Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dark Parties by Sara Grant

Dark Parties by Sara Grant

Dark Parties is a dystopian novel about a country that generations ago closed its borders to people and ideas. No one knows what exists outside their protected society. Neva and her best friend secretly plot to force the government to open its borders. Anyone who threatens the government seems to disappear mysteriously. Neva receives a message from her grandma who vanished without a trace 10 years ago, inviting her to escape to the outside. Now she has a choice–stay and save her country or leave and save herself. (from


I liked this book a lot.  I didn’t love it.  Honestly, coming on the heels of two fabulous dystopian reads, this book had a lot to live up to, so it seems almost unfair.  It took me a while to get into the story, but once I did, I really enjoyed it.

I found that the character of Neva had to grow on me.  I wasn’t sure that I liked her a lot to begin with, but as the novel progressed, I realized what a strong young woman she was.  Sanna was set up in the beginning to seem like she was the strong one, but in the end, she just wasn’t.  I found that I really didn’t like Sanna all that much and I never really found a lot in her character that was redeeming.  She actually seemed sort of flat.

The male characters were very interesting.  In spite of everything, I found that I still liked Braydon a lot at the end of the novel. The author really threw in some curve balls with Ethan and Braydon that I just didn’t see coming.  That was really fun!  (For me, but probably not for the characters!)  The best part is that they were curve balls that made sense when it happened even though it may not have been what the reader was looking for at the time.

I felt that the whole idea of the protectosphere was very timely.  The terrorist attack was tied in nicely and gave one pause for reflection.  It was easy to see how the society had moved to the point of building the protectosphere as a way to “preserve their own superior cultural values.”  This, of course, should lead the reader to contemplate how this is reflected in our own society.  I liked the way the author presented these ideas in a way that should cause reflection without being in the reader’s face.

The ending was a bit of a shock for me.  I feel like it wrapped up, but I find myself wondering what happened to lots of the characters.  I can’t find any information on a sequel.  I would definitely not be opposed to one, although it is probably not necessary.  I wonder if perhaps the author has left the possibility open in case she wants to write more in the future.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable book.  It wasn’t quite as strong as some of the other dystopian fiction I’ve read lately, but it was still a good book.  I would probably rate this book A-.

Thanks to Little, Brown for the Advance Reading Copy.  This book will be available for purchase on August, 3, 2011.

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