Some of her books are absolutely hilarious (my favorites are Can You Keep a Secret? and I’ve Got Your Number and The Undomestic Goddess) and some of them – especially some of her recent ones – have fallen pretty flat for me.
The last time one of her books truly charmed me was about five books ago, so I wasn’t holding my breath that The Party Crasher would be a winner for me.
And then it CHARMED me.
I felt like it had the old spark of her earlier books – sweet relationships, snappy dialogue, and a little bit of the absurd that makes her books extra fun.
I read it in 24 hours and kept laughing out loud during it (and also got a little teary during some of it – I love a book that can do both!).
The Party Crasher by Sophie Kinsella
The book begins with a family holiday party at Effie’s childhood home. Things seem slightly off and then her dad and stepmom (who is the only mother Effie has ever known, since her own mother died shortly after Effie was born) announce they are divorcing.
After that intro chapter, the story skips ahead about two years. Effie is still devastated by her parents’ divorce and her relationship with her father has now dwindled to almost nothing, thanks to his awful new (and young and attractive) girlfriend, Krista.
And just when Effie thinks things couldn’t get worse, she finds out that her dad and Krista have sold Greenoaks, the beloved Victorian home she grew up in and loves with all her heart.
Krista is throwing a “house cooling” party to gather old friends and family at the house for one last hurrah and Effie is mysteriously not invited (although it’s no mystery to Effie who left her off the guest list).
She doesn’t want to go ANYWAY, but then at the last moment remembers that her beloved set of dolls are still in hidden in the house and if she ever wants to see them again, she’ll have to go back to Greenoaks.
But she’s certainly not going to attend the party – no, in typical Sophie Kinsella fashion, Effie decides she’ll sneak in, James Bond-style, during the party, retrieve her dolls and dash back out, without giving Krista the satisfaction of seeing her attend the party.
Of course, sneaking around in the bushes, hiding in the coat closet and crawling through attic passageways means she hears and sees things she wasn’t intended to know about. What secrets are her dad, her sister and her brother keeping from her and each other?
The other tricky thing?
Her ex-boyfriend, her childhood sweetheart, the breaker of her heart with no explanation four years earlier, Joe, is invited to the party and she might need to recruit him to help her locate her dolls and keep her family from seeing her.
There were so many laugh-out-loud moments in this book and the dialogue was just as good as some of her other books.
I mentioned in my review of her book, I Owe You One, that it felt kind of messy, with too many storylines, too many characters, and too much plot jammed into one book. This one didn’t feel that way at all. You had a great cast of characters, but not so many that you couldn’t get to know and love most of them and see them as whole people, rather than just stand-ins.
If you need something light-hearted and funny, The Party Crasher is definitely a winner.