The Block Party: A Novel
Setting – Massachusetts
St. Martin’s Press (July 18, 2023)
Hardcover : 384 pages
ISBN-10 : 1250283191
ISBN-13 : 978-1250283191
Kindle ASIN : B0BQGK23XS
This summer, meet your neighbors.
The residents of the exclusive cul-de-sac on Alton Road are entangled in a web of secrets and scandal utterly unknown to the outside world, and even to each other.
On the night of the annual Summer block party, there has been a murder.
But, who did it and why takes readers back one year earlier, as rivalries and betrayals unfold—discovering that the real danger lies within their own block and nothing—and no one—is ever as it seems.
Welcome to Alton Road, an exclusive cul-de-sac that is hosting its annual block party.
Do they really know their neighbors as well as they think they do? When one of them is murdered they realize there are a ton of secrets being held by everyone.
We have to go back a year to see which scandal, betrayal, rivalry, and/or secret drove someone to murder.
As soon as I started reading this book I felt like I had landed on Wisteria Lane 2.0 (Desperate Housewives). Saying Jamie Day’s characters have issues is a huge understatement. The book is mostly told from Alex’s point of view. She is a divorce mediator who has a dangerous relationship with wine that she thinks she is hiding. Her 17-year-old daughter Lettie is doing whatever she can do personally to save the planet. She is also crushing on the son of their new neighbors. After a suspension for vandalism at the end of her junior year she just wants to graduate high school and go cross country to attend USC. Alex’s husband is miserly when it comes to his daughter’s education and is trying hard to get his wife to give up her vino.
The other residents of Alton Road include a widow who may have killed her husband with an interesting occupation, a teen that is having trouble coping with life especially when his girlfriend breaks up with him, a controlling husband, a wife hiding a connection to other residents on the road, a stalker, a drug addict, a cheating husband and more. All of these things come out over the course of the story. Because of my personal experience, I was very drawn to the troubled teen especially because I could feel what was in his future. I felt all of the characters were complex but needed more depth but with the large number of characters, it is hard to do that in one book.
The author fills the book with a lot of hot-button issues. Alcoholism, drug abuse, adultery, statutory rape, computer hacking, blackmail, stalking, revenge, and more. Not one house on the cul-de-sac escaped having problems, and many of those problems could destroy others. Truthfully, all the characters were unlikable but their situations kept the pages turning for me. Plus I needed to know who was murdered, who did it, and why.
I did enjoy the Facebook chat group talking and gossiping about what could be happening on Alton Road. I belong to similar groups for my hometown and the town where I currently live. Thankfully our moderators don’t allow gossip but they are a great way to find out what is happening around town, like when you hear a ton of sirens and wonder what is going on or what is on fire or if there is a prison break which really could happen here.
The Block Party is filled with dysfunction and drama. So much drama. If you were a fan of Desperate Housewives you will enjoy this story but unlike the housewives, I have no desire to be friends with anyone on Alton Road but they will probably stick in my brain for a while.
This appears to be Jamie Day’s first novel. She is an author to watch. I am open to reading more of her work.
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About the Author
Jamie Day lives in one of those picture-perfect, coastal New England towns you see in the movies. And just like in the movies, Jamie has two children and an adorable dog to fawn over. When not writing or reading, Jamie enjoys yoga, the ocean, cooking, and long walks on the beach with the dog, or the kids, or sometimes both.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”