Book Review: Dark Parties by Sara Grant

Rating: StarStarStar

Sixteen-year-old Neva has been trapped since birth. She was born and raised under the Protectosphere, in an isolated nation ruled by fear, lies, and xenophobia. A shield “protects” them from the outside world, but also locks the citizens inside. But there’s nothing left on the outside, ever since the world collapsed from violent warfare. Or so the government says…

Neva and her best friend Sanna believe the government is lying and stage a “dark party” to recruit members for their underground rebellion. But as Neva begins to uncover the truth, she realizes she must question everything she’s ever known, including the people she loves the most.


Despite the vagueness of the story and the shallowness of Neva-Braydon romance, i found myself rereading Dark Parties right after finishing it. I give the romance-part a 4, the dystopian-part a 3.

I liked that Dark Parties started with the idea of rebellion already in Neva’s and Sanna’s head. [RANT: They only stage 1 Dark Party]. At first, I felt Sana should be the main female lead because I saw the steel in her voice. But I judged too early. Neva resisted normalcy, ordinary-ness, and simplicity being given to her by the government. Even if Sanna, Ethan and Braydon begged her to stop her rebellion, she stood her ground and decided to fight the government smartly and slyly. Neva, the heroine is coming out!

[RAVE: Neva and Sanna made a vow. No premarital sex despite them having boyfriends and being adults per their society.] I didn’t expect the romance to have the love-triangle angle so i was surprised. First few pages in, i’m reeling over Neva’s and Braydon’s first kiss. I was like, how the H did that happened? After that, Neva can’t stop thinking about him. Later on, she admitted she’s falling for Braydon. [RANT: They didn’t have any real conversation or even bonding moments before Neva declared that, so I find it difficult to believe she loves him. based on what? A Kiss?!! Is there such a thing as Love at First KISS?!!]

Braydon is a shady character, both good and bad. Good because him being a mystery made him irresistible and bad because i did not see him as the hero that will help and rescue Neva in times of dystopian distress. Oh, but i’m pining for you, Brandon. I’m sure of that. How his real purpose in the story was revealed made me pause (oh, so that’s why his mysterious) but it is not surprising.

I liked Sara Grant’s writing style. It’s magnetic. She wrote Neva as a portrait of walking contradiction. I can’t leave but I can’t stay. [RANT: She never explained point-blank the reason behind Protectosphere, its cause and effect. All I have are clues, bits & pieces of Homeland’s history to imagine a faint picture of her dystopian society: Neva’s short talk with a low-level employee. A page of a newspaper. One or two members of the resistance. Grant left me to figure it all out but i still have questions.]

Dark Parties is a pretty light dystopian read. I know it has potential to be more scary and hopeless so I can’t wait for the sequel.

Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Imprint: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 08/02/2011


Thank you NetGalley and Faye Bi for granting my galley request.

#1 July NetGalley Month Book Challenge



.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”


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