Thursday, January 9, 2014

Afterparty - Ann Redisch Stampler

Afterparty book cover Ann Redisch Stampler
Afterparty by Ann Redisch Stampler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: December 31, 2013
Source/Format: Edelweiss (Thank you, S&S!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

Emma is tired of being good. Always the dutiful daughter to an overprotective father, she is the antithesis of her mother -- whose name her dad won't even say out loud. That's why meeting Siobhan is the best thing that ever happened to her...and the most dangerous. Because Siobhan is fun and alluring and experienced and lives on the edge. In other words, she's everything Emma is not.

And it may be more than Emma can handle. 

Because as intoxicating as her secret life may be, when Emma begins to make her own decisions, Siobhan starts to unravel. It's more than just Dylan, the boy who comes between them. Their high-stakes pacts are spinning out of control. Elaborate lies become second nature. Loyalties and boundaries are blurred. And it all comes to a head at the infamous Afterparty, where debauchery rages and an intense, inescapable confrontation ends in a plummet from the rooftop... (from Goodreads)

Afterparty will not be a book for everyone. It's, no doubt, going to be one of those reads where the reader either loves it or does not. For this particular reader, the novel fell right into the grey area of average.

I have said this about a few other books, but it's really true of this one: Afterparty is very much like Gossip Girl. In spite of being set across the country in California, the level of dramatics and the quality of these teenage antics brought the GG television show to mind immediately. Everything that occurs from beginning to end gets played off as what it's like in the lives of hardcore, entitled, rich teenagers with access to everything -- particularly drinks, drugs and sex. And just like Gossip Girl, I just couldn't resist finding out how everything would turn out in the end.

If Afterparty were Gossip Girl, Emma would be closest in character to Jenny Humphrey. She's the new girl in town, freshly minted yet again as she has been her whole life. She wants to fit in with her  (possibly insane) best friend Siobhan and the glamorous new world she belongs to now, but at the same time, she wants to be the opposite of her wild child mother. Basically, Emma has two sides to the person she wants to be tearing her apart. While that's not an excuse for her behaviour, it does explain why her choices tended to be erratic, emotional and not always the best ideas.

Many of these choices are, in fact, spurred by her desire to keep and please her "best friend" Siobhan. Siobhan is quite a character, skilled at the art of manipulation, often selfish and crazy impulsive at nearly all times. While it was clear right off the bat when their friendship started becoming toxic, I also understood why Emma couldn't just turn her back on Siobhan, who had been the first person to befriend her in this new world. She (Siobhan) needs some serious help though, because she was way too reckless about everything.

Honestly, reading Afterparty is like watching an accident happen in front of your eyes: it's awful, but you can't look away. Readers know that Emma is making bad choices and awful decisions; I know I wanted to yell at her a time or two! But it's still kind of fascinating to watch her downward spiral, and curious to see where it ends up leading her in the end.

While I can't vouch for Afterparty as enjoyable, I can certainly say it was something. It might not have been the best read, but at least it was as entertaining as an episode of Gossip Girl.

16 comments:

  1. Wow, I love your new design. I read something about it on Twitter, but I didn't have time to see it. It looks great!

    I think that I would most likely end up in the hating section. I don't read many of these books and this doesn't sound enjoyable to me.. I'm happy that it was at least good enough to be entertaining :)

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    1. Thank you for your compliments on the new design! Rachel (Hello, Chelly) did a fabulous job, though we're still tweaking graphics and I'm still editing old posts.

      Yeeeeeah. I'm thinking if you don't normally like books like this, you might want to steer clear of this one. It's trippy, and very Gossip Girl-y, but not exactly the contemporary I was expecting.

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  2. "Reading Afterparty is like watching an accident happen in front of your eyes: it's awful, but you can't look away" -- YES! This exactly!

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    1. I love that this was the line that struck you the most from my review, Anna! It was a little bit of a train wreck of a book, wasn't it?

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  3. That's exactly what I was trying to say! Glad it wasn't just me! I ended up just skimming the middle and reading the end. I actually reviewed this today too! Great review!

    Nikki H @ Take Me Away...

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    1. I'm glad it wasn't just me either! It seems that most people feel this way about Afterparty. I'm off to check your review, but thank you for commenting on mine!

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  4. Gossip Girl is a great comparison-I can't believe everything these kids got up to and yet I couldn't really put this book down.

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    1. I'm glad you think that the GG comparison is fitting! There's a lot of crazy things that go down in this book, particularly at the big party. Even though it was horrifying, it was also really compelling -- so I have to give the author props for writing a book I had to finish reading.

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  5. Yah you are right, it was as entertaining as an episode of Gossip Girl.
    By th by thanks for Great review!

    RashEd @ Clipping Path India.

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    1. I'm really loving the fact that everyone thinks the Gossip Girl comparison is a good one. It seriously was the first thing that came to mind when I started drafting my review!

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  6. Even though you didn't love this one, your review really makes me want to read this! The premise sounds pretty good and oddly I kind of like books that the character spirals. Will have to take a chance on this one.

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    1. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts, honestly. It didn't work out all that well for me, obviously, but you might have a different take on it! You'll have to keep me posted if and when you read this.

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  7. Interesting. I had no desire to read this one before, and that hasn't change, but I like how you presented this book in your review. I always thought the few episodes of Gossip Girl that I watch were ridiculous, but enjoyable. Great analogy! I won't be reading this book, but I'm glad it wasn't like, a complete waste of time for you :)

    Fantastic review!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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    1. Thank you, Alyssa! This book is almost EXACTLY like a GG episode, and your way of describing them is pretty much how I'd describe the story too.

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  8. So I've been reading lots of good things about this one and definitely want to read it. But now that you've compared it to Gossip Girl???? *runs to store and buys* *binge reads in one night* Seriously I freaking love that show. It's addictive in the most horrifying way (if that makes sense). Who do you think most closely meshes up with Siobhan's character?

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    1. "It's addictive in the most horrifying way." -- I love that you said this, because it's true! Even when the GG storyline started to become borderline crazytown (with too many elements and new characters and whatnot), I still had to watch. AND I had to watch all the way up until it ended too!

      I think Siobhan is most like Serena, even though Serena is a lot more intelligent than she is. She also kind of reminds me of Georgina during Georgina's party girl days, when G tries to get S to go back to partying!

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