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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Party, written by Tom Leveen. Random House, 2010. $9.99 ages 13 and up

"Beckett Montgomery, still wearing her Rasta hat and a beautiful long skirt and kick-ass shirt, and oh god, it's Beckett Montgomery talking to me. "Beckett," I say before I can stop to think to say anything else. Beckett blinks at me. "You know me?" she says, her voice still quiet, and her voice..."

I have been in the enviable position of having the time to read a host of amazing books in the past few's summer, it's been too hot to do much of anything else, both weddings are celebrated and guests have returned home to their lives, and I have long, relaxing hours to spend in the back porch. What's better than that?

I had read only one review for Party; but, I am always intrigued and awed by an author who can tell a compelling story from multiple points of view.  Karen Hesse did it in Witness, Rita Williams-Garcia in Jumped, Jen Bryant in The Fortune of Carmen Navarro, Tracy Porter in Lark and Stephanie Hemphill in Wicked Girls. 

Here there are eleven teen voices, beginning with Beckett whose first line is "I'M THE GIRL NOBODY KNOWS UNTIL SHE COMMITS SUICIDE." It's her way of telling us that she lives totally under the radar, without much contact with anyone in her high school classes.  She's at the party to see if anyone notices her. We learn a bit about her connection to Ashley and Morrigan, other party attendees who will have a voice in this rich and complicated story. We move on to Morrigan, and her fellow party-goers...all in attendance for personal reasons. As each becomes part of another's story, the characters are seen through the eyes of others. It adds depth and piques the reader's interest in each of the well-drawn characters.

Individual perspectives allow us to see the events at the party differently and make our own judgements about the people involved. As we read, we learn more about the whole story and are able to make connections from one character to the next. Their voices are authentic, diverse, and connected. This is a PARTY you don't want to miss!

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