Book Review: Dark Parties by Sara Grant

Sixteen-year-old Neva has been trapped since birth. She was born and raised under the Protectosphere, in an isolated nation ruled by fear, 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.

Release Date:  August 2, 2011
Age Group:  Young Adult
Publisher:  Hachette Book Group
Source:  NetGalley

I really enjoyed this dystopia.  Dystopia is one of my favorite genres, especially YA dystopia.  I looked forward to Dark Parties when I wasn't reading and found myself reading longer than I should have (like reading instead of doing laundry or housework).  I know what you're thinking: Who wants to do housework when you could be reading?  The answer is me---because I love having a clean house! 

I have a hard time not comparing books in any given genre to my favorite books in that genre.  I tend to hold books to high standards, for example I compare all paranormal YA books to Twilight.  I tend to compare all dystopian books to George Orwell's 1984 (my first-ever dystopia), Lois Lowry's The Giver series and Suzanne Collins' Gregor the Overlander series.  Dark Parties reminded me of all three of those books, in a good way.  It took me a little while to get into the story and figure out what was going on, but once I did, I really enjoyed the book. 

There are a lot of unique elements to Dark Parties.  Take Neva's name for example.  I love her name, as well the other characters' names: Senna and Braydon.  I like that in a world of same-ness, Grant's characters try to differentiate themselves by identity marks and unique jewelry.  

I also liked Neva's 'get-up-and-go' personality.  She never gave up on her dreams, and never stopped believing in the right thing.  She had a few totally natural and expected moments of weakness, but they served to fortify her character and strength of convictions.   

I did have a few complaints, although overall I liked the book as a whole.  I wish Grant would have explored the Women's Empowerment Center more.  Maybe that is something to be addressed in a sequel---wait, is there a sequel?  I don't know, but I hope so!  The plot got a little predictable.  I predicted what would happen with Neva's dad as well as the conclusion to Braydon's story.  My last complaint is that the writing felt choppy at times.  The book is a first person narrative from Neva's point of view and the writing felt like steam-of-consciousness at some points. 

Other than those myriad complaints, I thought Dark Parties was a great read.  Fans of dystopia will really like it.  If you're not a fan of dystopia, it would be a good introduction into the genre, as it is such a character-driven book.  It kind of eases the reader into the dystopian world.  I would definitely read more from Sara Grant in the future.



  1. Kelli, feel free to come over and clean my house. ;)

    I'm the same type of reader. I can't help comparing books to my favorite in that genre. Sometimes a story just sticks with you and other pale in comparison or really pack a punch. Glad to know that as a dystopian story, DP is gentle with it's readers. Sounds like an interesting way to approach the circumstances.

    Thanks for the review.

  2. Sign me up for the housecleaning, too!
    Great review - I wasn't sure about this book, but you've convinced me to give it a try.

    We're Twilight fans and we're not ashamed to say it!

  3. This sounds fantastic. I must check it out.


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