Told from the separate perspectives of students at the local high school, Party, is a glimpse into the world of teenagers who are trying to fight through the crowds.
Have you ever read one of those books, the kind of story that is so close to home you are aware that it could be literally happening in your neighborhood? Party by Tom Leveen is one of those.
The story is told from the speculative vantage points of eleven students from the “local” high school. Without repeating the events of the night redundantly Leveen uses his gifts as a storyteller to weave the nights bitter, and trying tale, to include and reach everyone. You won’t be bored, you may even gobble it all up in one sitting, I know I did!
The problems that these characters face were so intriguing, they weren’t hot button issues, using taboo words to hype up the need to hear about the scandal. In fact, there really is not scandal, I mean there is an event, but it’s not like the character’s world, or your own will be shattered when it comes. I mean that with no disrespect at all, I love subtly, and I think this author possesses it with great finesse and strength as a storyteller, which I find rare in this genre of YA, in which the characters are contemporary and leading normal lives all in the course of a few hours, not months, or years, but hours. This book is a gift, but the author is gifted. I really want to stress that fact as this is a 2010 debut author book! Hooray!
Everyone will have a favorite character, so I may as well say that I have a soft spot for Beckett and Morrigan, they were both so incredibly unique and I was glad to be in their minds, both proved the old adage, “Be kinder than necessary, because you never know who is fighting a silent battle.”
My one problem was that- Tommy and Daniel sort of blurred at the edges for me. They were too similar to really make a great impact and only served to move the storyline forward. I suppose that is a good thing, you wouldn’t want characters who slowed the pacing, but I felt that they could have been less stereotypical, what with the portrayals of Josh, Morrigan, Beckett, and Anthony being so poignant and unique, as if there were four authors writing these characters, instead of only one! But again, I can’t even criticize Leveen, my attempt ended positively because this man has skillz!
I had one thought, which was that I would have liked to have read a chapter from the perspective of Morrigan’s mother. Read the book and then tell me if you think that would have been too easy, or just perfect.
Pick it up, it is my favorite 2010 debut, I’ve read, thus far.
Thoughts on the cover: I love the cover, my only problem wasn’t even a problem, but I kept jamming my fingers between the pages just to try an identify who I was looking at- again. I kept changing some of my guesses as I got to know the characters! Very cool, even if it doesn’t look “tidy.” Usually I love a clean cover, but the chaos resembles a high school party and “the scene,” which is, of course, a character in and of itself.
Notes on the names: Leveen made my job easy because every chapter was named for the narrator, and all the names were repeated, while the bolded name was the speaker. So, I figured I’d look at the names and if I thought it fit the character.
Beckett: Is a girl, which automatically gives you a sense of who her mother was, to name her daughter a boys name. I loved that “statement” because Becks mother was an invisible, yet vital character, I wanted to know as much about her as I could, since she was one of the few who couldn’t speak for themselves.
Morrigan: Coolest name by far, and no, for all you out there who think that I and the author are having serious typo problems, Morrigan is it’s own name and not to be confused with Morgan. Take what you want from the character, the name and who named her, but take what you need too, and that’s all I’ll say on my favorite character.
Tommy: He and Daniel blurred for me, and they are both classic boy names, not extremely cool, sexy, associated with a class, an ethnicity ect. just boys names.
Brent: Sort of a tools name, a little popular boy edge in there. I could see him as a boarder.
Daniel: See Tommy
Azize: means “servant of the” and would be part of a title, so I wasn’t sure if an ethnic family who was trying to make there way in America would have chosen this name. It certainly gives you the mental image of a middle-easterner and I guess that’s what Leveen wanted, the image, not the depth. (Note: not to say Azize doesn’t have depth, just, Errr, read the book!!!!)
Ryan: Means kingly, so I laughed a lot.
Anthony: Antho, that is a tough football player, this is my favorite name for the character of all of Leveen’s choices. Before I read the book and I looked at the cover and names I saw the football player and said to myself “That’s Anthony.”
Josh: a biblical name (like Daniel) and he is suppose to be the Christian, but I take Christianity more seriously than the title and remaining pure. In fact, Josh and his straight-edge life style mixed in with his sinister looks was taking a toll on me, I’ve known too many fake Christians and he reminded me of them. But then, when he was talking to God in his chapter Leveen reminded me that even Josh was waring a silent struggle and I should display compassion for him, because Jesus does no matter how Josh acts and dresses. It was a well written point, but I did want just a slice more from Josh, like he came to a revelation about why he was trying to make the world of The Party co-exist with his relationship (or current lack-there-of) with God. I just wanted a sliver more from this guy.
Max: Oh Max, he has chubby cheeks in my mind, he’s so adorkable, but he’s not aa dork, or a geek, he just hasn’t worked up enough gumption to talk to the girl he wants. I think Max was just fine.
Ashley: Ugh. Can we stop with the Brittany/Ashley/Lauren blonde girl cliché I am begging all you authors to just stop it! I still loved the character, and having her end things was something I didn’t see coming since I felt she was the common thread for most of the book.