by Sara Grant
So…this book starts out with a make out scene. Neva does some kissing with her boyfriend and then there’s a little bit of We Must Rebel From the Protectosphere business before there’s another makeout scene…but this time, with her best friend Sanna’s boyfriend. Oops, it was really dark.
I’m sorry if this sounds a little flippant, but although I liked this book well enough, it did strike me as a little odd that this is how it began. I actually had to flip back to make sure this was YA, since it was an unusual way for a dystopian young adult novel to start. In any case, this story is about a totalitarian society which strictly controls information and reproductive rights, and warns its citizens about the toxic atmosphere outside of the large dome under which they all live. Things are currently heightened because there are a lot of people have gone missing. Neva and Sanna try to recruit members to their underground rebellion, though these efforts mostly consist of mild protests such as spray painting signs and things of that nature.
This novel feels very short, somewhat underdeveloped, and fairly lacking in complexity. I liked the idea of what was going on but the execution is a little on the slight side. There’s also the prerequisite love…square, as you might imagine, based on the previous make out scenes I mentioned. Neva can’t seem to stop kissing Sanna’s boyfriend, and although he rides a motorcycle, it’s kind of unclear why anyone is really drawn to anyone else here. There is a really great action scene at the end, however, and I wish more of the book had the same level of intensity and excitement.
Dark Parties is very clearly set up for at least one sequel, but in all honesty that book should probably have been combined with this one for a richer and more satisfying experience, along with more attention paid to plot and character development. As it is, this novel is more in the dystopian-lite category than a true exploration of a bleak alternate universe.
Release Date: August 3, 2011
Rated 3 out of 5 stars
30-Second Synopsis: An underdeveloped, slight addition to the dystopian YA genre. An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.