The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud - because it is long past time to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.
Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.
And Kit has a couple secrets of her own - including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.
By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.
June's parents owned a small restaurant in Malibu in the 1950s. They plan on having her eventually take it over but she has bigger dreams. She is swept off her feet when she meets Mick, an aspiring singer, who promises her he'll take her away from the restaurant and give her the life she's always dreamed of, which includes a house with a bathroom with double sinks. They get married, start having children and Mick's singing career takes off. Alas, Mick isn't faithful and the marriage breaks up. But Mick realizes what he missed and June takes him back and they get married again. Not surprising, Mick wanders off again and ignores his family. This leaves June having to go back to working in the hated restaurant so she can support her four children.
Jump ahead and it's 1983 and June's children are now adults. Nina, the oldest, is now a model and rich. Years ago, she started throwing an end of the summer party that has gotten bigger and grander over the years as her popularity grew. Anyone who knows about the party is invited ... it's a mix of the famous and the non-famous. She's not really in the mood to host the party because her husband recently left her for another woman. Her brother, Jay, is doing all he can to ensure the girl he has his eye on attends the party. Hud, another brother, is keeping a secret ... he's been dating and is in love with Jay's ex-girlfriend and he knows Jay isn't going to be too happy about that. Kit, the youngest sister, is still trying to figure out who she is.
I thought this book was just okay, I wasn't crazy about it. It's written in third person perspective with the focus on wherever the action was. It jumps back and forth in time with June's story and then back to her children's story the day and night of the party in 1983. As a head's up, there is swearing and drug use.
There were so many people at the party (which a big part of the book) that I had a hard time keeping track who was who ... I wondered why they were even mentioned and why should I care. There was a lot of detail given about them when they didn't have any impact on the storyline. Like the guy who brought a couple bricks of cocaine to the party and shared it with everyone including a waitress. Or the woman who was heading back home to some small town to get married (she was settling) and wanted one last crazy fling and her goal was to get naked in the hot tub and make out with two guys at the same time. Huh!? I didn't need all these details to know that the party was crazy and out of control. A general sentence of two would have suffice ... in this case, tell me rather than show me would have been okay.
I wasn't crazy about June or Mick and thought their characters were a bit extreme. June was a doormat who kept waiting for Mick to come back and Mick was a slimy dog who abandoned his family. I didn't really feel anything for the main characters.