One invitation. A lifetime of regrets.
Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting coming of age, a milestone, and a rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah—a sweet girl with good grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant, indulgent affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, cake, movies, and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?
But things do go wrong, horrifically so. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to come apart. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are revealed in the Sanders’ marriage, and the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah, is exposed.
Harkening to Herman Koch’s The Dinner, Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap, and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, The Party takes us behind the façade of the picture-perfect family, exposing the lies, betrayals, and moral lapses that neighbors don’t see—and the secrets that children and parents keep from themselves and each other.
Reading Group Guide
The Sanders family seems to have it all: Kim and her husband, Jeff, live with their two perfect children in a large house in a posh San Francisco neighborhood. But a Sweet Sixteen party for their daughter, Hannah, goes terribly wrong, upending their lives and the lives of those around them and exposing harsh truths about who they are as a family and as individuals. As readers shadow the characters through the aftermath of a gruesome accident, the façade of perfection falls away, revealing relationships strained by secrets, mistakes, and indiscretions. A lawsuit brings matters to a boil as neighbors, friends, and family members turn against each other. In this story of the unraveling of one well-to-do family is a much more expansive tale about how our desire for status and acceptance can wreak havoc in our lives and the ways that we judge one another while forgetting to first take a look at ourselves. The Party reveals the complicated matter of what it means to be human while cautioning us that it is what is inside of us̵ see more