When a house party goes terribly wrong, a suburban town fractures, exposing disturbing truths about the community—perfect for fans of Little Fires Everywhere and Ask Again, Yes.
It’s the party of the year. Afterward, nothing will ever be the same.
Maja Jensen is smart, stylish, and careful, the type of woman who considers every detail when building her dream home in the suburbs of Philadelphia. The perfect house that would compensate for her failure to have a child, the house that was going to save her marriage. But when a group of reckless teenagers trash the newly built home just weeks before she moves in, her plans are shattered.
Those teenagers, two months away from graduating high school, are the “good kids”—the ones on track to go to college and move on to the next stage of their privileged lives. They have grown up in a protected bubble and are accustomed to getting by with just a slap on the wrist. Did they think they could just destroy property without facing punishment? Or was there something deeper, darker, at play that night? As the police close in on a list of suspects, the tight-knit community begins to fray as families attempt to protect themselves.
What should have been the party of the year will have repercussions that will put Maja’s marriage to the ultimate test, jeopardize the futures of those “good kids,” and divide the town over questions of privilege and responsibility.
An absorbing novel told through shifting perspectives, The House Party explores how easily friendships, careers, communities, and marriages can upend when differences in wealth and power are forced to the surface.
About the Author
Rita Cameron received her BA from Columbia University and JD from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in San Jose, California, with her husband and two children. She is the author of Ophelia’s Muse.
“Cameron’s riveting latest explores class and economic divisions in an affluent Philadelphia suburb during the late-2000s housing bubble.… Cameron does a stellar job at demonstrating how easily stereotyping and wealth can influence outcomes, setting a wide lens on the burgeoning housing crisis. A seamless plot and believable characters make for an accomplished sophomore effort. Readers are in for a treat.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Cameron uses the idyllic New Falls setting to explore inequity, access, and loyalty in modern suburbia, giving a voice to the high-schoolers, the homeowners, and the police officers involved in the investigation. Fans of Tom Perrotta and Matthew Norman will appreciate Cameron's keen observational eye, while fans of Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere will welcome the closed-ranks mystery. Cameron's novel acknowledges the privilege we all enjoy in different ways and the strength it takes to do the right thing.” — Booklist (starred review)
“A novel about choices and consequences, compassion, and the limits of forgiveness. It’s also a novel of reparation, and as the 2008 financial collapse looms in the background, there seems to be a particularly poignant hindsight offered: What if, Cameron asks, we could go back and unwork our mistakes, our bad choices, not just as individual humans, but as an entire timeline? … An unflinching look at the dysfunction of a “nice town”; a resonant morality tale.” — Kirkus Reviews
“An exploration of class and privilege, The House Party will keep readers on the edge of their seats.” — Popsugar
“Cameron’s riveting novel explores the far reaching consequences of a high school party gone terribly wrong. The ensuing investigation exposes the fault lines lurking beneath an idyllic suburb. I couldn’t stop turning pages as the police search for truth in a community where everyone has so much to lose. Ultimately it’s a book about understanding what’s really important and the power of forgiveness.” — Tracey Lange, New York Times bestselling author of We Are the Brennans
"The House Party is a darkly delicious page-turner and a gimlet-eyed critique of parenting and privilege in our time. Cameron's intimately portrayed characters inspire our empathy despite their train wrecks and flaws. A thrilling read." — Bruce Holsinger, bestselling author of The Gifted School
“Rita Cameron’s The House Party explores how a night of seemingly innocent fun can lay bare the class and moral fault lines of one tight-knit community. What struck me most about Cameron’s confident and absorbing novel was the empathy she bestows on her characters, making it difficult for the reader to cast blame on some while vindicating others. A fresh take on privilege and entitlement, The House Party is exactly the kind of thought-provoking and highly readable novel I love.” — Amy Meyerson, bestselling author of The Bookshop of Yesterdays
“Does a place shape a person, or is a place shaped by its people? That’s the conundrum at the core of Rita Cameron’s smart, attentive novel. The House Party tugs on all the many interwoven threads of American suburbia—class and consequence, privilege and legacy, hope and the pursuit of happiness—without ever sacrificing read-in-one-sitting propulsion. Cameron has crafted an immersive, kaleidoscopic portrait of a community on the brink.” — Emily Layden, author of All Girls
"Rita Cameron's tale of high schoolers who take a Friday night party much too far muses on divisions of class and opportunity, and on the ease with which violence erupts. Ultimately, The House Party is a hopeful read, showing us a community both driven apart and knit back together by the choices individuals make. A timely message indeed." — Laura McBride, author of We Are Called to Rise and 'Round Midnight (in the Midnight Room)
"Rita Cameron’s exploration of privilege in a Philadelphia suburb tackles difficult questions with enormous empathy, and is sure to keep readers riveted.” — Laura Hankin, author of A Special Place for Women
“Layered and engrossing, The House Party deftly explores the effects of a small-town high school party gone terribly wrong. In the aftermath, once-assured futures become uncertain, differences in privilege are revealed, and loyalties are tested. Rita Cameron writes with mastery—this is a superb novel I couldn’t read fast enough!” — Karen Winn, author of Our Little World