Can a birthday party destroy lives? One wealthy San Francisco family is about to find out. Hannah is turning 16 and her parents agree to a sleepover party with four guests. The girls arrive. The pizza and cake is delivered. Jeff and Kim go to bed assuming that the girls will watch movies and talk all night, safely ensconced in the family basement. What happens in the wee hours of the morning will completely alter the lives of this model family and their guests forever.
This is a great story about relationships and family dynamics and how one small choice can change a person forever. The characters are wonderful and perfectly suited to their roles. I couldn’t help but love Hannah, a girl on the cusp of adulthood who just wants to explore what it means to be alive. I totally sympathized with Mom Kim and her frustration with her teenage daughter, while at the same time I completely got why Hannah felt so restricted by her mom’s presence. Jeff was a little harder to like as he seemed at times to be trying to ignore that he had a family, but at same time wants to be the cool Dad in the eyes of his teenage daughter. I also really enjoyed the interplay between the main characters and the side players. I think the author really hit the nail on the head with how she portrayed the ever changing landscape of the character’s social circles. There is a message here about how variable “friendships” can be. This book also has a lot to say about bullying, both amongst the kids and the adults that surround them. I found this story to be brilliantly conceived and executed and I highly recommend it.
Alinefromabook’s rating: 5 stars!!