Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: August 3, 2011
Sixteen-year-old Neva has been trapped since birth. She was born and raised under the Protectosphere, in an isolated nation ruled by dear, lies, and xenophobia. A shield "protects" them from the outside world, but also locks the citizens inside. But there's nothing left on the outside, ever since the world collapsed from violent warfare. Or so the government says...
Neva and her best friend Sanna believe the government is lying and stage a "dark party" to recruit members for their underground rebellion. But as Neva begins to uncover the truth, she realizes she must question everything she's ever known, including the people she loves the most.
Dark Parties was a little strange. I found the pacing to be a little odd along with the flow of the story. Things just felt a little jumbled which made the reading experience a bit uncomfortable, but not terrible.
Some other things that added to the strangeness:
-- The romantic relationship
-- All the sex/sex talk
-- Neva’s constant volley between trust and hate
Okay, let me just touch on those first two on the list. First, the relationship. WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS THAT?! I can tell you what it wasn’t. It certainly wasn’t a healthy relationship. It was lust, plain and simple. The only thing Neva actually knows about him as a person is that he likes to make masks as art. The only other things she knows is that she knows is that she likes the way he kisses and he’s her best friend’s boyfriend. I’m seriously not exaggerating about this. Long story short? The relationship did not work for me even the tiniest bit. In fact, I was literally scoffing at them at the end of the story.
Thing two: What is with all the sex?! I know being a teenager means your hormones are all out of whack, but seriously. The first couple pages are all sexy times. It actually made me a bit uncomfortable. I kind of understand where Grant was going with it for the story, but I feel like it could’ve been toned down or done differently.
Now for the good. I think Grant did a fantastic job of writing a standalone (you can correct me if I’m wrong about that) dystopian. She gave the entire story body from side character personality (save for Braydon) to the back story of the world. I appreciated that she actually gave a back story for why the world was a dystopian. That often just gets swept under the rug when it comes to standalones. The story itself was good as well. There was a conflict, the main character reached her end goal and there were losses along the way. I just simply couldn’t get past all the little weirdnesses. Yep, that’s going to be a word now.
The Nutshell: Dark Parties has a good dystopian story complete with a past that doesn’t get ignored. However, due to the weird romantic relationship along with some other minor things I ended up not really enjoying it. I can’t say this is a book I would recommend, but that doesn’t mean others won’t like it.