(*I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a thoughtful review)
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.
Dark Parties had me intrigued from the second I read one of the summaries. I didn’t quite understand what the book was about and so I was almost clueless diving into this novel.
I started to like Neva instantly. She questions, doubts herself and lusts after the guy she likes pretty often in the novel. Because those things happen more than once to Neva, it made me connect with her more because she is only human. Yes, Neva does some really brave stuff and things I frown upon (like cheating) but I found myself rooting for her no matter how far she went. You know an author is good when she captures the feelings of a true teenager through the characters and has me wanting the protagonist to prevail at each word.
Another thing I really enjoy about the novel is the friendship between Neva and Sanna. I could feel their relationship and kept picturing my friends and myself in their situation. Nothing felt forced or awkward and I applaud Grant for creating a friendship that I could relate to.
Dark Parties is an interesting take on dystopia. This controlled society still had things that a lot of other controlled societies I have read about did not. For example, this novel mentioned religion when other authors steer clear of the subject (Neva has to memorize a prayer). The book also talks about birth control and other issues we have in our lives today. Dark Parties is set in the future like other dystopia novels and yet this book is the first one that mentions everyday issues and debates that affect lives in our own society.
This book had more than one plot twist which kept me reading on. Unfortunately, I was able to guess quite a few of the outcomes and twists themselves. I think I was able to see what was coming because points of the plot were a bit cliché. Different moments of the novel had me surprised, but I still would’ve liked to feel as if I was reading something completely new and unique. Since I read a lot of books it can be disappointing to read the same things over again in a different font.
Overall, this book is a mix of original and old ideas. I love the identity marks and how each one was unique on the different people. I also really love the part with Braydon’s masks. On the other hand I related certain parts and ideas to other books. If you are a fan of dystopia I definitely suggest you pick this one up.