Life of the Party
Star Rating: 4 Stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Mackenzie Taylor can't wait to be free; free from high school, the shadow of her perfect older sister, and her disapproving parents. The rebellious party girl has a perfect accomplice in best friend Riley, a boy from the wrong side of the tracks who scores them drugs, booze and under-age entry into the only club in town. But then everything changes. A traumatized Riley suddenly decides to give up the party life, and a wide-eyed Mackenzie meets Grey Lewis, a broodingly talented, gorgeous older man she falls instantly in love with. Though Riley warns her to stay away, the aspiring rock star's body and ample drug supply are too tempting for her to resist. Previously inseparable, Riley and Mackenzie go their separate ways.
When summer hits, Mackenzie has new friends, a new apartment and new drugs to mask the pain of Riley's absence. And of course, she has Grey. But despite the fierce, consuming passion they share, the mysterious bad-boy always leaves her guessing. Is Grey really a good guy? Or was Riley right about him all along? Mackenzie's in too deep to care. Unable to curb her mounting addictions, before long the lust-for-life teen totally loses control. She forgets Riley, forgets life, forgets everything but Grey and their next hit.
But luckily for Mackenzie...Riley has never forgotten about her.
I really got into this book. Um, can I say the story's addicting? LOL The book is well-written. The characters are real, believable, and like-able. You are caught in the life of Mackenzie, feel her pain and confusion, understand her angst, dismayed as you watch her life spiral out of control. You want everything to work out for all of the characters, because you *like* all of the characters.
The ending is a twisted shocker, one that I didn't see coming. It's so real to life, though, it could hardly be unexpected...but it was. Books don't usually show the grit and the dirt and the underbelly of human emotion and addiction, and life isn't always happily ever after for everyone. And that's not how this book pans out. And that's what makes the story so believable.
What I didn't like so much? It was long. There are points along the way where I thought would have been a good place to end. Thinking back on it, however, I can't honestly say what I would have done differently to shorten it, because all of the moving pieces are essential for the ending, but there were chunks in the middle that probably could have tossed or shortened without losing the integrity of the over-all story. Moral here? It's not a quick read. Expect to spend a good amount of time to get through (and I'm not saying that's a bad thing either!)
The end got a little preachy for me. I understand the life-changing event for Mackenzie, and I understand what motivated her to change. I don't fault that. What I did fault was the pages of recited scripture; I felt like I was reading a sermon rather than a work of fiction. It took me out of the story, and seemed more like the author's platform rather than a part of the story. I don't fault religious platforms...if I'm expecting it. There is a whole Christian market out there, and I especially recommend this book to that audience. People might expect to hit upon scripture if the book is marketed as Christian fiction (I'm not sure it was), and to that audience that's probably expected and relevant. Not sure how the secular readers will respond to it.
With that being said, I highly recommend this book.