Life of the Party

Seventeen-year-old Mackenzie Taylor can't wait to be free; free from high school, the shadow of her perfect older sister, and her disapproving parents. The rebellious party girl has a perfect accomplice in best friend Riley, a boy from the wrong side of the tracks who scores them drugs, booze and under-age entry into the only club in town. But then everything changes. A traumatized Riley suddenly decides to give up the party life, and a wide-eyed Mackenzie meets Grey Lewis, a broodingly talented, gorgeous older man she falls instantly in love with. Though Riley warns her to stay away, the aspiring rock star's body and ample drug supply are too tempting for her to resist. Previously inseparable, Riley and Mackenzie go their separate ways.

When summer hits, Mackenzie has new friends, a new apartment and new drugs to mask the pain of Riley's absence. And of course, she has Grey. But despite the fierce, consuming passion they share, the mysterious bad-boy always leaves her guessing. Is Grey really a good guy? Or was Riley right about him all along? Mackenzie's in too deep to care. Unable to curb her mounting addictions, before long the lust-for-life teen totally loses control. She forgets Riley, forgets life, forgets everything but Grey and their next hit.

But luckily for Mackenzie...Riley has never forgotten about her.

4.5 STARS out of 5
TITLE: Life of the Party
AUTHOR: Christine Anderson
GENRE: New Adult

I should warn you -- this book is NOT by any means a light YA read. And this isn't your average teen angst novel. This one is so well written -- beautifully dark and emotionally intense. I loved it!

As most of you already know, I don't rave about books which couldn't even hold my attention for the first 100 pages or so. Well, this book is quite long.. but please don't get intimidated. It had me captivated at the very beginning, and ended up being a winner. IMHO, what this book needs is a devoted reader.

Now, I'm just thinking of how to review this book without giving so much away.

Hmm. What first caught my attention was the title -- Life of the Party. That wasn't extraordinary but it's everything I'm not. I enjoy parties, but I don't like the attention. I'm one of those people contented enough to really laugh at another person's jokes, but couldn't bring up a single, original joke to save myself.

I'm a wallflower. Yes, and I'm actually glad to be one. Feels more comforting, I think.

I'm not sure what happened to me. There's no defining moment in my life that separates the good girl I used to be from what I've become. It was like a gradual transformation, and one day I realized that I just didn't care anymore. I started living to please myself instead of everybody else, and realized there's more to life than school and studying and going to college to get a good job and make the most money possible. There's fun, friends... life outside of how we're told to live. Basically, I just started rebelling.

And I've loved every minute of it.

Meet Mackenzie --- the 17-year-old girl with an easy-go-lucky attitude. She's the black sheep of the family. A total bad-ass.. and a virgin. She craves danger and drama like a passion.

I was an all-around good girl during my highschool years that Mac was the perfect person I imagined to be, if I did want to suck up and throw my life away during those years.

Mac smokes and parties a lot. Oh, she loves being high too, courtesy of her bestfriend Riley. Though in fairness to the latter, he takes care of Mac even though he's the one providing her with drugs.  Even from the start, I could tell Riley has feelings for Mac. Although it was hinted that they made out, Mac was too high to even remember. Dang Riley! I feel you man.

Then we meet Grey (Of all the sexy names in this world, why author, why??), the singer of the Serpentine band and Mac's instant dream guy. He also works with Riley at some restaurant. He's like Kellan Kyle from Thoughtless, only a bit hotter.

And this, my friends, is NOT an instalove story, which I'm totally grateful for. Nothing else screams ho-hum like two people making out at the first few chapters. Mac has to grovel for Grey's attention. It's awkward but really fun to read. I was hooked.

I chuckled mostly at the beginning. I especially liked the mushroom part where Mac prayed for Riley. It was hilarious.

Then it stopped being funny, and started being heartbreaking instead. Life changed for Riley and Mac, and from then on, I felt a bit empty. Of course, I'm rooting for Grey and Mac, but I don't want Riley out of the picture. I know, I'm such a selfish person.

It was pretty hard not to wallow in self-pity. In the matter of a few short weeks I had managed to lose all my friends and get a broken heart in the process.

Ring a bell? I suddenly couldn't help but think that it's really easy to get carried away with a new guy.

And to think that Grey isn't your usual womanizer. He just doesn't do relationships. Period. And with Mac, everything seemed hot and cold. I was frustrated most of the time, as evidenced by the updates below.  But somehow I understood and actually craved for that flaw in their relationship. Gah, at first, I don't even know what to call with what's going on between them. There are a lot of ups and downs, but they are really captivating that you almost wouldn't notice you just went through a hell of a rollercoaster ride.

Then a BIG twist happened; and I was sobbing like crazy. WOW. This book was so intense to the core. It pulled a myriad of emotions out of me that I felt utterly depleted the moment I'm done reading.

I'm giving this book 4.5 STARS! Which is actually a first for me.

Now I understand why people sometimes give a half-star rating. This book sends a powerful message about drug addiction, but I didn't like some events that transpired after the said twist. They were realistic and some people may like it, but I honestly don't. I know it's Mac's journey to positivity but it's just too full of everyday whatnots that I thought the book might be better off without the detailed aftermath.

Please don't get me wrong though, because I don't regret picking up this book ever. I've been absolutely floored by the epilogue. Life of the Party is a gripping tale about friendship, love, loss, self-destruction and the beauty of second chances; and one of the most emotional reads I've had recently.

If I have the strength to leave,
It'd be the greatest gift that I could give.
The greatest gift that I can give,
I want you to truly live.

-as seen on Mac's diary