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April 18, 2024

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Book Reviews, And Author Interviews

July 18th The Party Of The Summer Releases: The Block Party By Jamie Day- A Review

The Block Party By Jamie Day- Summary

Goodreads Summary for The Block Party by Jamie Day (review below): On the night of the annual Summer block party, the Meadowbrook community Facebook page lights up with posts reporting sirens descending on the desirable and exclusive cul-de-sac neighborhood on Alton Road. Bit by bit, the comments trickle in, some taking pleasure in their neighbors’ misfortune and others showing concern. The truth eventually comes out. It’s not an accident, or a drowning, or a fire, as some had predicted. For the first time in forty years, there’s been a murder in Meadowbrook.

The residents of Alton Road—The Fox family, the core of the neighborhood but each with secrets of their own; the Adair Family, the seemingly perfect all-American family; the Thompson Family, on the brink of an explosive divorce; The Kumars, the mysterious “new neighbors”; Brooke Bailey, the “Black Widow”; and Gus Fisher, the quirky salesman— are entangled in a web of secrets and scandal unbeknownst to the outside world and even each other.

Who was murdered at the block party? Who committed the murder? And why? As the night unfolds, the residents will discover that the real danger lies within their own block and nothing—and no one—is ever as it seems. Propulsive and layered, THE BLOCK PARTY will keep you guessing until the very last page.

Alexandra Fox meant to only have a couple drinks at the Block Party. Three tops. Well, woman plans, God laughs.

The Block Party By Jamie Day- Review

Neighborhood thrillers with anonymous apps and/or message boards are my new favorite flavor of ice cream. The message board chapters in Jamie Day’s The Block Party is an absolute riot. I’m going to talk about it more in the character section because it literally is a character unto itself. But I wanted to say that upfront. Now, I want to explain that I’m going to throw quotes from The Block Party in random places (see above) because Jamie Day’s writing is spectacular. She nails humor, wit, suspense, and family drama with precision. So, a quote might not be relative to what I’m saying above and below it, but I want to fit a few in. I could, honestly, quote the whole book.

Writing about revenge is cool, I guess… but taking revenge? That’s something to truly savor.

So here’s the thing about The Block Party. While, yes, the focus is on what just happened that fateful Memorial Day, there are many moments in between to savor. For instance, when a “Friendsgiving” really is and turns into a “Frienemies Thanksgiving.” At that point, you know Jamie Day is cooking with gas. Truly you should know that long before, but there are so many theres there.

Emily thinks Amanda is sleeping with Ken. Ken is fascinated by Brooke’s erotic pictures on the internet and he’s doing God knows what with them… Samir might be an abusive husband, and now we’ve got Brooke’s stalker to worry about… But I will tell you something… It’s gonna be one hell of a Friendsgiving.

Jamie Day spins a structure for The Block Party that allows the plot to flash back and forth until circling around to that fateful day. Furthermore, this structure allows for little reveals throughout that slowly build the tension. Despite being a slow build, those little tidbits? The hints dropped? The drama throughout the book? It keeps you enraptured and guessing as to who the perpetrator(s) and victim(s) could be.

Review

Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced audio copy of Jamie Day’s The Block Party, which releases July 18th.

Typical of a Memorial Day block party, there are little fireworks along the way that gets everyone’s attention. Then, there is the explosion of fireworks that blows your mind. There were many times when I actually heard an “oh shit” gasp escape my mouth.

The Block Party

‘You can’t have a crooked star on Christmas Eve! What would Jesus Think? <Alex asked>’ ‘He’d think you had too much to drink.’ Nick shared.

Then, of course, Alex knocked down the entire tree. Because, of course, she did. And Alex may seem like the butt of most of these jokes, but she isn’t. There are plenty of betrayals, mishaps, and neighborhood gossip to go around. Again, all leading to the Memorial Day Block Party one year later, where it all comes together like a barrel of TNT.

‘Every year I make this toast <Ken said> to remind us how blessed we are but this year it feels especially poignant. Maybe it is because I’m getting more sentimental in middle age. Or, maybe it is because we didn’t have to call an ambulance after Alex took down my Christmas tree.’

The Block Party By Jamie Day- Characters

Oh, my loves! There is so much to dive into with the cast of characters in this well-to-do neighborhood. First off, I may never be the feminist in the room, but it was fantastic to read about a group of women who (most of them) are gainfully employed. There is a real estate agent, a lawyer-turned-Divorce Mediator, a psychologist, and one in marketing. Yay, you! This grounds The Block Party’s extravagant lifestyle in some roots of reality. It also made these women more. Women you want to be friends with, many who aren’t awful women, just doing awful things.

In fact, while there are some clear-cut villains running around? Most of Jamie Day’s characters are big lovable lugs who are trying to do the right thing but make many missteps or are worried about what is happening to and around them for valid reasons. The teen in the story is bright, competent, and self-aware. Lettie makes her mistakes but has a good heart.

I love my characters messy and unlikeable (when written well). So, for me to love this story and these characters? That is saying a lot. Also, the character growth throughout the book is tremendous, especially for a psychological thriller.

Lastly, THAT MESSAGE BOARD. It is full of colorful characters and realistically mimics online communities. The interactions are typical of Twitter or Facebook, take your pick from the hateful to the gossipers to those that feel the right of indignation. It also provides another point of view between Alex and her daughter, Lettie.

The Block Party By Jamie Day- Final Thoughts/Audiobook

The audiobook structure and narrators are fantastic. The structure elevates the character-driven plot while Megan Tusing and Suzy Jackson pull out all the stops. Everything is labeled correctly, which is important when switching points of view and timelines.

Take a deep breath, it is still two months before Jamie Day’s The Block Party hits the beaches, pools, and lazy summer days. But…

Fiction

 

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