Balanced Yet Contrived. This is a story where you almost feel like it is more of a 4*, but there is nothing *really* there from a more objective standpoint that I try to rate on to justify the reduction. Yes, it could use better separation of its various narrators’ voices, rather than just the one word at the top of the chapter with their name. Yes, at times it feels that so many situations are thrown in just because the author was hoping some bookstagrammer would hashtag that situation and help market the book based on it. Yes, talking to cops without an attorney present is so GLARINGLY stupid and cringeworthy. *PARTICULARLY* for minorities. And yet, even with all of this, the story ultimately works. Not as a “thriller”, mind you, but more as a women’s fiction/ suspense character study. As a thriller… well, the book spends the first half setting up the titular Party, about 10-15% on the actual Party, and then the back part of the book dealing with the aftermath. It has the requisite secrets, lies, backstabbing, and comeuppance, and ultimately it really does tell a fairly balanced tale from a few different perspectives, but it just never quite feels as satisfying/ mind bending as many readers in this space typically look for. And yet, again, nothing truly “this is objectively wrong/ bad” here to really hang a star reduction on. Thus, 5* and recommended.
I’m Still Unsettled About This Book. As I write this review, I finished reading this book just a few minutes ago before eating supper with my wife while watching How I Met Your Mother, as is our norm. And while the book is definetly worthy of the 5 stars I decided to give it, my mind hasn’t really set on a way to review it, hence this more stream-of-consciousness review. On the one hand, the ending was at least somewhat predictable in type if not in particulars, particularly after an event about 2/3 into the book, and the time jumps without any level of overt date reference were a bit jarring, but detectable within the context of the events described. But at the end of the day, this was a very detailed look at modern Pakistani life in particular, which is something I had never seen before – and that alone to me warranted the 5 stars, for the education it gave me while telling a solid story. I guess I’m torn more because of how the overall tale turned out, which I really can’t get into too much without going into spoiler territory. For so long the book was going in one direction and was a solid effort in that direction, and then the book abruptly shifts into a completely different direction and yet there too is reasonably solid, and the two different direction do indeed come together in the end. But read the book for yourself and decide for yourself. It is a truly worthy read.
Excellently Executed. This is a romance tale where the entire premise is that our central couple keeps *just* missing each other, and it *really* works. The cuts between perspectives in different scenes are amazing, showing the couple at various points literally in the same place at the same time… and completely missing each other. It *is* a romance though and *does* have a happily ever after, but Williams does an amazing job of holding that off until almost literally the last second. Funny where it needs to be, serious where it needs to be, and overall a fun romantic comedy. Very much recommended.