The Sanders are the perfect family: Jeff has a successful career, Kim is the loving mother who takes care of the home and the two children Hannah and Aiden who have the best marks in school and sophisticated hobbies where they also excel. For Hannahs sixteenth birthday, the parents allow her to party in the basement yet, with... The Sanders are the perfect family: Jeff has a successful career, Kim is the loving mother who takes care of the home and the two children Hannah and Aiden who have the best marks in school and sophisticated hobbies where they also excel. For Hannahs sixteenth birthday, the parents allow her to party in the basement yet, with strict rules: no alcohol, no drugs, no boys. But Hannah wants to be part of the IT-crown and then her party turns into a complete disaster: her friend Ronni falls into a glass table after having consumed ecstasy and alcohol. When Hannah looks at her, there is something really wrong. Ronni has seriously hurt her eye and might not recover. Ronnis mother is furious and knows exactly whom to blame: the wealthy Sander will pay for what they have done. Robyn Hardings novel unmistakably shows how your perfect life can turn into a nightmare from one minute to the other. First, I was just expecting some kind of teenage drama where finally all is sugar and spice and everythings nice. But the author does not offer the easy ending, she goes down to the wire and exhibits all the mean and ugly sides of human beings. The strongest aspects are definitely the characters and their emotions. E.g. Kim, she does not only pretend to be perfect, she really wants her life to be perfect. When the facade cracks, she is ready to fight even though this means that some people will have to be disappointed and even suffer. She has to readjust her point of view. Hannah, on the other hand, is the typical sixteen-year-old teenager who is caught between wanting to please and to be popular in school and her good heart which tells her to act differently. But sometimes she has to decide for one or the other and she seriously struggles with it. Jeff as a role model and father is really weak, but this is fruitful for the character since he shows an authentic behaviour where people make mistakes and are sometimes lead by emotions rather than by common sense. Lauren is the mean teenager who does not care about anybody. She is definitely interesting for the story, but a bit too stereotypical and one-sided for my linking. It would have appreciated a more complex story about her, yet, she is rather a minor character, so this is acceptable. The plot was meticulously constructed what I found quite fascinating after having finished to novel. The next strike always comes, not completely unexpected, but sometimes the direction is a surprise. That such an incident, or rather an accident, has an influence on all areas of life and does not leave any of the family members unaffected is quite natural and thats what Robyn Harding makes use of. Their lives are devastated to the full extent, not omitting a single aspect. So, no sugar and spice and everythings nice but the blunt reality.
In this stunning and provocative domestic drama about a sweet sixteen birthday party that goes horribly awry, a wealthy family in San Francisco finds their picture-perfect life unraveling, their darkest secrets revealed, and their friends turned to enemies.
One invitation. A lifetime of regrets.
Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting coming of age, a milestone, and a rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah—a sweet girl with good grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant, indulgent affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, cake, movies, and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?
But things do go wrong, horrifically so. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to come apart. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are revealed in the Sanders’ marriage, and the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah, is exposed.
Harkening to Herman Koch’s The Dinner, Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap, and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, The Party takes us behind the façade of the picture-perfect family, exposing the lies, betrayals, and moral lapses that neighbors don’t see—and the secrets that children and parents keep from themselves and each other.
is the author of several books, including the international bestseller,
The Party, and wrote and executive produced an independent film. She lives in Vancouver, BC, with her husband and children. Visit her at RobynHarding.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @RHardingWriter or Facebook @AuthorRobynHarding.