It is not the ending I expected. The free fall from the roof and the torn green awnings. Her body landing in a heap at the foot of a hydrangea bush. The hedges lit with pink Malibu lights that glint off the sequined skirt, the blouse half open, and her pale hair.
The thud, the doorman running down the sidewalk, and then sirens and more rain.
Siobhan the Wild and Emma the Good.
I was the good one . . . maybe not so much.
She could batter mean girls with a field hockey stick and make it seem accidental. She could break your heart and make it seem accidental.
And then she couldn’t. Then she was gone.
Maybe she is only temporarily asleep—but more likely, she is only temporarily alive.
Hanging on by her fingernails is what they say.
The wild one is gone and the good one . . . isn’t good. Because good girls don’t usually wear long sleeves to cover where their best friend’s fingernails scored their forearms. Good girls don’t usually slip out their bedroom window in a silver dress and taxi to the Camden Hotel late at night.
Good girls don’t usually kill their best friend.
Emma is tired of being good. Always the perfect daughter to an overprotective father, she moves to Los Angeles dying to reinvent herself. This is why meeting Siobhan is the best thing that ever happened to her. And the most dangerous. Because Siobhan is fun and alluring and experienced and lives on the edge—and she wants Emma to come with her.
And it may be more than Emma can handle.
Their high-stakes pacts are spinning out of control. Loyalties and boundaries are blurred. And it all comes to a head at the infamous Afterparty, where an intense, inescapable confrontation ends in a plummet from the rooftop…
How many lies can you tell your father, your best friend, your boyfriend, and yourself before everything falls apart?
- Simon Pulse |
- 416 pages |
- ISBN 9781442423244 |
- December 2013 |
- Grades 9 and up
Ann Redisch Stampler on AFTERPARTY
Read an Excerpt
Reading Group Guide
By Ann Redisch Stampler
1. The author frames her novel with nearly identical lines: “It isn’t the ending I expected.” In what ways do expectation and reality clash through the novel? How do Emma’s expectations for the future shape her present actions? Can you point to specific examples where the two contradict?
2. Emma’s life seems to be dictated by extremes: her father on one side and Siobhan on the other. What are the positives of each of those two characters’ outlooks? Can you imagine a more middle-of-the-road path for Emma in between the two poles?
3. Consider the dichotomy between fate and choice. Does Emma choose to be good or was she born to be bad?
4. Megan and Siobhan represent two sides of Emma. Do you agree with that statement? Which specific instances support why you believe it to be true or false?
5. The concept of “space”—that is, physical distance—plays an important role in how characters think and act throughout the novel. For example, think of Emma’s father moving away from his family or Dylan moving far away to college, or even times when Emma is stuck in her house away from friends. How can distance change a person’s feelings or actions?
6. How do Emma’s genes affect her? How does that conflict with how she is being raised by her father? < see more