I’m a longtime reader of Sophie Kinsella. I recognize she is not everyone’s cup of tea but in general, I find her books to be fun. Unfortunately, the last title she wrote just didn’t work for me. But, I am very pleased to say that The Party Crasher reminds me of classic Kinsella in all the good ways!
Effie is on the outs with her family after she refuses to attend the house leaving party that her father’s girlfriend is putting on. She cannot stand Krista and she is still mad at her parents for getting a divorce to begin with. (I know this all sounds kind of juvenile, but bear with me.) However, when Effie learns that her beloved Russian nesting dolls may not be forgotten, she “stealthily” sneaks into the family part. Only, it is far from stealthy. Her sister, her brother, and Effie’s ex-boyfriend all know she is there. It becomes a comedy of errors as Effie tries to search for the dolls and avoid detection by her father and Krista.
The bulk of this story takes place over the course of one evening and into the morning. Though Effie starts off as a rather juvenile twenty-something, I really connected with her by the end of the book. I thought she matured rather nicely honestly. She learns quite a bit about her family as she attempts to avoid being found. Both her sister and her brother, who Effie considered herself fairly close to, have secrets, interests, and dramas of their own. Effie begins to see that even the perfect marriage she imagined between her father and her “Mimi” (not her birth mother) was far from idyllic.
There is a sweet love story as Effie reunites with her ex-boyfriend and discovers some of his personal demons. This is not the main part of the story by any means but it is a sweet romance nonetheless. I always find Sophie Kinsella in general balances just enough romantic elements with the rest of the story to keep me intrigued and that remains the case with this book.
As I said, Effie definitely begins the book as someone it would be easy to scorn. She seems like she only wants the rose-colored glasses version of the world which as readers know, is not always possible. On the other hand, sometimes wounds from family are the most difficult to heal, especially when Effie thought she was so tight with her family. She has a lot to learn and I really liked the place she found herself in by book’s end. Her connections, especially with her siblings, felt much more genuine. Less of trying to hide behind a façade and more like they finally are willing to share even the hard stuff with each other.
Also, Krista is not the person Effie first believes either. I was glad Sophie Kinsella did not make her the stereotypical younger woman dating an older man. There was a bit more to Krista than meets the eye!
If you enjoy Sophie Kinsella’s books, this book is a winner. It’s one of her best efforts in recent books. It has the comfort re-read quality that I associate with a few of Kinsella’s titles (My Not So Perfect Life is my most recent favorite of her books). The Party Crasher could be a fun introduction to Sophie Kinsella for new readers too as the book is fast-paced and quirky but with relatable family dynamics and drama.
Thank you to the publisher for an early galley of this book. Party Crasher is available now.