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4.5 8
by Ann Redisch Stampler

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A toxic friendship takes a dangerous turn in this riveting novel from the author of Where It Began.

Emma is tired of being good. Always the perfect daughter to an overprotective father, she moves to Los Angeles dying to reinvent herself. This is why meeting Siobhan is the best thing that ever happened to her. And the most dangerous. Because Siobhan is fun


A toxic friendship takes a dangerous turn in this riveting novel from the author of Where It Began.

Emma is tired of being good. Always the perfect daughter to an overprotective father, she moves to Los Angeles dying to reinvent herself. This is why meeting Siobhan is the best thing that ever happened to her. And the most dangerous. Because Siobhan is fun and alluring and experienced and lives on the edge—and she wants Emma to come with her.

And it may be more than Emma can handle.

Their high-stakes pacts are spinning out of control. Loyalties and boundaries are blurred. And it all comes to a head at the infamous Afterparty, where an intense, inescapable confrontation ends in a plummet from the rooftop…

How many lies can you tell your father, your best friend, your boyfriend, and yourself before everything falls apart?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After moving to Los Angeles with an overprotective father, 16-year-old Emma Lazar is eager to shed her “Emma the Good” reputation. When she is instantly befriended by beautiful but volatile Siobhan, Emma begins drinking, sneaking out to parties, and lying to her father (and nearly everyone else). While Siobhan spices up Emma’s bland life, Emma isn’t sure Siobhan is on her side—especially after Dylan, whom Emma describes as “the most attractive person I have even seen,” gets between them. Stampler’s (Where It Began) plot is steeped in ever-increasing drama and debauchery, including drug use, sex, and attempted murder; even so, the story drags at times as readers meander through familiar territory of expensive backdrops, boyfriend stealing, and beautiful but desperate friends. Stampler’s writing is confident, and Emma can be both funny and poetic (she describes an intimate moment with Dylan as “imprinted on my heart, like the afterimage of a burst of light, under your eyelids when you close your eyes”), but her story often lacks the momentum to keep this party going. Ages 14–up. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Jan.)
"In Stampler's unflinching look at wealthy, decadent youth and complicated relationships, there are no easy answers. Realistic characters with tight dialogue add to the tension—and there's plenty of it."
BookPage - Deborah Hopkinson
"Readers will root for Emma as she negotiates difficult choices and a first romance, and grapples with finding her moral compass. But in her heartbreaking portrayal of Siobhan, a young woman spinning out of control with no one able to catch her—not even her best friend—author Ann Redisch Stampler reminds us that losing a friendship can be just as painful as a failed romance."
VOYA, February 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 6) - Johanna Nation-Vallee
Emma is a self-proclaimed “good girl,” with a well-meaning but overprotective father. When they move to Los Angeles, Emma is torn between the responsibilities of her old identity and the lure of the glamorous and decadent L.A. teen culture. At school she meets the worldly and reckless Siobhan, who decides Emma would be the perfect “friend” to corrupt. What follows is a story of conflicting loyalties and moral dilemmas. Emma is drawn more and more into Siobhan’s world of parties and drugs as the two devise a pact to prepare Emma for Afterparty, the end-of-school bash where anything goes. Plans go awry when the two end up falling for the same boy, however, ending in a tragic confrontation at Afterparty. Throughout the book Emma finds herself fighting for middle ground between the high school experience of “Emma the Good”—good grades, steady boyfriend, volunteering at the food bank—and the experience she gets with Siobhan—checklists, wild parties, and freedom from her father. Many readers will be able to relate to this classic teenage conflict, even if Emma’s privileged lifestyle feels unfamiliar. The characters are realistically flawed, and watching the story unfold is uncomfortable because of it. Afterparty will be most suitable for older teens due to drug-related and sexual themes and will probably be most popular among girls. Reviewer: Johanna Nation-Vallee; Ages 15 to 18.
Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
The reader might say Emma Lazar is held in “protective custody” by her father; he does not want his daughter to turn out like her mother—a dead addict found behind a convenience store with a needle in her lifeless arm. Emma has had to give up a lot: her name, Amélie; her country, Quebec, Canada; her native language, French; and her religion, Judaism. But keeping a teenage girl from going to parties or out with friends or engaging in other normal adolescent behavior generally causes rebellion. So when Emma and Dad move to L.A. for his new job and her new fancy prep school, the girl goes wild. The first day of school she meets Siobhan Lynch, who is already past wild into dangerous; she leads Emma into over-the-top behavior. She tries to resist, but is sucked into “not-a-good-girl-anymore” behavior. Siobhan makes up a French boyfriend for Emma, supposedly to protect her from snarky remarks by the school’s mean girls. Of course, this keeps the school’s hottest guy, Dylan, from showing an interest in Emma. At Siobhan’s prodding, Emma’s behavior is increasingly dangerous. She sneaks out her bedroom window, frequently drinks too much, and tries drugs. Siobhan needles Emma into losing her virginity. By the time the notorious prom “Afterparty” rolls around, Siobhan has made Emma promise that if they are not ecstatically happy at the party, they should jump off the roof of the hotel. When Siobhan drags her to the roof, Emma resists her friend’s attempt to push over her over the side. Siobhan jumps over herself. She survives but refuses to be Emma’s friend, because she did not keep her promise to jump. This is a cautionary tale for teens and their parents. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan; Ages 14 up.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Emma is tired of being "Emma the Good," so when she and her father move to Beverly Hills for her junior and senior years of high school, she decides it is time to change. She understands her father's fears-her mother was an addict and died of an overdose-but he is smothering her with his rules and protectiveness. On her first day at school, she meets Siobhan and the two bond. Siobhan is everything Emma isn't-wild, unafraid, free to do what she wants with a mother who often eggs her on. Emma also meets Dylan, an enigma to whom she is immediately attracted-handsome, smart, a rebel. Siobhan and Emma make a pact that Emma will, during the course of her junior year, sneak out of the house, attend parties, drink, have sex, and attend the legendary Afterparty at the end of the school year. Emma becomes fairly comfortable living her dual life, and her friendships with Siobhan and Dylan grow, until Siobhan hooks up with Dylan at a party and the two begin dating. This is the beginning of the end as things start to spiral out of Emma's control. She is a strong character whose struggle to balance parental expectations and the typical teen desire for freedom reads very realistically. Siobhan, as the bad girl, and Dylan, as the bad boy love interest, are slightly more predictable but still well drawn and relatable. Most of the other characters, including Emma's dad, Siobhan's mother, and Dylan's parents, as well as the "mean girls" at the exclusive private school they all attend, are much more stereotypical. Overall, the book reads like a blend of a standard teen romance with Beverly Hills, 90210 and still manages to be appealing.—Janet Hilbun, Texas Women's University, Denton, TX
Kirkus Reviews
After years of moving from place to place with her overprotective dad, Emma Lazar is thrilled that her dad's latest job brings the two of them to Los Angeles. When vicious mean girl Chelsea Hay insults Emma at her new swanky private day school, the equally sharp-tongued Siobhan Lynch stands up for Emma. Thus begins a friendship that is both compelling and harrowing. Siobhan is a master manipulator, and her charm, persistence and denials of wrongdoing lead Emma to forgive and forget ever-crueler behavior and actions. Siobhan wants the pair of them to go to Afterparty, a notorious yearly party that "beyond defies description." To get sheltered Emma ready, she proposes a list of activities, mostly involving substance use and hookups with boys. The book begins with a sensational scene from its climax and the intimation that Emma will kill her best friend, but the story is much more character-driven than the opening suggests. At the center are Emma's relationships: navigating her father's rules and his disappointment when she breaks them, crushing on and getting close to dreamy Dylan Kahane, debriefing with her even-more-sheltered friend Megan, and being drawn into Siobhan's increasingly reckless agenda. Aside from a few avoidable misunderstandings between Emma and Dylan, this is a gripping and sometimes downright scary look at friendship and manipulation. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

Simon Pulse
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 7.20(h) x 1.90(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


It is not the ending I expected. The free fall from the roof and the torn green awnings. Her body landing in a heap at the foot of a hydrangea bush. The hedges lit with pink Malibu lights that glint off the sequined skirt, the blouse half open, and her pale hair.

The thud, the doorman running down the sidewalk, and then sirens and more rain.

Siobhan the Wild and Emma the Good.

I was the good one . . . maybe not so much.

Poor Siobhan.

She could batter mean girls with a field hockey stick and make it seem accidental. She could break your heart and make it seem accidental.

And then she couldn’t. Then she was gone.


Maybe she is only temporarily asleep—but more likely, she is only temporarily alive.

Hanging on by her fingernails is what they say.

The wild one is gone and the good one . . . isn’t good. Because good girls don’t usually wear long sleeves to cover where their best friend’s fingernails scored their forearms. Good girls don’t usually slip out their bedroom window in a silver dress and taxi to the Camden Hotel late at night.

Good girls don’t usually kill their best friend.

Meet the Author

Ann Redisch Stampler is the author of the young adult novels Afterparty and Where It Began as well as half a dozen picture books. Her work has garnered an Aesop accolade, the National Jewish Book Award, Sydney Taylor honors, the Middle East Book Award, and Bank Street Best Books of the Year mentions. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband, Rick.

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Afterparty 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
soulunsung More than 1 year ago
Ann Redisch Stampler has written a wonderfully engaging and equally compelling follow up novel to her shining debut, Where It Began . Afterparty is an explosive young adult book full of tragedy, betrayal, and complicated romance.  It was incredibly easy for me to get sucked into this story right away, because the Stampler's writing style just flowed really well and I found myself enjoying the book quite a bit, although there were moments where I cringed a bit at a couple of things that were happening. I found myself enjoying how beautifully written the story was, how the sadness tinged the pages and somehow began to wake up my feels, and how it reminded me of what it was like growing up around other's who experienced some of the things Emma, Siobahn, and other's did. Stampler does a brilliant job of telling a story of self-growth and discovery, mingled with complicated lies, betrayal, friendship, and loyalty.  I was drawn in completely by Emma the Good versus Emma the Conflicted. The flaws were real and her constant struggle with reconciling the always dutiful good girl her father expected her to be and the Emma breaking free and becoming reckless, was approached in such a way that it was easy to relate to her character and inner struggles, even if you weren't ever truly faced with that situation before. Readers will appreciate the realism written between the pages and how it brings the characters to life in many ways, lending so much more depth and interesting facets to them. There's a wild and intense fervor hidden beneath the pages of this complicated lesson in morality and realism. that's an inherent part of who Siobhan really is underneath the cover of her nasty disguise.  The twists and turns with the story Afterparty has to tell, will keep readers on the edge of their seats waiting to see what happens next. It's full of intense emotion and suspense, written in such a way that it's a fast paced enjoyable read, that isn't too extremely heavy but hits home with all of the necessary elements it needs to make its message clear. One of the most appreciative things about this book, is the way in which Stampler deals with peer pressure among friends and non-friends. If you're looking for a book that reads like some sappy after-school special, then this isn't the book I would suggest to you. If you are looking for a book that deals with everyday struggles that a teen goes through from peer pressure, to dealing with betrayal in friendships, among other things then this is the book that I would suggest picking up. Afterparty , might just surprise readers with how well written and relatable it is. 
AshleyKatec 4 months ago
This is by far the best book I have ever read. I am so in love with the story line and how it plays out throughout the book. It is my all time favorite book and I have yet to find another book that compares or is even better than this one. I could read this book over and over and never get bored fit. I am a very young age so the story line of a girl getting a little rebellious and finding someone she loves is very appealing to me and I always find myself excited to read some new change or part of the book. I also relate to Emma and I think I am somewhat similar to her so I really understand whatever she feels or thinks for that matter. I think this book is really truly something special and it is literally the best.
PHDunn More than 1 year ago
Wow. This book was fantastic. The writing surprised me at first. It took a few pages to fall into the unique rhythm of it, but once I did, I really, really loved it. I adore books with good writing, and every word in Afterparty was a joy to read. Besides the writing, the characters were the primary force of this book. From Emma to Siobhan to Kahane, all the characters were complex, with messy emotions. They weren't perfect -- but they were very, very real. I was right there with Emma, rooting for her. Sure, she made mistakes, but I can easily see any teen girl (myself) making the same mistakes. As a realistic, raw, and gritty depiction of one teen's life, I'd say this book is pretty much a masterpiece.
tiff76 More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Afterparty had this great edge to it I wasn't expecting and is one of the best toxic friendship books I've come across. The relationship between Emma and Siobhan was fascinating and utterly realistic as were the romantic elements. I loved Emma's first person narration. It was one of the truest teen voices I've read in forever. I can really envision a teen thinking and talking just like Emma. Overall, loads of fun to read and a book I highly recommend!
Jazzie More than 1 year ago
A Dark & Intriguing Story of Growing Up Note: This review contains NO spoilers It's just scary to think that these teenage antics, to the extreme, are what's happening to teens today! Whoa! Ann Redisch Stampler has written an intriguing story of a over-sheltered young girl as she navigates through her new high school with all the peer pressures, the bullying, and her need to find herself. This was definitely a read that any parent would dread if it was happening with their own teen. Yikes! Because I know I was filled with dread and apprehension with each turn of the page. Although it started off slow (for me), the story did pick up its pace after Emma moved to California and had "befriended" Siobhan. As I continued reading, the writing seemed more and more like a diary entry of Emma's life or Emma telling her story to a psychologist/therapist. It totally felt like I was in her head...knowing what she's thinking, what she's feeling, and knowing what she REALLY desires. As she gets more and more involved with her "friendship" with Siobhan, Emma quickly goes into the more darker side of her that she struggles with. Yes, like any other teenager, Emma is dealing with A LOT of peer pressure...to the extreme. It's hard for Emma to not want to explore that darker, undisciplined side of herself since she has been so sheltered by her father for most of her young life. Hey...that's called rebellion...hahaha!!! Being a parent, I was absolutely aghast with all the "things" that Emma and Siobhan had agreed to in their "pact." But, all the while, I couldn't put the book down. In all honesty, almost throughout the book, I was nodding my head in agreement of what teens today are doing...well, maybe not to that extreme, or are they!?! I don't know, but the main thought going through my mind is the hope my daughter is confident enough to know what's right and what's wrong for herself. I also felt a lot of compassion for these girls as their lives spiral out of control...and there's always an underlying reason why, that we soon learn why. I loved how Ann wrote this story with real-life issues that many teens and parents are faced with everyday....peer pressure, sex, drugs, and bullying. All these issues can be found with the characters in Afterparty. Ann has deftly created a teen world of how all these issues can be destructive for any teen, in many different ways. In the end, their young lives are struggling to come out to find themselves and who they want to be. Sometimes, it can get dangerous...and it did! Afterparty is a dark and hard look into the mind of Emma and her "friends," and how she deals with it and her overbearing father. A slow read at the start, but a suspense-filled thriller of a teenager's actions as she tries to find who she REALLY wants to be...good or bad, or maybe somewhere in between. All in all, Afterparty was Emma's journey and introduction to an out controlled teen lifestyle that got dangerous. This was definitely a must-read as it takes a dark and hard look at the real issues teenagers do suffer and struggle with every day in high school. I could only give it a four star rating, because of the slow start. I really had to "push" myself to continue reading. But, I am so glad that I did. This isn't an easy read...not in a long shot. The story's pace gradually gets you deeper and deeper into Emma's head and picks up when it took a sharp turn to the dark and psychological thriller side of suspense....well, worth not giving up reading Afterparty. This is my first book that I have read by Ann Redisch Stampler; and she did a phenomenal job of getting me into Emma's head.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a really good book. My interest was kept the whole time.
readnowsleeplater_com More than 1 year ago
I love a good bad-girl, I do. If I can live a thousand lives vicariously through reading, I'd rather relate to the bad girl over the good girl, not because good girls are boring, but because they are a known quantity. I crave something new and different, but still safe--something I can tuck back between the covers of a good book when I'm done with it. A good bad-girl is just the thing--likeable, but wild, just the right kind of chaotic element to make an equation add up to something a little unexpected. And when you're done with her, just close the book. Emma Lazar has no such luxury, however. She craves the new and different, stepping out into the hot Los Angeles haze, leaning away from her father's overprotective shadow and towards the bright, sparkling beacon of fun that is Siobhan Lynch. As Emma's friendship with Siobhan grows, her relationship with her father begins to falter. With an uninhibited partner in crime, Emma begins to change, and not necessarily for the better. Afterparty explores the life of the good girl, the bad girl, and all the gray areas in between them. Emma agonizes over her identity: is she Emma the Good, taking insanely perfect notes and following her moral compass to an unequivocal North? Or is she Emma the Bad Seedling, as the handsome but perhaps untrustworthy Dylan Kahane calls her: lying, sneaking out, with moral compass spinning wildly out of control? Is she her (junkie, derelict, deceased) mother's daughter, despite all the effort she and her father put in to avoid just such an outcome? Evenly-paced, snarky, and bursting with bad decisions, Afterparty is a fascinating and highly entertaining addition to contemporary realistic YA fiction. I highly recommend it!
StephWard More than 1 year ago
3.5 Stars 'Afterparty' is a glaringly realistic young adult contemporary novel that shows what can come of lies, secrets, and unstable friendships. The book follows main character Emma as she adjusts to her new life in California with her overprotective but sweet dad. Emma doesn't expect things to be any different here than they were before, but then she meets Siobhan - another transfer student who is everything Emma wishes she could be. Where Emma is an honest "good girl," Siobhan is a snarky wild girl who likes to play and party. Soon Emma and Siobhan are inseparable and Emma's "good girl" attitude starts to slip away. With Siobhan at her side and their increasingly crazy pacts between them, Emma begins to become what she believes is a normal teenage girl. What she doesn't expect is how Siobhan will react to the new her that comes alive and what will happen on the epic night known as the Afterparty. The description of the book immediately drew me to it, although I don't normally go for contemporary fiction. The premise sounded intriguing and kind of like a teen Lifetime movie, so I thought I'd give it a go. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. The characters were well written with distinct personalities and traits which made them incredibly realistic and easy to identify with. Emma's character reminded me of my teenage self - the Good Emma with the overprotective dad and the "good girl" who always did what she was supposed to. I easily got inside of Emma's head and was able to really empathize with her throughout the novel. The plot was fantastic - full of drama, teen angst, mean girls, and crushes - it was a perfect image of life as a teenager. There were definitely some deeper themes mixed in such as friendship, family, love, and becoming comfortable with who you are - which I thought gave the book an extra depth and meaning. The writing was well done with lots of details and vivid descriptions so that I felt like I was right beside Emma throughout the entire story. The only thing that got me was the pacing of the book. It seemed slow, even sluggish, at times. I had a really hard time focusing because I felt like it was dragging along, which meant I couldn't fully immerse myself into the story like I normally do - which is why I believe I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have. There's absolutely nothing wrong with anything in the book and I'm sure tons of contemporary fictions fans will love it, but the pacing was just off for me and I couldn't get into it. Overall, it was an incredibly realistic and honest look at teenage life with a bit of drama thrown in for good measure. Definitely recommended! Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.