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Dark Parties    by Sara Grant order for
Dark Parties
by Sara Grant
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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*   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

What if the government's solution to whatever is ailing society is to build a giant dome over the population? This is the premise for Sara Grant's YA dystopian, Dark Parties.

Neva Adams is supposed to be a good girl she is the daughter of the Minister of Ancient History after all. But ever since her grandma disappeared, Neva has wondered where missing people go. Her best friend, Sanna, comes from a family that was always part of the resistance, and the two of them cannot help but try to start their own as soon as they are sixteen and legal adults.

After they are discovered during their first act of peaceful protest, Neva's dad arranges for her to work for him, but her friend Nicoline does not get off so easily. All Neva can find out by snooping around on government computers is that Nicoline was sent to a Women's Empowerment Center. Although everyone, including Sanna, tries to warn her off, Neva cannot stop her investigation. But what she finds is even worse than she could have ever imagined.

For a dysopian to have impact, it has to be believable that things today could lead to whatever type of future the author is presenting. While the problems created by the Protectosphere were very plausible, the reason for the giant dome in the first place was never fully explained plus it seemed very Simpsons-esque, which is not the vibe that a dystopian wants. Other things went unexplained as well, such as how the Women's Empowerment Centers could do anything about the inbreeding that was causing medical problems. And the ending left me with more questions than answers.

Aside from a confusing plot, the characters were not as well-formed as they could have been; in fact, some seemed to be simply a means to an end. Neva was a strong heroine, but some of her motives were not fully explored. Nora's interactions with her boyfriend were lackluster which made the love triangle lopsided.

Sara Grant presents some interesting concepts in Dark Parties, but nothing to really make it stand out from other YA dystopians - with the oversaturation of that market, this one might get lost in the shuffle.

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