Friday, June 16, 2023

June Read: The Block Party by Jamie Day


Fresh off a few feel-good novels, I needed a break in genres so I dove into The Block Party. It kept me tied to my iPad for a few days, and the build up to the end had me skipping my lunch so I could finish it. 

The narrators are two: Alex and her teen daughter Lettie. They live on Alton Road in Meadowbrook, MA. Alex has a drinking problem--she hits the wine pretty hard every day (and night), while mourning the creeping distance between herself and Lettie. Lettie is the typical teen--full of angst, anger, and wrestling with her desire to go to college out of state vs. her Dad, Nick, wanting her to go to school in state. It's a huge issue and has caused her to pull away from her parents. 

There are plenty of other folks on Alton Road, and they've all got issues, too. Emily is Alex's sister and her husband Ken is a boaster of the highest order; praising his eldest son while putting down his second son. Widow Brooke is beautiful and sexy, with the rumor mill saying she killed her husband on a cruise. And Willow is unhappily married to Evan but feels trapped. 

It's Memorial Day and the annual Aton Road get together is underway. We hear from a Meadowbrook Facebook page that there's been a shooting, and someone may be dead. But who and why? 

The story moves back to the year previously, and the story moves through the year, building the tension to the Memorial Day party that starts the story. In this year, we see all of the characters and the issues unfolding; plenty of motives for revenge, lots of family issues and marital issues--wow. Relationships that are complicated. This is what kept me reading, even though I felt the novel was a bit long. I had to keep reading to get to the present day Memorial party, where everything came to a head. 

Revenge is a major theme in this novel; making assumptions based on what you see rather than asking for the truth. Neighbors watching neighbors. 

I enjoyed the suspense and can't say I got the warm fuzzies for any of the characters. Not a street I'd like to live on!

Rating: 3/6 for an entertaining domestic thriller that builds in suspense with plenty of characters with motive for murder. It's a bit of a YA novel from Lettie's point of view, but also a tense look at adult motives for revenge and the lengths people will go to get even. 

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audio. A big thank you to Edelweiss for the ARC!

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