Published by Simon and Schuster Australia on January 7, 2014
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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Emma is tired of being good. Always the dutiful daughter to an overprotective father, she is the antithesis of her mother -- whose name her dad won't even say out loud. That's why meeting Siobhan is the best thing that ever happened to her...and the most dangerous. Because Siobhan is fun and alluring and experienced and lives on the edge. In other words, she's everything Emma is not.
And it may be more than Emma can handle.
Because as intoxicating as her secret life may be, when Emma begins to make her own decisions, Siobhan starts to unravel. It's more than just Dylan, the boy who comes between them. Their high-stakes pacts are spinning out of control. Elaborate lies become second nature. Loyalties and boundaries are blurred. And it all comes to a head at the infamous Afterparty, where debauchery rages and an intense, inescapable confrontation ends in a plummet from the rooftop...
This explosive, sexy, and harrowing follow-up to Ann Redisch Stampler's spectacular teen debut, Where It Began, reveals how those who know us best can hurt us most.
You know those toxic friendships where the good girl, meets a bad girl, and it spirals downhill from there? That’s the story that Afterparty tells, it was a trainwreck that I couldn’t tear my eyes away from.
I almost stopped reading this about 20% in, the writing is very different and difficult to grasp from the start. It’s spunky, witty, full of short sentences and a unique way of putting things: He is the most attractive person I have ever seen, with the possible exception of Siobhan and the guy at the beach club, who was more of a fleeting mirage in the sad, overchaperoned desert of my life than an actual person.
After a while, I got accustomed to the writing as being in Emma’s head kind of charmed me. With a deceased mother from the wrong side of the tracks, an overprotective dad who doesn’t allow her to wear any ‘normal’ teenage attire, Emma’s inextricable draw to her new friend Siobhan is quite believable. She wants to do things that a normal teenage girl does, like drink, party and kiss boys, all of which she hasn’t experienced being under her father’s watch, and making a pact to get to the Afterparty (after the prom) with Siobhan gives her the chance to do that.
“You want a pact? Okay, here goes: If things aren’t looking a whole lot better for both of us by the end of the year, we should jump off a tall building.” – Siobhan
The story here reminds of Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James, where the best friend is bad news for the main character, but without the creepiness. Siobhan is a wild party girl who is full of drama just for the sake of it; all the girls are scared of her and all the guys are kind of attracted to her. She doesn’t have a lot of depth, and I wish the book kind of went into her past a bit more to find out why she’s like that, but she simply poses as a drama queen who lures Emma into her game. Halfway through the book, her attitude and ignorance to Emma’s true feelings really grates on my nerves, but luckily it grates on Emma’s as well.
A lot of drama happens in the book, most of it over the top and unrealistic, such as the stranger at the club who kisses Emma upon meeting her and the fake boyfriend Jean Luc in France. I wasn’t sure about the romance here, Emma’s girly crush on the alternative Dylan eventuates into a relationship because of Siobhan’s doing. This is after he hooked up with Siobhan, who is promiscuous and completely different to Emma, and I just didn’t find his apparent attraction to Emma to be believable. Drama is prevalent throughout the book, with a lot of twists and turns happening with Dylan, Siobhan and her dad.
Here it is: Absolute proof that even without Siobhan coaxing me out of the lamp and into the land of wrong decisions, I am perfectly capable of doing all manner of wrong things all by myself.
If you enjoy stories wrought with high school drama, you will enjoy Afterparty just like I did. It isn’t terribly unique, but I found it to be entertaining with all of the drama and the sensationalised version of high school after dark. Although some characters were annoying at times, I needed to keep on reading to find out the resolution to the story and luckily it’s a happy ending. Afterparty is full of drama, deceit, and debauchery and I’d recommend it to older YA readers, as this one features sex, drugs and alcohol.
I received a review copy from the publisher via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5