly. I admit that I am a sucker for that kind of thing.

This is a great book to pick up if you don’t want anything too heavy, too emotional or basically anything that’ll strain the brain. It makes for a good mindless “beach book” which to me means I can drop it in the sand, get salt water all over it and even crack the spine (ahhhh!) because I’ll be leaving it behind for someone else when I’m done without feeling sad about the torture I’ve put it through. The material flirts with darkness and there is even a throwback “Heathers” moment but it never gets too deep and, for me, that was a great big problem.

So here’s the jist. Heather, uh, Hannah is turning sweet 16 and she invites her two childhood friends and two newer, cooler friends to her party.

She worries that her new friends will find her terribly uncool once they realize her mother is a controlling witch who won’t let them drink, do drugs or play with boys. Ummm, she could’ve avoided all of this angst by not inviting them in the first place but then we wouldn’t have ourselves a book now, would we? As you can suspect, the teens get up to naughtiness after mom goes to bed with a sleeping pill and some wine. Dad sneaks down and gives them a little present and soon after a very bad accident occurs that will ruin one forever and the others temporarily.

All of this setup was enjoyable and had me turning the pages awaiting some great and nasty reveals in the wake of this “event” but it never truly panned out. This accident spawns a series of Lifetime tv movie-like events that were dramatic but in the scheme of things a little too “meh” for my liking. Too much of the book gets hung up on boring lawsuit talk and selfish characters boo-hooing about the meanness of humankind whilst they ponder their navels and act like jerks.

I found myself losing interest in all of the characters somewhere after the halfway mark but especially Hannah who only cared about being the Queen Bee, even when she saw her “friends” being complete deplorables. To hell with being a decent person, popularity is far more important.

If you’re in the mood for something that is more surface than substance and can stomach a cast filled with humorless unlikable people, you may love this book but it wasn’t meant for me. I need my darkness dark and emotional and The Party didn’t deliver that for me. Honestly, if I want to entertain myself with evil teenagers, I’d rather just rewatch Heathers.
Profile Image for Lisa.
784 reviews
May 24, 2021
Every teenager should read this book its about drinking drug taking & partying that went wrong, actually it imploded.

Kim & Jeff Sanders threw their daughter Hannah a sweet sixteenth slumber party with her friends sleeping over she should of had the time of her life... right? Wrong it turned out to be a nightmare. Her best friend since they were little Ronni was found on the floor unconscious, blood on her hands as she went straight into the glass table, Kim rang Lisa her mother who takes Ambien to take the pressure of helps her sleep better Kim told her that Ronni was in the hospital & to get there quick.

When Lisa gets there she finds out her daughter could lose her eye, this puts Lisa into panic mode & concern for her daughter, then Lisa is trying to blame someone for it, yes Kim & Jeff who should have been supervising the party, Lisa decides to sue Kim & Jeff for 3 million dollars, but Kim & Jeff have secrets they want to keep.

Then Ronni returns to Hill crest high as she gets bullied & ostracised with the in crowd of Lauren, Noah & Adam setting up a Facebook page with horrid comments & calling her cyclops, all her friends were lost to her except Hannah who blames herself for Ronni's accident.

What happens from here on in is Kim & Jeff's marriage isn't the best their infidelities & they play the blame game even though they feel guilty Lisa's bitchy attitude towards her best friends could ruin it all & Hannah & Ronni are stuck in the middle, Its just total dysfunction throughout, i loved everything about this book as its what teenagers are going through peer pressure to conform or your out of the click. A fantastic read & i wont say enjoyable as it deals with consequences, i wasn't happy with the ending think it could have been written differently but still 5 stars.
Profile Image for Sherwestonstec.
754 reviews
June 23, 2017
I didn't like this book at all! I thought by the time I get to the end it has to get better...it didn't! All the characters were quite unlikeable, not one character had any redeeming qualities! It was an interesting premise but overall it was a waste of time to read, there are too many good books out there to take time to read a book that is not even well written! The ending was ridiculous.
Profile Image for Sam (Clues and Reviews).
684 reviews163 followers
July 25, 2017
I was hesitant to pick up The Party, by Robyn Harding, based on a number of mediocre reviews I was reading. Well, now that I have finished, it just goes to show you that entertainment truly is in the eye of the reader because I loved this novel.

Jeff and Kim host a sweet sixteen party for their daughter, Hannah, with some rules: no alcohol, no drugs, no boys. However rules are broken and the party turns tragic. In the aftermath, relationships are tested, secrets are revealed and nothing will be the same.

I found this one absolutely unputdownable; I binge read it over the course of a couple of hours. Harding has an uncanny ability to captivate her reader with quick prose and eloquent story telling. I loved the way the book was narrated; quick chapters told through the eyes of alternating characters (both teenaged and adult).

Do I feel like this was a traditional mystery thriller? Absolutely not; I could understand why The Party would throw off people if that were what they were expecting. This novel is much more of a contemporary fiction and really reminded me of Liane Morarity’s novels. A novel that opens up with an incident and the journey is more of an inside look at the ramifications and the changes that occur in their community.

If you are looking for a tension filled, twisted read, then yes, you will be disappointed. However, if you enjoy a character centered, focused plot with wit and emotion, then I think you will be pleased. I gave it 5/5 stars.
Profile Image for Amy.
1,944 reviews1,899 followers
June 5, 2017
All of my reviews can be found on www.novelgossip.com


The Party was a much lighter mystery than I was expecting, I would even hesitate to label it a thriller as it’s lacking a true mystery or intensity that I believe would qualify it as such. It actually reminded me of Truly Madly Guilty in the sense that it was about a shocking event that has huge ramifications for a group of people. You do find out what happens pretty early on, so there wasn’t the annoying wait for the big reveal. I appreciated this as waiting for information that ends up being lackluster is a huge pet peeve of mine.

This is told from the perspectives of four people; Kim and Jeff who are the parents that threw the infamous party, their daughter Hannah and Lisa the mother of one of Hannah’s friends that attended the party. I’m a fan of this structure and it worked well enough here, but every single one of the characters was very unlikable. Sometimes selfish, insipid characters don’t bother me, but this time it didn’t work out so well for me. I had a hard time feeling sympathetic towards any of them which in turn meant I struggled to form a connection with any of them and left me not really caring what happened to them one way or another.

I do want to be clear and say that with the right reader, I think this could be an enjoyable read, unfortunately I just don’t think I was the target audience. I expected more tension and instead it was mostly law suits and high school politics. The ending really missed the mark for me but I don’t want to get into it to much for fear of spoilers, I’ll just say that I had hoped maybe some of the characters would have had more growth and maturity by the end. If you’re looking for a mindless summer read and don’t mind a lack of mystery in a book classified as such, The Party may be for you.
Profile Image for Catherine McKenzie.
Author 30 books4,662 followers
June 10, 2017
I got an advanced reader's copy of this book and raced through it. Good insight into both the parents and the kids affected by what went wrong at the party. A good summer read.
Profile Image for Lisa.
647 reviews241 followers
December 2, 2017
The Party
Robyn Harding

MY RATING ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️▫️
PUBLISHER Scout Press/Simon and Schuster
PUBLISHED June 6, 2017

A tense and riveting domestic drama about the perfect family and aftermath of a tragic accident that threatens to tear the family apart.

Hannah Sanders wanted a legendary sweet sixteen birthday party. She was finally one of the cool girls at school and needed to maintain her social status. She invited four girls over for a sleepover. Hannah knew the party was not going to be just any party when she hid a bottle of vodka underneath the couch. The other girls brought contributions as well. The four girls were having fun until things went horribly wrong. Hannah woke her mom up from a alcohol and Ambien induced haze in the middle of the night There was blood on Hannah’s hands. Hannah’s friend Ronni had fallen through a glass table and had a severe cut on her face. An ambulance is called and Ronni is rushed to the hospital. Hannah’s parents, Jeff and Kim’s idyllic life begin to unravel as Ronni’s mother, Lisa demands retribution. Friends turn against the Sanders and dark secrets are revealed about their marriage and their lives.

It’s scary how quickly your life and that of your family can be altered forever. And how easily one lie leads to another and another until you have a huge web of deceit. With the turn of every page, THE PARTY reveals multiple lives spinning out of control by lies, deception and cover-up. ROBYN HARDING’s writing is smooth and easy to read. The book is an amazingly quick read and kept me turning pages until four in the morning. Any parent of a teen should read this book. It’s about the seemingly perfect family, pressures of high school and the impact of bullying. The characters were believable and the story, while a work of fiction, could easily happen anywhere. It’s about what really happened at the party that night. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare.

Profile Image for Robyn Harding.
Author 16 books2,926 followers
June 29, 2017
Hi everyone! I'm so excited about my new novel, "The Party" out June 6. It is a departure for me, a dark story that pulls back the curtains on a "perfect" family who show their true colors after a devastating accident. I hope you will enjoy it and help spread the word!!
Profile Image for Crime by the Book.
192 reviews1,652 followers
May 24, 2017
Read my full review here: http://crimebythebook.com/blog/2017/5...

I'd give this book between a 2.5/5 and a 3/5. It's not a really bad read by any means - it honestly just fell flat for me. It was just too average. A lack of psychological insight, tension, and suspense makes this a tough read to get invested in. If you're looking for really light interpersonal suspense and some occasional wit/dark humor about the lengths people will go to in order to project a perfect image to the world, you might enjoy this one. But overall, with so many great thrillers releasing this summer, I wouldn't recommend it.
Profile Image for Debbie.
1,751 reviews96 followers
May 27, 2017
It's all fun and games until someone loses an . . .

This book showed the ugly side of everyone when a horrible tragedy happens at a sixteenth birthday party. The party starts innocent enough when Hannah's mother Kim starts it with the rules. No alcohol, no drugs and no boys. Then the party is on. The rules, a total waste of Kim's breath. A fact Kim discovers when she is awoken from her two glasses of wine and half an ambien idled sleep several hours later by her blood covered daughter, Hannah. Kim and her family's life goes downhill after that.

It was amazing how people's personalities and opinions changed after this party. Just like the high schoolers, the parent's became selfish, greedy, and childish. The author did a great job with the characters and they became and were real people in my mind. There were so many times I wanted to jump up out of my chair and just beat the crap out of some of these people. Seriously, how ridiculous can one be and still call themselves an adult?

A story that looked at teenagers and adults when a life changing crisis and small, insignificant at the time, mistakes can change their lives.

Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,471 reviews1,009 followers
October 5, 2017
Seriously, everyone in this novel was hateful. HATEFUL.

It was extraordinarily compelling though and I devoured it in short order. I'll write up a fuller review for the website when I'm back from my down time but yeah, seriously, parents, be careful what you are teaching your children through learned behaviour!

Profile Image for j e w e l s.
315 reviews2,418 followers
August 8, 2018
Lately, I've gone through a very fast run of mediocre audio books. I'm sure these books are perfectly fine to read in print, but they absolutely did not work for me to listen to and in most cases, I did not listen very long. Either the narrators are no bueno or the format of the book does not lend itself well to audio.

I want to keep a list, so I won't try them again on audio.
Profile Image for Brian.
1,694 reviews43 followers
December 10, 2017
This book was kind of a hot mess in terms of characters, plot and pacing. Let's first dive into the basic plot: It's Hannah's sweet 16! Her dad, being the brown nosing type who just wants to be so "cool" decides to buy some bubbly for the party. He tells the girls, "don't tell your mother!" Jeff, the father is training for a triathlon and just seems like a bit of a jerk. The mother is very strict and has a ton of house rules. She acts like she's the perfect mother, but in reality, she's contemplating an affair with her colleague. And she simply can't forgive her husband for being caught with some drugs last year. At the night of the sweet 16, things go horribly wrong and one of the girls becomes severely injured. What follows is a soap opera like plot that includes blackmail, disability, suicide, more affairs, and a lot more unlikable characters. I can safely say that by the end of this book, there wasn't a single character who I felt who had any sort of moral values. There was one section (and keep in mind that this is an advanced reading copy) that pissed me off. It was literally a chapter that was presented early that was copied word for word. It continued but surely there must has been a more elegant way of doing this. I am reading a book, not watching a TV show and seeing "on the last episode.." The plot was entertaining mostly, but it just was kind of a trainwreck overall.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for DeAnna.
46 reviews71 followers
February 11, 2018
Oh what to say about this book.....my first thought is that there was too much family and teenage drama and not enough mystery for this book to be categorized as a mystery. It also felt like I was reading a YA novel. I enjoyed the book enough to give it 3⭐️ but it wasn't what I was expecting. I'm a thriller lover so I was a little let down by the lack of mystery, but for a reader that likes contemporary drama, this book would be great.
Profile Image for Sarah.
744 reviews44 followers
January 31, 2019
I've written this review for Really Into This

Check out all of our reviews at https://reallyintothis.com
Happy Reading, friends!

I was Really looking forward to reading The Party. The premise is right up my alley; I love books where secrets are exposed, values are tested, altercations occur & I already know the gist of the climax- that way, I know what I’m getting Into.

I read The Party in one day & it’s a good summer read. I loved how Robyn told the story of The Party through the eyes of a few different characters; I felt it added some depth to the story. I’ll be honest, there were parts of this book that were hard to read. These are not the most likable characters & these high school girls are awful! Drugs, sex, lies, manipulation, a law suit & more. These characters were a challenge to connect with & even more of a challenge to root for.

I’ve heard The Party likened to my homegirl Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, but I didn’t think there were many similarities. Robin’s characters carry sadness & a bit more weight around than Liane’s. The cast of The Party is a messed up bunch of folks, more similar to Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest.

While The Party was a good read, it didn’t stick with me. There were parts I just didn’t buy, parts that made me roll my eyes & the ending wrapped up really quickly. I re-read the last bit twice & it left me with a furrowed brow, confused & frustrated. When I give my time to a book, I don’t like guessing at the end. I could see why someone could be Really Into This book, but it just wasn’t for me.

Special thanks to Robyn Harding, Gallery Books & NetGalley for providing our copy in exchange for an honest & fair review.
Profile Image for Cesar.
365 reviews237 followers
February 18, 2018
4 stars

I've mentioned before how much I love family drama and scandals in books. There's something about them that draws me in. The lies, the secrets, the drama. The Party is no exception. I really enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. With the mixed reviews, I expected to feel neutral about it. Surprisingly, I wasn't. I had a great time.

Hannah Sanders is prepared to throw a great sweet 16 party with a few of her friends. Things go out of control when one of her friends gets hurt. Hannah's parents, Kim and Jeff, are now involved as they try to figure out what to do after the incident. Their lives are far from perfect and Kim wants to keep up the facade of a perfect family. But in reality, it's not the perfect family. As hard as she tries, she's not the perfect mother. And their perfect daughter Hannah may not be as perfect.

The Party reminded me a lot of Megan Abbott's You Will Know Me, and they may have been a factor as to why I liked The Party. I love family dramas and both books delivered in that department. The Party had that effect of excitement and dread. The excitement coming from Kim and Jeff trying to take control of the situation and dread from the incoming consequences of Hannah's party.

Is this book for everyone? I would say no because I did read other reviews and I found them to be valid. You either have to be in the mood or like family drama. Even then, there are the characters which are a hit or miss with some.

What I liked

The characters and their actions were what made me really like the book. By no means are the characters perfect. They are flawed, damaged, and even unlikable. But it's the realness of them, their mistakes and flaws that made me like them. The major running themes are family and truth. The Sanders is far from the perfect family. You could sympathize with them, or you could dislike them. While I did feel sorry for them at times, there were moments where I wanted to smack them in the head. the harper

What Harding did well was giving us the view from a 16-year-old girl. Hannah wants to fit in and be part of the popular crowd. But high school isn't easy, as is being a teenager. High school is cruel and mean. And so are teenagers. Hannah wants it all but at the same time, she can't have it all.

This was one of those books that I could not put down. It took me a while to read since I was busy, but in my free time, I flew through it. I wanted to know what the hell was going on.

One tiny flaw

This flaw wasn't a bad one by any means, but I did wish there was more closure in the end. It wasn't a bad ending by any means. If anything, I thought it was good. I don't mind the open-ended ending, but I did wish for more closure.


I was anticipating a mixed reaction from The Party, but it turns out I liked it! I'm so glad I was able to get my hands on it and read it before the new year! This is my final book of the year, completing my reading challenge!

Would I recommend The Party? I would say this is a library read. I know this book won't be for everyone, but I do recommend giving it a shot if your library has it.

Thanks for reading my review!

Profile Image for Namita.
527 reviews33 followers
August 1, 2017
The Party by Robyn Harding is a book about the ramifications of one wrong decision on your life and the society around you.

Hannah has a sweet sixteen sleepover party where she invites her four closest friends. Her parents Kim and Jeff think it’s going to be clean fun. Kim lays down the rules like any sensible parent no alcohol, no drugs and no boys . But the girls have different idea of fun and party. Soon in the middle of the night Kim is woken up by a panicked Hannah with her hands covered in blood and every parent’s worst nightmare comes true.

This book is not a thriller or a suspense but a fast paced family drama. Most of the characters were selfish , self-centered and unlikable but Robyn Harding did a good job presenting their perspective forward. 3 ½ stars for this contemporary fiction.

Many thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books & NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest and fair review.

This and more reviews at https://chloesbooksblog.wordpress.com/
Profile Image for Cristiana.
218 reviews88 followers
May 3, 2022
2.5⭐️. Até gostei do livro mas ao mesmo tempo parece que não aconteceu nada mais do que aquilo que eu já sabia antes de o ler. Faltou acontecer alguma coisa “wow”, algo interessante lá pelo meio mas foi sempre meio monótono
Profile Image for Chris  C - A Midlife Wife.
1,561 reviews291 followers
June 15, 2017
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this new release. I kind of hesitated about even reading it because I am always afraid of what can happen with freak accidents. Been there – done that!

But as I dived into the story, I was pulled in by the twists and turns and the secrets of the family members held. You never really know what people are doing even when you expect more from those you love.

The story is a fast read and deals with most of the family members and their reaction to the events of the party. Interesting plot twists and compelling character development meant that this book was a surprise with every page turn.

Raw and riveting, the author shows us the inside turmoil of a family torn apart at the seams. The good and bad side of people. The human condition as people choose sides amidst the hurt and anger, and even hostility.

This is the first book that I’ve read by this author. Her craftsmanship of this book pulls you in because you never know what to expect from the characters. With deep clarity of the human psyche, she brings a captivating story that leaves you with a surprise ending.

full review: http://amidlifewife.com/the-party-by-...
* Copy received for review consideration
Profile Image for Leah Bayer.
567 reviews214 followers
June 21, 2017
2.5 stars

This light, fluffy book is exactly what you'd expect from the blurb and cover: Liane Moriarty light. 2.5 seems like a low rating but I didn't hate it. It was mindless fun, which sometimes you need, but not particularly well-executed mindless fun. I have very few feelings about this one way or the other and not much to say about it. All the characters are terrible but the plot is interesting, though it never really delivers on the wham-moment reveal you are expecting. The drama is a bit trite and everyone acts like a moron, but the writing is solid and the pacing is excellent. Probably a really good beach read.
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