by Tom Leveen


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375863929
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 04/05/2011
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 1,288,741
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

TOM LEVEEN has been involved in theater since 1988, directing over 30 plays. As the artistic director and a co-founder of an all-ages, nonprofit visual and performing venue in Scottsdale, Arizona, he frequently works with young adults at various events including theater, visual art exhibits, and especially the live music scene. Tom is an Arizona native, where he lives with his wife, Joy. Party is his first novel. You can visit Tom at his web site:

Read an Excerpt


I’m the girl nobody knows until she commits suicide. Then suddenly everyone had a class with her.

You know the one I mean.

You don’t pick on her, because you don’t know she’s there, not really. She sits behind you in chemistry, or across the room in Spanish. You’ve seen her naked in the locker room after physical education—a contradiction in terms if ever there was one—but you don’t know what color her eyes are. What her name is.

What grade she’s in.

She’s always been there, like the gum under your desk in math class. And when you do bother to explore under there with your fingers, the first thing you do upon contact is jerk back and say, Ew! And when that girl leaves, it doesn’t matter, there’s another one ready to take her place.

To be That Girl Who.

That Girl Who always reads comic books in the library during her free period or lunch. That Girl Who wears the long, flowy dresses and Rastafarian tam and peasant tops—except for that month freshman year when she wore a Tony Hawk T-shirt after seeing an absolutely spectacular X Games in San Diego with her best friend and her family. That Girl Who smiled at you once and who you maybe meant to smile back at, but couldn’t find the time because you just got a text from a friend you were going to talk to three minutes later in the hall.

It’s no big.

Girls like that are like that by choice. One way or another, we choose to blend in, keep our heads down, not cause a scene. Our individual reasons might vary a little from girl to girl, but the result is the same.

We’re safe.

We avoid all the high school BS because the fact is, there are a lot bigger things going on outside those halls. Things that no one else knows about.

I know.

Like the girl who never participates in class? Goes to games or plays or dances or pep rallies? Or talks to anyone? Truth is, she doesn’t have time. She has to—had to—get home to take care of her sick mother. No one knows she’s living by herself now because her dad took off years ago and never exactly left a forwarding address, and she’s scared that someday the school will find out and make her go into a foster home. That soon the money is going to run out, which means she’ll have to drop out of school and work for minimum wage to try to pay rent. That her junior year in high school will have been her last.

These are the things no one else knows about.

Things no one else knows about me.

I miss my mom.

If she hadn’t added my name to our little—stress little—bank account in January, the month before she died, I don’t know what I would’ve done. I was sixteen by then and managed to take care of all the “arrangements,” as the funeral director called it. I had her cremated and spread her ashes on Shoreline Beach and in the Pacific. That’s what she would have wanted. There was no service, no funeral, no piles of ass-casseroles in the fridge brought by suitably sorrowful relatives and friends.

My mom was not like me. She was lively. “Free-spirited,” my father would call her, while secretly screwing a viola player from Seattle. We lived alone together ever since Dad bailed on us, and that was fine with Mom. “I don’t need a penis to raise my daughter,” she said when she changed both our names back to her maiden name when I was twelve.

So other than an occasional visit from a nurse when we could afford it those last couple of months, it was just us. Musicians, if you didn’t know, generally don’t make a lot of money. Jennifer M. & The Pasadena Theory never hit it big. Plus Mom stopped writing music during her first round of chemo, but her Gibson Epiphone acoustic and recording equipment were still in the little studio she’d built for herself. People still bought her albums, every once in a while—I knew because I’d gotten a couple of checks for like five bucks, royalty checks from this indie label she worked with. I knew any future royalties would go to me now. The people at the music company were among the few who knew her and knew she was gone. I didn’t even tell the people who’d known us the longest. Ashley, or her family, or Anthony and his family. Because I suck.

I might have to sell all her gear soon. For the cash. I don’t want to.

On Saturday evening, the night of the biggest party of the year, I walk to the nearby Santa Barbara Mission, where I sit alone in the chapel. I stare down at my woven bag, which is stuffed with everything I had planned to bring to the party, if I go—my change purse, my cell phone, my used copy of Batman: Year One in case I get bored, the key to my apartment; everything.

I know the old lady who runs the gift shop, and she lets me in without paying admission. I like to come here and sit in the back pew, looking at the statues of Jesus and the saints, and the tourists who snap away with their digital cameras and pretend to have some sense of reverence. A lot of them don’t bother pretending, I’ve noticed.

That’s okay. Jesus and the saints don’t seem to mind. There’s more important things to worry about. There’s a war on, after all. And people dying of cancer. Jesus and the saints probably have their hands full.

If there’s no one else in here, which happens maybe half the time, I talk to Mom. I don’t know if she hears me or not. She never went to church, so I don’t know if she’s allowed here now.

“So there’s this party tonight,” I tell her now. The Mission is closing, and most of the tourists are already gone. Any minute the janitor, Carlos, is going to chase me out with his big dust mop, which he likes to do. He tries to act like he’s all upset with me, but he can’t not smile when he shakes the mop at me. I like Carlos. He’s real. I know because he sees me.

“I don’t know if I’m going to go,” I tell her, out loud but quiet in case someone happens to walk in and think I’m a total nutjob. And maybe I am, sitting here and talking to my mother who died almost five months ago as if she’s going to talk back to me, or make a Virgin Mary statue cry or something.

“I mean, I don’t know any of them,” I go on. “I know of them. I know their names and who they hang out with and what colleges they want to go to. I know Antho still wants to play for the Raiders even though I haven’t talked to him since—whenever. But I don’t really know them. I’ve never been to a party before, not really. I mean, I couldn’t . . .”

I trail off. Mom knows why I couldn’t.

I was too busy feeding her when she was too weak to do it herself. That and six dozen other chores you don’t want to imagine, involving every possible fluid the human body can produce, in quantities you don’t want to think about.

“I feel like I should just do it,” I say. “Just go. Like, I should go because I don’t know anyone. Just say hi or something. Or maybe goodbye. To someone.”

I close my eyes. “I haven’t been to a party since Ashley’s birthday right after freshman year.”

Ashley Dixon. I almost smile. We’d been friends since kindergarten, all the way until Mom got sick. Then Morrigan Lewis moved to town and I didn’t see Ashley much after that. I’d watched them throughout sophomore year, jealous at first. Then, consumed by Mom’s illness, I’d stopped keeping tabs on my old friend. Jealousy was a luxury for girls who didn’t have to drive their mothers to the hospital for chemotherapy. After a few months, it was like I’d never known Ashley in the first place. The day Mom told me about her diagnosis, she also made me swear not to tell anyone.

“I’ll be fine,” she said, and back then, her voice was still strong and lovely. “We’ll be fine.”

“What about Ashley?” I’d asked her. “Or her mom and dad? Can’t we—”

“No one, kiddo. Not even Bob and Dianne.”

“Antho and Mike . . .”

“No, not the Lincolns either, sweetheart. No one. Promise me.”

So I promised and I kept it. I hid the worst news of my life from my best friends.

I feel a pang of guilt, realizing this is the first time I’ve really thought of Ashley in more than a year, despite seeing her every day at school. She’d say hi, relentlessly, every day, while Morrigan would roll her eyes. But the last few months, I haven’t even looked at her. And Antho, he’s been looking distracted, and hasn’t seemed to notice me slowly becoming invisible.

“Okay, I’ll go to the party,” I say to Mom. “If you really want me to. I’ll go and I’ll . . . I’ll talk to someone. Ashley. Or someone. I’ll make small talk. If you really think I should.”

Mom, Jesus, and the saints are quiet.

When the Mission closes for the night—some other janitor who I can only call Not Carlos is the one closing up—I take a bus, a.k.a. the Loser Cruiser, toward the house where the party is being held, but I change my mind after the bus crosses State Street. I get off at Micheltorena to catch another bus back toward State. When I transfer buses, I have to pretend not to notice Morrigan Lewis screaming at me from across the street. Ashley is probably nearby and I don’t want to run into either one of them.

I jump on the bus the instant it stops, telling Mom there’s no way I’m going to this party.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Party 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 523 reviews.
YA_Love More than 1 year ago
Eleven teenagers, including skaters, a jock, and a girl with a secret, decide to attend an end of the year party. They each have their own reasons ranging from needing to make a friend to getting over being dumped. "Everyone" is expected to attend this party, yet none of them expect to have their lives connect in so many different ways. Each chapter is told from a different character's perspective, giving the reader an opportunity to see the action from all angles. I decided to read this book after reading a review that compared it to the Academy Award winning movie Crash (and if you haven't seen that movie yet you must!). The first chapter is told from Beckett's perspective, and I was instantly hooked by this character. She's all alone in the world, yet extremely observant, and decides to attend this party because she needs to know she's visible. Her character reminds me of Hannah Baker from Th1rteen R3asons Why only less harsh. As Beckett is deciding whether to show up at the party she sees her old best friend Ashley with another girl Morrigan. We find out why Ashley is her old best friend, what she thinks of Morrigan, and then the chapter switches to Morrigan. This carries on throughout the night until we have the full picture of the events as they play out. I mostly enjoyed the differing perspectives because it made the story richer than just following one character. The only drawback is that I wanted more from some characters. Beckett's view of the story ends after the first chapter, but we see her story play out as she encounters more characters during the night. A couple characters lack detail that I prefer when reading a story. Tommy, for example, didn't strike me as a worthwhile character besides giving us more insight on how Josh copes with his breakup. I love Azize's character and would have loved it if Tommy's chapter was cut so we could have had more from Azize or even the lovesick, Max. But, like I said, the different views give us a richer story. Morrigan, for example, is looked at in a variety of ways. Beckett sees Morrigan as her replacement with Ashley. Ryan looks at her as an overly drunk partier, and Josh sees her as the evil girl that dumped him out of nowhere. But then we get to read the chapter from Morrigan's eyes and we know exactly what she's thinking and feeling. We know how deep, hurt and confused she truly is. Of course, Morrigan isn't the only rich character in Party. Tom Leveen has created quite a few rich characters, I only wish we could read even more about them. Overall, I highly recommend reading Party by Tom Leveen. If you enjoyed Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher or if you enjoy how Ellen Hopkins brings characters together in her books like Impulse or Tricks, then you'll really enjoy this novel. I'm looking forward to talking about this book with my students this coming school year!
muffinfarmer More than 1 year ago
The book is an easy read, i read it in 2 days (i'm 13 years old). The characters are kind of typical and stereotypical. The only part i found disappointing that this only occurred over 1 night. It isn't that thrilling because many things are kind of expectant. i loved the beginning with Beckett, but then things went kind of downhill.
Robin_Brande More than 1 year ago
I just put this book down thirty seconds ago after crying my eyes out--in a good way. Leveen does a FANTASTIC job capturing the voices, the stories, the emotions and the turmoils of several different teens attending the same end-of-year party. The story is face-paced, tense, funny at times, very moving throughout, and ultimately uplifting and deeply satisfying. What a tremendous first effort by this debut novelist. Leveen is a genuine talent to watch.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yeah luv u to
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Drives up in her ferrari
QMS More than 1 year ago
The book Party, by Tom Leveen, is about how eleven different people view a single party and what were their goals at that party. The eleven different characters all have something in common and they are all bonded together in the story. This book is easy and quick to read, especially if you like stories about teenagers and the problems they are facing. At first the book can be hard to understand, but as the story goes, it gets easier to know what's happening. I would recommend this book for mostly teenagers.
59Square on LibraryThing 15 hours ago
This is the story of an end-of-school party, and 11 teens who plan to go to the party. Chapters are told through each of the teens¿ perspectives, and their voices are all very different, although not necessarily distinguishable. There is Beckett, who opens the book ¿ she is living on her own, withdrawn from all of her friends, after her mother dies of cancer. There is Morrigan, whose parents basically ignore her most of the time, yet ground her on the night of the party. There is a racial fight on the grounds of the party, leaving one boy seriously injured, yet the other boy does not go to jail. There is a lot of drinking and talking about getting high, and some sexually graphic talk and scenes. This is not a book for the faint of heart ¿ but really, the book is called Party. This is Tom Leveen¿s first book, and it is a good one, but not a great one. I think there are too many characters, and not all of them were necessary. There were also some unresolved character issues ¿ for example, the Turkish teen who is beaten up forgives the teen who beat him and drops the charges with really no explanation of why he has decided, especially after the teen called him a towelhead. Still interesting and I think teens will like it.
Euphoria13 on LibraryThing 15 hours ago
11 Teens from Santa Barbara High School are about to attend what might be the biggest party of the year. The school year is finally over and it's time to have fun. This story is told in 11 chapters, with each chapter pertaining to each of the teens in which the story starts with Beckett. She's the girl no one remembers or notices, the girl with a secret. When you begin to read Beckett's part, you'll have no choice but to keep reading and learn about the other people who are attending the party. Everyone's point of view matters and everyone's voice is written unique and flawless, Tom Leveen has created incredible real life characters in this story. I'm still in awe of how GOOD this story was. It's fast paced in which the suspense builds up with every chapter. Every character adds more dimension to the story with their version of the night of The Party, in which certain gaps between different characters are filled, making your eyes literally open wide.I felt my heart ache, i became angry, i laughed, and i cried while reading this book. One word to sum it all up= AMAZING. I believe that every teenager should read this book because it honestly captivates how one's perception can be completely different from another. That what we see on the outside can be wrong because we don't know what is inside. Tom Leveen did such a fantastic job in this book, weaving together 11 teens and their point of view of the party, telling a complete story of life, friendship, emotions, and truth.
KevinJoseph on LibraryThing 15 hours ago
Told in eleven chapters, each written from the first person perspective of a different teenager headed on a collision course with one another on the night of an end-of-school-year house party, this first novel manages to be fun and even somewhat original. While not all of the eleven narrators succeed in creating a distinct, memorable voice, the depressed loner Beckett, the troubled football star Anthony, and the lovelorn Josh stand out as memorable, convincing characters. The plot is really simple (how the chaos resulting from a wild beer bash has the unexpectedly cathartic effect of restoring order to the lives of some troubled teens), and the author clearly seems more interested in exploring social issues such as racism bred by the War on Terror, the way in which teenage boys and girls bond with one another (both in same-sex groups and in their volatile hookups and relationships), the different ways teenagers assert their individuality as they break away from parental control, and the curious moral code that seems to keep these kids from descending into anarchy. Some of the characters' choices strike false notes and the story line relies a little too much on coincidence to ensure that the eleven cross paths enough times in that one fateful night, yet the rising sun brings with it hope that this generation of young people is its way to responsible adulthood.
cidneyswanson on LibraryThing 15 hours ago
Okay. For starters it's set in Santa Barbara, California. Santa Barbara. *moans with nostalgia* And Leveen gets subtle things just right about the place, such as the fog in June and the fact that sometimes it's better to take De La Vina instead of State Street. Eating is a big deal when you are a high school student, and Leveen makes frequent stops at a variety of food joints. I got hungry for wheat-germ strawberry pancakes (which I don't even like) and killer burritos (which I do) and wondered if my old fave pizza place still exists.So let's say you have zero personal connection to Santa Barbara. There's still a great chance you'll find this an immersive read. Eleven great chances, actually. Leveen recounts the twelve-or-so hours surrounding the party from eleven different points of view. All speak in first person and in present tense. While I've slogged through books where keeping things in present tense did not enhance the narrative, it absolutely works in PARTY. Much of the action takes place inside the characters' heads where the present tense reinforces the illusion that you are working through issues alongside the characters. Not to say the action stays in the characters' heads; there's an ugly fight, sex, a car accident, and a big, BIG party.So how does Leveen sustain eleven different POVs? He creates unique back-stories and identities for each character, but many writers do that. What I really enjoyed about Leveen's characterizations can be found in the rhythm of their speech. With a couple of exceptions (which I'll address below), each person in the story speaks from a distinct perspective using decidedly individualized language. Which brings me to: potentially objectionable content. Several characters swear. A lot. This creates a high level of realism in the dialog, but the book will not be appropriate for every teen both because of the language and the frank portrayal of teen sexual and drinking behavior.But to return to the dialogue. Where one teen uses every known curse-word with abandon, others refrain entirely, and one kid abbreviates his offensive language by using only the first letter of the word he has in mind. Some speak in grammatically correct sentences; others elide letters and syllables. The dialog (and in some cases, dialect,) is so accurate you'll swear Leveen followed these people around with a recording device. I kept thinking of Hamlet speaking to the players: "Now this overdone . . . though it make the unskillful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve." No over-doings here. The dialog is brilliant.So what are these eleven talking and thinking about? A party, certainly, but there's more going on in this novel than drinking, fighting, and getting laid. (One character's summary of what kids go to parties to do.) We watch them pass through transforming, redemptive experiences between sunset and sunrise. There are really, really, bad decisions made by some of these kids, but there's some amazing re-thinking, apologizing, and owning-up afterward.I had to think hard to come up with a complaint about the book. I promised above to return to the exceptions to Leveen's success in creating eleven distinctive voices. So here's my only complaint. I found it tough to keep Tommy, Daniel, and Matt from mushing together in my head. In fairness, Matt doesn't get his own chapter. But Tommy and Daniel do, and I still had a hard time, while I read, remembering anything very distinguishing about either of them. Later it occurred to me that this could have been purposeful on the author's part; along with Ryan and Josh, Tommy-Daniel-Matt make a five-some who have spent years together. They have a lot in common and maybe we're supposed to notice similarities instead of differences.Or maybe I just need to go back and have a second, slower read. Hmm, that sounds nice. And I think I'll go ahead and register for my class reunion in Santa Barbara this fall.
YABliss on LibraryThing 15 hours ago
Once again I was taken by surprise into a book that shook me and left me wanting more. Leveen is a genius when it comes to character development. He managed to make ELEVEN different points of view, all in one night, one party... work. Don't ask me how he did that. You'll laugh. You'll be angry. You'll be insulted. You'll feel their pain. You'll even want to hang out with them, seriously.The writing was awesome in a fresh young/modern way. Hilarious and blunt at the same time. Every single thing and detail matches and works chronologically in a way that left me in awe. A truly excellent debut, if you are one to appreciate fun, meaningful books. Every situation and character felt so alive and real it was hard to pull my head out of the book. If you've ever been to a crazy out-of-control life-changing party, you sure know what I mean.Not a typical read, yet fully enjoyable, Party has sexual and alcohol content (Duh, it's a party). The book mashes eleven different stories together in a tale of friendship, life and sticking together. If you're looking for a fresh and bold contemporary read, go check this one out and enjoy the party.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why do ppl wanna have nook sex?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Everything ok Sierra?" she asks. She walks up to Sierra and leans against the tree.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whatches this place
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A bunch of kegs are set up as well as a table full of different kinds of alchohol and pop and food is set up....and a big pool and a trampoline and an x box, Playstation and other gaming devices are set up and also skateboarding ramps and sh<_>it and a big cement area for skateboarders and a stage is set up for music and entertainment HAVE FUN!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Girl skinny blounde hair
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Erica08 More than 1 year ago
A great debut novel. I'm glad my kids were older when I read this or I'd have kept them home :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At gnd res 1
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How old r u?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*walks in