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{August 3, 2011}   Recently Released: Dark Parties, by Sara Grant

From Goodreads: 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.

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This novel has a very interesting concept, but overall, I think it’s very similar to many dystopian novels that came before it.  While I did like the novel on the whole, at times I felt that originality and characterization was a bit lacking, leaving something to be desired as I read.  Neva and Sanna are both tired of the unexplained disappearances and Government sanctions, yet these characters are underdeveloped in a way that stops me from making meaningful connections with them.  While I do understand their plight and anger with the Government, I found that I wasn’t swayed one way or the other as I read.  I found the same to be true in regards to the romance between Neva and Sanna’s boyfriend, Braydon.  The attraction itself was never truly explained and left much to be desired on the characterization front.  Neva’s newfound attraction, based on a make-out session during a dark party, seems much more carnal than meaningful, and her ability to stab her friend in the back didn’t make her a very likable character, in my opinion. 

This novel is set up for a series, as the ending leaves the reader hanging, but I am yet unsure if I will be continuing on with the series.  While I think the concept is there, this book didn’t pull me in as I had hoped.  Two and a half stars.

I received a copy of this novel from Hachette Book Group, via Netgalley.

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