Cover Image: Late to the Party

Late to the Party

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Member Reviews

I have never read anything by this author but since I love middle grade /YA I thought I would give this a try and I was pleasantly surprised.  I'm fairly new to middle grade and YA and I'm loving it. I'm sure there were books like these when I was a teen (too many years ago to count) but I certainly wasn't reading them.  I don't think my mother would have let me read them had there been any.  

This book takes a look at what life is like for gay/lesbian teens without sexual identity being the only focus of the book.  I thought each teen was portrayed really well along with the struggles of identity, relationships, finding/keeping/losing friends and all the typical teen struggles along with sexual identity, which most people don't have to contend with.

I loved Codi and her tenacity as she learns about herself and those around her. I think all the characters were portrayed realistically with problems that most everyone has gone through in their own teen years.  I loved the growth that most of the characters had and was rooting for a happy ending for all.  

I really enjoyed this book and will read other books by this author in this genre'.
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*I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

This was a cute, honest romp about the struggles of feeling like a part of something while being a teenager. I loved how unabashedly open the main character, Codi, and her two main best friends were with each other about their identities. Codi is tired of being seen as the quiet, artistic person and decides to secretly hang out with a new group of friends in order to try a new version of herself. Codi meets Lydia and is instantly smitten but unsure how to proceed with starting a relationship. This book has a lot of great instances of love and support as well as realistic portrayals of friendship and first love. Bonus points that it's set in my home state. Super cute!
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I enjoyed reading several aspects of this book! The pacing was wonderful, characters were well drawn, and the reading experience on the whole was delightful.
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Thanks Net Galley for the preview!

I liked this book! I enjoyed watching Codi become her own person and have adventures.  I was crushed when her friends found out she had been lying.  When she fought with her brother I thought of my own brother and how  complicated it is to relate to a younger sibling.  The timing of events felt rushed and slow all at once-I understand it was supposed to be one summer but was wishing for more of a snapshot of the relationships at the end! It was a very pleasant read and made me wish I was camping with friends right now enjoying summer!
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Late to the Party is a great story about queer teens. It follows the story of Longtime introvert Codi as she tries new things like partying and going on dates. 

I really enjoyed the book for the most part and it kept me very interested. My only complaints are that the book seemed to glorify cigarettes, having the popular kids smoking them. Additionally, the author made it out to be a bad thing that Codi wasn’t huge into parties. At one point the author says that people should be ashamed to be her friend because she’s never had her first kiss or gotten black out drunk.
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3.5/5

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book was enjoyable. it was a quick read perfect for the summer. I found the representation to be the best part. Almost all of the main characters are either POC or LGBT+, and not shoehorned for the sake of progress. Their identities mattered and yet were not the only focus.

this book is about relationships; about growing apart from ones friends, about crushes, about family, about finding new friends. The dialogue was realistic for most teenagers, and the prose was simple and readable. it just didn’t blow me away. i thought the pacing at the end was rushed and the conclusion came too easily. that being said, i liked reading it.
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Late to the Party is a difficult book for me to rate, I related with the main character so much that all my teenage insecurities came flooding back and I'm not sure if that impacted my overall enjoyment of this novel. However there were also scenes that just annoyed me so sadly this book wouldn't have been a five star read insecurities or not. 
But first let me rave about the things I loved, we've got a very shy, insecure teen girl who's never been to a party before, every year she stays firmly within her comfort zone and never tries new things or goes anywhere she's not familiar with. This Summer she meets a guy who includes her amongst his friends and suddenly she's exploring the world outside of her usual bubble, which includes a potential romance! The slow burn sapphic romance was beautiful, it was written at just the right pace and the right amount of hesitation and optimism, I loved it. Almost the entire cast in this novel are queer, which we love to see but sadly the repeated friendship drama with the main characters original friendship trio was so frustrating to read about again and again. I felt no empathy towards these friends at all and would happily have not read anymore about them, it didn't add to the plot in anyway by repeating arguments. High school or any friendships can be messy but as a reader I couldn't engage with some of the characters in this novel which was a huge shame.
Overall I felt disappointed by this novel, I enjoyed majority of the book as I read it but it's not a book I'd be that fussed on revisiting.
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Wow, this took me back. It really transported me back to how painfully uncomfortable it was to be a teenager, and how messy teenage friendships can be, and I almost felt like this book described my life at that age 1:1.

It was such an intensely relatable experience to grow with and without your friends and to not know who your people are and where you belong, and who you even are in the first place.

I loved how much this focused on friendship over romance, even though I did love the romance as well.
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This took me a little longer to get into than I thought it would and I think it’s because I was really annoyed by the way Maritza & JaKory treated Codi at the beginning so I didn’t get super into it until Codi met Ricky and the story really took off. Overall, I loved this book and I didn’t want to put it down once I got to about chapter 6! 

Codi was a great narrator because of how relatable she is. She was so relatable at times that I really had to think about myself. I loved getting to see Codi through all of the different friendships she had, especially with Lydia, Ricky, & her brother Grant! Everything just wrapped up so well and made me feel so hopeful! 

Definitely 5 stars, would read again! ☺️
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Late to the Party perfectly captures what it feels like to be a late bloomer. This is a coming-of-age novel for queer kids everywhere. It celebrates friendship, first loves, and everything in between. Codi has an incredible friend group who always love and support her, but she still feels like there's something missing. I loved seeing Codi explore making new friends, stepping outside of her comfort zone, and being open to new experiences. Friendship is the main focus of this teen novel but there's also cute romance storylines that teen readers will love. This is a must-read for anyone who feels like their friends are light years ahead of them.
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i was hoping to like this when i requested it, but i loved this so much. it's a new favorite of mine. i wish i could go back in time and give a copy of this book to 16 year old me and told her that it's okay to feel this way

i can't think of a single thing i didn't like about this book. i fell in love with all of the characters while reading this - even every single one of the side characters, and i found so much of myself in Codi. i loved watching her grow throughout this book

this book means more to me than i know how to explain with words, and i'm almost 21 so i can imagine how teenagers are going to love this.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

This was such a reminiscent and relatable story! I’ve been searching for a worthy queer summer read and this was perfect for that! I love that Codi actually grows throughout the book and learns more about herself. She learns that she’s not just the expectations of who everyone thinks she is, she has the control to break out and form her own interests. The new friend group Codi makes is so heartwarming and uplifting. The drama was done well and didn’t feel like it was forced or heavy handed. It was created from very natural tensions between Codi and the relationships she was trying to maintain and they were resolved in such a wholesome and satisfying way. If you’re looking for a fun summer queer romance, with a great friend group, this is the book for you!
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This was such a pleasant and surprising read today!

I ended up diving into this one as my daily work book (I'm starting to run through them in 1-2 days, and this one was a quick, breezy read!) since Quindlen is going to be doing a Q&A for my work and I wanted to have some good questions prepped. I picked it up, settled down with it, and then didn't really move again until I'd finished. Late to the Party is a delightful, real look at what being a teenager is really like, capturing every aspect of the uncertainty and soul-searching that comes along with growing up and growing into yourself. Bonus points all around for this being an Own Voices novel with TONS of queer and nonwhite characters - seriously, representation is endless here, in the best way - and for Quindlen's writing, which easily leads readers through the tangled web of Codi and, truthfully, all our past teen selves' thoughts as teenagers, always feeling a bit out of sync.

Quindlen does a phenomenal job of playing delicately with labels and the way they restrict us in ways I haven't seen before in a YA book. Having queer, diverse characters only further exemplifies her work here, and gives readears - teens and adults alike - a panoramic view on how all these little parts of yourself seem complicated and clashing, but actually just make up you. That's the love song in this novel: your identity is just you, all the little pieces coming together to form something that may seem imperfect and jagged to you (as we are typically our worst critics), but is something loved and appreciated by those in our lives. Because no one is perfect. And yet no one feels that more intensely than our teenagers, who bear perhaps the most heavy label of simply belonging to that age group. Quindlen does a great job explaining that in the first pages of the book, bringing us into Codi's head as she describes having never really grown into that label of teenager. But by the end of it, Codi's friends - new and old - and her brother, Grant show her that the opposite is true. Because the truth of it is that there is no one type of teenager, nor is everyone one shade on a palette. You look at white enough, and you see there's shadows of blue, hints of yellow. (Maybe I'm harping on the art thing because Codi does art... but my point stands!)

I would have loved to have a book like this when I was a teenager. In a lot of ways, I still haven't had a lot of those firsts associated with being a teenager, and I'm twenty-two. That's okay, too. Quindlen does a marvelous job of assuring readers of all ages that yes, they were teenagers, and yes, it's okay if their experience was typical or nontraditional or like Codi's or something completely different. Whenever the day comes that I'm back in my building, and Late to the Party arrives, I can't wait to put it on display for all my tweens and teens to get a hold of. I hope they get to read this story and learn there's nothing wrong with feeling out of place, but - more importantly - that there's nothing wrong with them. Just like Codi, they're all doing just fine being who they are.
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i love love this book! i started and i already felt connected to it. i related to Codi so much and everything that she was going through. it was just so wonderful and i totally see this becoming a new favorite. everyone needs to read this!
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This is a book that I would give to my high school self. I like the characters and the development of friendships. I wish that the main character communicated more but I think her lack of communication shows that she's in high school. This will be an important book to a lot of kids.
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In every stereotypical teen movie, there are multiple milestones that must be reached for the teen protagonist to have reached their full potential. Prominent examples include going to the prom (Pretty In Pink), first love (Perks of Being a Wallflower), and having your first kiss (Never Been Kissed). Kelly Quindlen’s debut in traditional publishing, Late to the Party, tackles what is perhaps the most iconic of all of the teenage tropes - going to a high school party. This heartfelt tale of growing into a new version of yourself while trying to balance elements from the old you is refreshing in today’s overpopulated teen movie environment. Late to the Party not only allows you to show up whenever you want, but welcomes you with your favorite drink and friends you never knew you missed.
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Late to the party was a really fantastic coming of age story about some LGBQTIA+ kids and the struggles to find your identity outside of your closest friends and family.

It’s a really relatable struggle of trying to escape who you were as a kid as you grow up and wrestle with sexuality and so Kelly Quindlen really captures that in this book.

Synopsis: Codi has two best friends from childhood, JaKory and Maritza. Codi is shy and artistic and feels put in a box by her friends. After they try and get her to get out more, she meets some new friends and starts to explore who she is and comes out of her shell. However leaving childhood friends without any explanation because you feel like they are holding you back is going to piss some people off.

This was such a diverse novel and it was really refreshing to see! The characters were complex and I couldn’t decide if I loved them or hated them in all their teenage angst.

My six word review:
Funny, relatable, and full of angst.
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Young Adult Contemporary Realistic Fiction.  The premise of this story appealed to me because it reminded me of the cheesy movies I watched in high school-- the party that changed everything, that moment in time when all the cliques didn't matter, etc.  Codi is starting the summer before senior year the way she starts every summer, with her friends JaKory and Maritza by her side.  After they have a coming out conversation (surprise! one of them is gay, one of them is bi, and one of them is lesbian) they start talking about how to met people and how to have new experiences.  JaKory and Maritza go to a big party but Codi begs off.  She stays home, wondering if she made the right choice, when they call her for a ride home.  And what happens to Codi that night sets the stage for a summer of secrets, independence, and friendship in unexpected places.  

Codi meets a new set of friends, a potential love interest, and finds herself in the center of a new social circle.  Which is exactly what she wanted, but she doesn't want to share this development with her new best friends.  Meanwhile, JaKory and Maritza are having their own summer adventures and romances.  Can the three friends find their way forward together or will this be the summer that breaks them?  

This story kept me reading, I couldn't put it down.  I loved seeing how the characters grew, but also how they questioned that growth.  There were a lot of different relationships in this book, with most of the dating/love relationships being LGBTQ.  Like [book:Reverie|52061964], it made it seem like the straight characters were the exception rather than the norm.

*Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the digital advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This book was a heart wrenching tale of growing up and attempting to find yourself. I have to admit in the first 10% I was considering DNFing this book. I am so glad I didn’t because it was spectacular. It was so hard to read at times though. It’s painful reliving those teenage/high school years when you desperately want to be accepted but you just don’t fit. Codi made sooo many poor choices but I understood where she was coming from with her internal struggles.
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Loved it! Super cute, and with great representation of friendships and family. Also fantastic representation of LGBTQ+ teens, and figuring out of their true selves. Highly recommend!
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