Author: Sophie Kinsella
It’s been over two years since Effie’s beloved parents got divorced, destroying the image of the happy, loving childhood she thought she had. Since then, she’s become estranged from her father and embarked on a feud with his hot (and much younger) girlfriend, Krista. And now, more earth-shattering news: Greenoaks, the rambling Victorian country house Effie called home her whole life, has been sold.
When Krista decides to throw a grand “house cooling” party, Effie is originally left off the guest list—and then receives a last-minute “anti-invitation” (maybe it’s because she called Krista a gold-digger, but Krista totally deserved it, and it was mostly a joke anyway). Effie declines, but then remembers a beloved childhood treasure is still hidden in the house. Her only chance to retrieve it is to break into Greenoaks while everyone is busy celebrating. As Effie sneaks around the house, hiding under tables and peeping through trapdoors, she realizes the secrets Greenoaks holds aren’t just in the dusty passageways and hidden attics she grew up exploring. Watching how her sister, brother, and dad behave when they think no one is looking, Effie overhears conversations, makes discoveries, and begins to see her family in a new light. Then she runs into Joe—the love of her life, who long ago broke her heart, and who’s still as handsome and funny as ever—and even more truths emerge.
But will Effie act on these revelations? Will she stay hidden or step out into the party and take her place with her family? And truthfully, what did she really come back to Greenoaks for? Over the course of one blowout party, Effie realizes that she must be honest with herself and confront her past before she’ll ever be able to face her future.
The Party Crasher follows Euphemia (Effie) as she struggles with the divorce of her parents and now her dad and his new girlfriend are selling her childhood home, Greenoaks. The story begins with her dad, Anthony’s, birthday near the holidays with the family all together. Effie, 28-years-old, is the youngest of the family with her older brother, Augustus (Gus), 31-years-old, and older sister, Beatrice (Bean), 33-years-old. Together they are celebrating with their father and his wife, their stepmother, Mimi. Tony and Mimi married when Effie was three years old after her birth mother, Alison, died when Effie was eight months old. It is a lovely opening to paint the picture of a happy family.
The main story takes place eighteen months later after Mimi and Tony divorced. Tony is now together with Krista and Effie is having a difficult time accepting this concept. Effie discovers that her childhood home is being sold and Krista is hosting a “house cooling” party where Effie receives an insincere invitation. While her family and friends encourage her to still go to the party, Effie is not interest in attending as a guest. Originally, Effie thinks she does not need anything from the house, but she soon figures out that there is one trinket that she wants. She comes up with a plan to sneak into the party in order to retrieve it. Of course, things do not go smoothly as she not only has to avoid her family, but also her ex-boyfriend and childhood friend, Joe Murran.
While the concept of the story is simple, the novel is complex with multiple subplots. Effie goes through an emotion journey of dealing with her parents’ divorce and attempting to repair her relationship with her father after it was damaged when he was with Krista. There is also Effie going through a journey seeing her ex Joe again and wanting some closure from their relationship. On top of Effie’s journeys, she eavesdrops and learns some secrets about her family. Each of her family members have secret of their own and it was nice to see how everything comes up as the family tries to work through the dysfunction. The house itself was the perfect backdrop with its various elaborate rooms, hidden attic spaces, and lovely grounds.
Overall, this was a fun light-hearted read. There was a lot of humor through Effie’s misadventures at the house mixed with emotional and heart-felt moments. The entire family dynamics were well done as the family was initially displayed as perfect with the opening chapter and slowly it was revealed that everyone within the family has a lot going on in their own lives. The romance aspect between Joe and Effie was cute, but I wish there was a little more between them. The main focus is on the family, so I would have liked a little more with the romance. It was a very entertaining read and I cannot wait to continue reading more from Sophie Kinsella in the future!
**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, The Dial Press, for the opportunity to read this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**