Aug 18, 2011

Review: Dark Parties by Sara Grant

Title: Dark Parties
Author: Sara Grant
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 8.3.2011
Pages: 320
Genre: Dystopian
Series: No
Copy: Finished copy sent from publisher for review

Rating: B

Summary (from Goodreads):
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.

I found myself in a bit of a quandary at the end of this book. I found that while I love Sara Grant’s world, I wasn’t all that crazy about her main character, Neva. That doesn’t usually happen to me—typically if I dislike the lead, I can’t get into the book, but there’s something about Dark Parties that just attracted me, even if Neva fell short.

I found Neva to be annoying at times, sometimes to the point I had to put the novel down and take a break so I didn’t slap the girl myself. There was something about here that just set me on edge and kept me from connecting fully with her. It wasn’t one big character flaw, but a few different things she did (or how she reacted to a situation) that bothered me.

Despite my own feelings for Neva, I can’t help but applaud Grant for creating such an intense world. Dystopians are such a tricky genre—a new world must be created with new ideals, beliefs, cities, and groups of people. But at the same time, that world has to be on the scale of believable or it simply becomes fantasy. Grant’s Protectosphere was very well done. I would have a liked a bit more detail, but I think that would have hindered in the fast-paced ride she put me on. Sometimes it’s better to leave a bit to the imagination to keep the momentum of the story.

I’ve read several other reviews for Dark Parties, ranging from glowing to glowering, and here’s what I have to say: If you love dystopians you have absolutely nothing to lose by grabbing this book. Sara Grant is a gifted storyteller, and I think you’ll genuinely enjoy this novel.


  1. Totally agree with you about Neva. I really didn't like her, but surprising I was able to finish the book. I'm usually the type that if doesn't like the main protagonist I can't get into the book.

  2. I've read mixed reviews on this one, but I'm glad to have things evened out before I dive in. At least knowing about Neva beforehand won't make it as disconcerting while reading. (I hope.)

  3. I've seen mixed reviews for Dark Parties, too, but I still want to read this book! I'm loving the dystopian genre and can't get enough of those books! I read the sample chapters online, and I'm intrigued with the beginning and how the scene starts off in the dark!

  4. +JMJ+

    A Dystopian with an unlikeable protagonist isn't that far out there. Winston Smith, Bernard Marx, Alex de Large . . . Well, they don't seem to have inspired very violent reactions among readers, but they're hardly heroic or lovable. If it turns out that Neva was deliberately written that way, I'd be more interested in reading this novel! Thanks for bringing it to my attention. =)


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