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Party by Tom Leveen


by Tom Leveen

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This book Party by Tom Leveen was very interesting and is now one of my favorite books. I would really recommend this book if you like realistic fiction.
This book was about this huge party that all these kids go to before summer starts. This party was hosted by kids they call the “dramas.” This book was just like real high school because it talked about fights, racisms, relationships and even drugs and drinking.
Tom Leveen did a great job writing this book and it was very well detailed. I’m very surprised I liked this book because I have a very hard time finding books I like and actually want to read. So if you want to read a book about what is happening in high schools these days or high school parties I would really recommend this book or if you have a hard time finding books try this one, you might like it. This book I feel is more for girls but you never know a guy could really like this book too. ( )
  ctmsmihe | Oct 16, 2011 |
Okay. For starters it's set in Santa Barbara, California. Santa Barbara. *moans with nostalgia* And Leveen gets subtle things just right about the place, such as the fog in June and the fact that sometimes it's better to take De La Vina instead of State Street. Eating is a big deal when you are a high school student, and Leveen makes frequent stops at a variety of food joints. I got hungry for wheat-germ strawberry pancakes (which I don't even like) and killer burritos (which I do) and wondered if my old fave pizza place still exists.

So let's say you have zero personal connection to Santa Barbara. There's still a great chance you'll find this an immersive read. Eleven great chances, actually. Leveen recounts the twelve-or-so hours surrounding the party from eleven different points of view. All speak in first person and in present tense. While I've slogged through books where keeping things in present tense did not enhance the narrative, it absolutely works in PARTY. Much of the action takes place inside the characters' heads where the present tense reinforces the illusion that you are working through issues alongside the characters. Not to say the action stays in the characters' heads; there's an ugly fight, sex, a car accident, and a big, BIG party.

So how does Leveen sustain eleven different POVs? He creates unique back-stories and identities for each character, but many writers do that. What I really enjoyed about Leveen's characterizations can be found in the rhythm of their speech. With a couple of exceptions (which I'll address below), each person in the story speaks from a distinct perspective using decidedly individualized language. Which brings me to: potentially objectionable content. Several characters swear. A lot. This creates a high level of realism in the dialog, but the book will not be appropriate for every teen both because of the language and the frank portrayal of teen sexual and drinking behavior.

But to return to the dialogue. Where one teen uses every known curse-word with abandon, others refrain entirely, and one kid abbreviates his offensive language by using only the first letter of the word he has in mind. Some speak in grammatically correct sentences; others elide letters and syllables. The dialog (and in some cases, dialect,) is so accurate you'll swear Leveen followed these people around with a recording device. I kept thinking of Hamlet speaking to the players: "Now this overdone . . . though it make the unskillful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve." No over-doings here. The dialog is brilliant.

So what are these eleven talking and thinking about? A party, certainly, but there's more going on in this novel than drinking, fighting, and getting laid. (One character's summary of what kids go to parties to do.) We watch them pass through transforming, redemptive experiences between sunset and sunrise. There are really, really, bad decisions made by some of these kids, but there's some amazing re-thinking, apologizing, and owning-up afterward.

I had to think hard to come up with a complaint about the book. I promised above to return to the exceptions to Leveen's success in creating eleven distinctive voices. So here's my only complaint. I found it tough to keep Tommy, Daniel, and Matt from mushing together in my head. In fairness, Matt doesn't get his own chapter. But Tommy and Daniel do, and I still had a hard time, while I read, remembering anything very distinguishing about either of them. Later it occurred to me that this could have been purposeful on the author's part; along with Ryan and Josh, Tommy-Daniel-Matt make a five-some who have spent years together. They have a lot in common and maybe we're supposed to notice similarities instead of differences.

Or maybe I just need to go back and have a second, slower read. Hmm, that sounds nice. And I think I'll go ahead and register for my class reunion in Santa Barbara this fall. ( )
  cidneyswanson | Jul 17, 2011 |
Once again I was taken by surprise into a book that shook me and left me wanting more. Leveen is a genius when it comes to character development. He managed to make ELEVEN different points of view, all in one night, one party... work. Don't ask me how he did that. You'll laugh. You'll be angry. You'll be insulted. You'll feel their pain. You'll even want to hang out with them, seriously.

The writing was awesome in a fresh young/modern way. Hilarious and blunt at the same time. Every single thing and detail matches and works chronologically in a way that left me in awe. A truly excellent debut, if you are one to appreciate fun, meaningful books. Every situation and character felt so alive and real it was hard to pull my head out of the book. If you've ever been to a crazy out-of-control life-changing party, you sure know what I mean.

Not a typical read, yet fully enjoyable, Party has sexual and alcohol content (Duh, it's a party). The book mashes eleven different stories together in a tale of friendship, life and sticking together. If you're looking for a fresh and bold contemporary read, go check this one out and enjoy the party. ( )
  YABliss | Jun 21, 2011 |
Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com

PARTY is a novel told in 11 different voices. Each chapter is a different viewpoint of a night unfolding.

The story starts out with Beckett. She is a girl who has withdrawn from everyone and thinks that she is invisible. She talks herself into going to the graduation party of the year, even though she's only going to be a senior at Santa Barbara High.

As the story unfolds, we meet a girl-gone-wild trying to get the attention of her parents. We meet her ex-boyfriend, who got dumped because he wouldn't have sex with her. We meet a boy who had a bright future in football but lost his desire to play. There is also a boy who has to deal with racial prejudice. And then there is the girl who holds it all together.

PARTY's writing style is reminiscent of Paul Ruditis' RAINBOW PARTY; however, the themes are far different. PARTY slowly reveals the different connections of the characters. As the night plays out, secrets are revealed, friendships are formed, lots of alcohol is consumed, and a fight brings it all to a head.

I found the first couple of chapters slow going. But eventually, the characters start to become interconnected and the action picks up. Some characters are far easier to like than others, but by the end I found myself changing my mind about more than one of them (in a good way.) ( )
  GeniusJen | Sep 2, 2010 |
11 Teens from Santa Barbara High School are about to attend what might be the biggest party of the year. The school year is finally over and it's time to have fun. This story is told in 11 chapters, with each chapter pertaining to each of the teens in which the story starts with Beckett. She's the girl no one remembers or notices, the girl with a secret. When you begin to read Beckett's part, you'll have no choice but to keep reading and learn about the other people who are attending the party.

Everyone's point of view matters and everyone's voice is written unique and flawless, Tom Leveen has created incredible real life characters in this story. I'm still in awe of how GOOD this story was. It's fast paced in which the suspense builds up with every chapter. Every character adds more dimension to the story with their version of the night of The Party, in which certain gaps between different characters are filled, making your eyes literally open wide.

I felt my heart ache, i became angry, i laughed, and i cried while reading this book. One word to sum it all up= AMAZING. I believe that every teenager should read this book because it honestly captivates how one's perception can be completely different from another. That what we see on the outside can be wrong because we don't know what is inside. Tom Leveen did such a fantastic job in this book, weaving together 11 teens and their point of view of the party, telling a complete story of life, friendship, emotions, and truth. ( )
1 vote Euphoria13 | Aug 5, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375864369, Hardcover)

It's saturday night in Santa Barbara and school is done for the year. Everyone is headed to the same party. Or at least it seems that way. The place is packed. The beer is flowing. Simple, right? But for 11 different people the motives are way more complicated. As each character takes a turn and tells his or her story, the eleven individuals intersect, and reconnect, collide, and combine in ways that none of them ever saw coming.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:31 -0400)

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As eleven different high school students recount, in their own voices, events before, during, and after the same end-of-year party, the stories intersect and combine in unexpected ways.

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