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.