Reviewed by Karen Pirnot for Readers' Favorite
Dark Parties by Sara Grant is a debut book in the young adult market which features young Neva in a Dystopian society. She and her friends have just turned sixteen and have decided to hold a Dark Party in order to get in touch with their "real" selves and begin a rebellion against a stagnant society. A "protectosphere" had been placed around a small portion of the Earth in the mid twenty-first century. Originally, the sphere was a protective womb in which people could prosper and grow. However, after generations of inbreeding and inability to keep up with required technology, the society is stagnating and everything and everybody in the society is recycled.
Creativity is not valued and indeed, is punished. Independent thinking and feeling are causes for arrest and incarceration of one kind or another. Neva's parents are seemingly in the plot to keep her captive, while her best friends, Sanna and Brandon, are seemingly rebels who will assist her toward her goal of reaching "the outside." But, of course, no one really knows if there is an outside. Only one person, Neva's grandmother, seems able to influence Neva to risk the unknown.
This is a clever book and one which will intrigue the majority of young teens. I would like to have seen a more in-depth character development of the main character, Neva, but perhaps that will come in the sequel (which is hinted at in the end). The conceptualization of the protectosphere is well done, and the plot moves along at a pace which should keep most readers turning the pages. I found this to be a fascinating read and would certainly want to look at a sequel to this book.