Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
SciFi Element: Future, Dystopian
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Review copy provided by publisher via ALA2011.

Another trip into a dystopian landscape had me shivering at the thought of what could be. Sara Grant’s DARK PARTIES was spine tingling good with all the great anxiety ridden flavors that a psychological dystopian thriller should have. Grant’s writing had my brain churning as I was rooting for Neva to escape Homeland. DARK PARTIES was definitely a unique addition to the dystopian young adult genre and I can’t wait to read more from Grant.

In Grant’s imagined future there is a place called Homeland. To escape toxins and war-caused disasters the remaining human population covered themselves with a Protectosphere, a giant shield that protects the citizens against harmful air and other nasties that exist outside. The Protectoshere is there for the citizens own good, because there is nothing left on the outside – according to the government. But, Neva’s grandmother told her otherwise…and then she disappeared. Since then Neva has kept a record of the Missing and each day it grows and so does Neva’s distrust of the Homeland ruling parties, one of which is her father. Small rebellions against the government is what Neva and her best friend Sanna set out to do, they host a Dark Party to recruit people to help them stage a demonstration. A small act of defiance – but something that will make a difference, wake people up.

Neva’s Dark Party does more than wake people up it alerts the government to her rebellious ways and Neva is questioned and other members of her rebellion become part of the Missing. Because of Neva’s father she is given a second chance but she is forced to work for her father, becoming part of the problem, a drone for the government in charge of covering up historical records. What is meant to cow her only strengthens her thoughts of escape…but Neva’s actions will become harmful to the people she loves and now it’s not just her life at stake but her friends and her family.

Grant built a very different world in this dystopian young adult novel. It was a very unique take on something that could very well happen. In the wake of wars, famine, greed and corruption – isn’t it tempting to close yourself off from the rest of the world? Hide behind a protective barrier? Then added to that interesting thought, Grant broke down the repercussions of living in a closed off society, the breakdown of technology because of the lack of production facilities. All clothing and accessories are basically hand-me-downs. Food supplies dwindle to only the food that is able to be produced within the sphere and total control by the government is enacted so the citizens will not demand release. It was a scary depiction of a closed off society and it definitely had me thinking. This isn’t your action packed dystopian like DIVERGENT or THE HUNGER GAMES, this one is more like a mystery/thriller, with twists and turns that will have you not knowing which way to turn until the very end. Grant threw it all at me.

As far as character’s go, Neva was a character that I could identify with, but she was about the only character that I liked. Even Sanna her best friend I couldn’t really touch-base with because I found she was a bit too flakey for me and she was also used sometimes as the information conduit to move the plot along and that didn’t go over that well. I couldn’t tell with her. Is she rebelling or falling in love and staying out of things? I wasn’t quite sure. I did like the romantic aspect and I thought Grant put a unique twist on the whole love triangle interplay. Yet, thinking back on it and what was revealed at the end I don’t see the reasoning behind Braydon’s actions. You’ll have to read it to understand it – and if you have read it what are your thoughts?

Overall it was a good book and a nice addition to the genre. I wouldn’t rank it at the top of that genre but it is very worth your time and thoughts. A must read – because in essence it is going against some really heavy comparison. I was taken in by the plot, the world-building and the main character, moved along by the mystery behind the world and the romantic entanglements gave it the added oompf it needed, added to that the horrific discoveries that ha
ppen later on in the book – DARK PARTIES by Sara Grant made for a compelling read. I could literally describe it as a modern young adult 1984. I rated it down 1 star because of the few inconsistencies in the plot that didn’t reveal themselves until after completion (a plot trick that worked to keep the anxiety up but didn’t make sense at the end) and because I couldn’t relate to the secondary characters.

Recommended for fans of WITHER by Lauren DeStefano, DELERIUM by Lauren Oliver and other books of that ilk. This is a dystopian young adult but there are quite a few references to sex and the characters are quite free about it since the government pushes teens to procreate, nothing descriptive though. There is also some explicit language used. Recommended for mature teens.

I enjoyed this dystopian, but don’t just take my word for it. Read an excerpt and judge for yourself.

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Like this Like That

  1. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
  2. DELERIUM by Lauren Oliver

About the author:
Sara Grant is an American living in the UK. Born and raised in Washington, Indiana, Sara graduated from Indiana University with degrees in journalism and psychology. She now works as a freelance writer and editor for Working Partners, a London-based company creating series fiction for children. She lives in London with her husband. This is her first novel.

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