Saturday, 25 August 2012

Dark Parties by Sarah Grant

I have a confession to make. Sara and I used to belong to the same critique group. We used to meet once a month in the wonderful back room of the Sherlock Homes Hotel on Baker Street. I am quite familiar with her work and I saw some parts of this novel in very early drafts. I found them interesting then. As I read them now I am captivated.
Dark Parties is a dystopian near-or-distant future young adult novel. It introduces us to a world that is believable but terrifying. We are close to the protagonist, Neva. The characters are richly drawn. The mystery and suspense are held throughout.  
Grant does something here that I am not sure any other writer has yet done as successfully: she maintains a fast pace and yet allows us to be emotionally close to the protagonist. These are both qualities required in the young adult novel, but it is extremely difficult to get both of those characteristics in at the same time.
She includes a third young adult novel trait: she leaves enough questions unanswered at the end to satisfy the young person’s need to control the story. The reader can decide on the answers. It also leaves the way open for another book. I can’t give any details; that would mean creating some spoilers. A total no-no in reviews. I can tell you, however, that she keeps the mystery and intrigue going in every single sentence.