Susan Francis's Reviews > Afterparty

Afterparty by Ann Redisch Stampler
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Afterparty reads like a cross-over of genres into psychological thriller territory - a sort of YA Gone Girl.

The writing is smart and perceptive and I am sure there are many out there who will be able to relate to much of what occurs in this book, be they YAs with the experiences still current or adults looking back on past experiences.

Redisch Stampler does that thing I like; she does not over-explain things. A lot is left unsaid and it is up to the reader to think about the text (and context) and fill in the blanks. A simple example being the part about Emma taking notes in class for Dylan (clearly he did not need them).

The author also demonstrates in this novel the way individuals perceive themselves differently from the way others do. Emma is convinced that she is bad (that her moral compass is warped), but as much as she tried to convince me of this, I have to disagree. It seemed to me her behaviour was the result of (1) her father who (ironically is a psychiatrist) not dealing with his own 'issues' and projecting them on his daughter, and (2) reacting to her emotionally screwed-up friend, to whom she becomes devoted. That said, Emma is responsible for her bad choices and has to deal with the consequences of those choices. Speaking of which, I can guarantee that you will become annoyed and frustrated with the key characters as they are human and at times behave in ways that make you want to shout at them. In most cases, however, their behaviour is completely understandable, if not justified. I say most cases because I did struggle to understand why a smart guy like Dylan allows himself to be manipulated not once but twice.

For reasons mentioned above, I believe this one will be like Marmite (readers will either love it or will take issue with it since, a lot of the time, characters are either being nasty or they are victims of nasty behaviour.) It certainly does not portray the environment of the elite private school, or the rich people and their children who attend them, in a positive light. It got me thinking about the disparity between wealth and happiness.

I found it to be a pager-turner of a novel and I stayed up until the early hours reading it (I simply could not put it down).

(As you probably deduced), I also found it thought-provoking. I found myself drawing parallels with Catcher in the Rye and also Where'd You Go, Bernadette - both favourites of mine. All of these novels examine the high end of social class and wealth in a similar way. Also, they are all told from the point of view of teenagers but with writing sophisticated enough to target teenage and adult readers alike.

Perhaps it is too early for me to call Afterparty one of my favourites for 2014, but if I am to read many more as good as this what an excellent year for reading it will be.
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Reading Progress

December 19, 2013 – Shelved
December 19, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
December 20, 2013 – Started Reading
December 20, 2013 – Shelved as: r2r
December 23, 2013 –
15.0% "I just finished chap 4 and I am in no hurry. Why? Because I want to savour this one. Yes, the writing is that good."
December 27, 2013 –
38.0%
December 29, 2013 –
page 100
24.04%
December 30, 2013 –
page 293
70.43%
December 30, 2013 – Shelved as: my-faves
December 30, 2013 – Shelved as: five-star-reads
December 30, 2013 – Shelved as: rom
December 30, 2013 – Shelved as: read-in-2013
December 30, 2013 – Shelved as: rom-no-fluff
December 30, 2013 – Shelved as: thought-provoking
December 30, 2013 – Shelved as: ya
December 30, 2013 – Shelved as: ya-contemporary
December 30, 2013 – Finished Reading
January 12, 2014 – Shelved as: books-reviewed
February 24, 2014 – Shelved as: ya-five-star

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