Afterparty by Ann Redisch Stampler Review: Drama, deceit and debauchery

February 12, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 3 stars, Books, Reviews

Afterparty by Ann Redisch Stampler Review: Drama, deceit and debaucheryAfterparty by Ann Redisch Stampler
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

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Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

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52 responses to “Afterparty by Ann Redisch Stampler Review: Drama, deceit and debauchery

  1. Hmmm, now I know this one isn't a book for me. I'm not usually a fan of contemporaries and reading your review has reinforced that opinion for sure!

    Thanks for the very honest review, Jeann!
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  2. The writing sure sounds like it's difficult to get a grasp of for sure but I'm glad it was something you got used to! Reviews are definitely mixed for this but I feel I probably would enjoy this! Nice review Jeann

  3. You know, it's weird that you enjoyed this book, since you mention some problems that might turn some people off. Nevertheless, I read another book by this author which I really enjoyed (Where It Began, a Contemporary novel), and I'm mildly interested in this book. I'll see if it's at the library just in case I don't like it 🙂
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  4. The writing problems you mentioned were too much for me. I did DNF this one at about 30-40% I think – it's been a while, now. And I was sad because I had been excited for it for a long time but I just couldn't. The sentences were soo long and rambly, I felt like I was in the head of a girl who never took a breath! I'm glad you stuck with it and got used to it though! It sounds like if you can get over than quirk the story itself really comes together. I mean, It does sound like some parts are a bit out there though but dramatically it seems to be entertaining.

  5. I don't like teenage drama but the way you put this sounds really appealing.

    I cannot remember the last time I read a book with a 'bad' best friend.. mostly because I don't read them often (if at all) I am someone who values best friends (and friends in general) and so it grates on me when they aren't up to my 'standards' but it's easy to see why situations like this work.

    The romance is a little off putting though… eeek. How is someone who hooked up with someone like Siobhan attracted to someone like Emma (that is a LOT of someones). Plus, shouldn't Emma feel SLIGHTLY awkward at the whole situation? 😛

    Great Review, Jeann! 😀

  6. Hmm. I quite like stories about toxic friendships – they fascinate me because I have no experience with them. It's interesting to see how you can be friends with a person who is nothing but bad news for you in the end. This sounds pretty enjoyable, despite the few flaws.

    I'm glad you liked it & fantastic review, Jeann!
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  7. I actually like stories about toxic friendships, so that part sounds really appealing to me! I'm a little uneasy about the writing style though, it sounds like one of those things you either love or hate. That probably explains the wildly varying reactions I've seen, most of which have been on the negative side, so it's nice to see a positive/more balanced viewpoint as well. I'm glad you enjoyed it!
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  8. Yeah, I've really been wanting to read this because it sounds like a really interesting and dark story. Plus it's a standalone and I need more of those in my life haha.

    It kind of sounds like it might be a bit Gossip Girl-esque. And since that was my guilty pleasure before it got unbelievably rubbish, I think I might really like this!
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    • It's so interesting and I wanted to see how it turned out, glad I stuck to it. YES very Gossip Girlish! Maybe that's why I enjoyed it so much hahaa! I totally agree with how GG was too, I mean Blair and Dan do NOT need to be together.

  9. I'm not usually the biggest fan of contemporary romances, but this one definitely sounds like something I'd give an exception to! The unique and realistic style of writing and the realistic plot definitely sounds intriguing! Although, the lack of development within the main character is definitely a shame, I think I'll be able to forgive that fact since the plot and writing sound pheonominal. Can I ask though – does this focus more on the contemporary aspect or the romance aspect? Thanks for sharing Jeann and – as always – brilliant review! 😀
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    • Yeah, it was definitely interesting throughout. I think this one was more focused on the drama in the friendship in the romance, but I was kind of grateful for that. Thank you Zoe!

  10. Yeah, I have heard that people get a lot of trouble with the writing, but once you push through it's good. Jasprit said the same that Siobhan is the shedevil and made her really frustrated. I'm kind of torn about the romance, but I feel like it could still work. Idk. I guess I'll have to see. This book seems so darn intriguing and the newfound positive(ish) reviews block out all the DNF ones I had previously seen. Definitely will give this a go thanks to you and Jasprit:)
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  11. This one sounds scandalous! 😉 I don't really like reading about friends who are bad influences unfortunately, so this is probably not the right book for me. I just…I don't know. I just can't relate to people who are out to change you selfishly, if you know what I mean. And that's there to use you. Great review regardless Jeann!
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  12. I am not into YA and it was from two bad experiences with authors that did not know how to write YA. SO I get leary. But I have read two good ones and although it is only three stars, it sounds interesting. I may put it on my tbr list. You did a very good review.
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