Author: Sara Grant
Release Date: August 2011
Published By: Little, Brown
Goodreads Rating: 3.51 stars
Review: Sixteen-year-old Neva has been trapped beneath the Protectosphere since birth, a shell that both keeps citizens safe from outside and locks them in. Neva and Sanna believe the government is lying about what lies beyond the sphere and decide to stage a dark party to recruit others who are questioning the government as well. But as Neva begins to uncover the truth, she realizes she must question everything she's ever known, including the people she loves.
As soon as I started DARK PARTIES, I discovered how wonderfully addictive this story is. It's true that the summary sounds like it belongs to a generic dystopian novel, but the actual details of this story are what make the book unique, not to mention utterly engrossing. Once you really get into the middle of the book, it becomes close to impossible to put this book down and just ignore the suspense ratcheting higher and higher.
Apart from the suspense, another reason this book was such a page-turner was because of the protagonist. Neva had a voice that made the novel very easy to read, and as a character, she was everything you could want. She had a personality that felt like it belonged to someone in real life, and while she was strong and admirable, she still had character flaws that made her someone readers can relate to.
Of course, a reading experience can be soured by a poor ending, but this was luckily not the case. I loved the ending in this book and thought it wrapped up the story line very nicely, both with the plot progression and with her familial, friend, and romantic relationships tying up mostly neatly with plenty of room for growth. I'm excited to read the sequel to this book, which better come out soon.
All in all, I ended up enjoying DARK PARTIES a lot more than I would. If you're finding yourself tired of reading dystopian novels that all have very similar plots and writing, you may find this to be a refreshing change. There's something about it that's uniquely addicting and suspenseful, and of course, once you pick it up, there's no guarantee you can put it down.