This year has thrown many curveballs at us, but the one thing many people are missing—especially during the holiday season—is the chance to gather together for end-of-year parties. While we can’t all raise a toast in person to the New Year or attend a rocking New Year’s Eve soiree, we can at least turn to fiction for an invite to some of literature’s greatest parties.
9 Fictional Parties Brimming with Joy and Drama
Mega-yachts, personal stylists, and, of course, private parties are at the center of Lauren Weisberger’s THE SINGLES GAME, so this is an excellent choice to live vicariously through. Weisberger is well-known for her book THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, featuring the glamour of the fashion industry, and in THE SINGLES GAME, Weisberger tells a similar rags-to-riches story of America’s sweetheart, Charlotte “Charlie” Silver as she navigates a total image makeover. Bye-bye America’s sweetheart, hello Bad Girl Charlie. Amid the crowds of Hollywood elite, Charlie will have to decide if the price of fame is worth it.
Read with a Cosmo
THE SINGLES GAME is a dishy tell-all novel about Charlotte, a beautiful tennis prodigy who is suddenly thrust into a very glamorous world—one where copious cosmos are surely available. But as she starts to make headlines in her new life of celebrity stylists, private parties, mega-yachts, and secret dates with Hollywood royalty, Charlotte has to decide how much she is willing to change in order to reach her goals on the court.
When Laila Lawrence finds out she has a whole side of her family she didn’t know about—and, oh yeah, they’re living the lifestyle of the rich and famous—she trades in her Michigan roots to join her glamorous cousins in New York City. In this familial take on keeping up with the Joneses, Laila finds herself torn between building a connection with her long-lost family and living it up in the decadent lifestyle she feels she was denied. As we know, all that glitters isn’t gold, but Laila still finds herself entranced by the seductive world she encounters—and readers will definitely be spellbound by the glitz Laila encounters too.
Can a list featuring glamorous parties really exist without including one of the most iconic fictional parties of all time? So iconic that many parties to this day are called “Gatsby Parties”—complete with opulent decorations, over-the-top dresses, and lots and lots of cocktails. In THE GREAT GATSBY, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jay Gatsby throws opulent, elaborate parties every Saturday night. It’s the invite everyone wishes they could get, and our young narrator, Nick Carraway, is as blown away as the reader by the luxury he finds at Gatsby’s house. If you find yourself feeling lonely this New Year’s Eve—live and love it up with Gatsby and the gang.
Some consider it “the great American novel.” The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his powerful love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan is an exquisitely crafted tale that has been essential reading since it was published.
Read the full review here.
Fans of Erin Morgenstern’s NIGHT CIRCUS will find her second full-length novel, THE STARLESS SEA, a welcome treat. The first 100 pages set the stage for a life-changing series of events that will alter Zachary’s life, starting at a literary party at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City. The dress code: “Formal, literary costumes encouraged, masks required.” The party is complete with book-themed decorations, cocktails inspired by literary all-stars like Hemingway, and costumes that every bibliophile would envy.
MRS. DALLOWAY, like THE GREAT GATSBY, is a book that you may have read in high school English class, and this time of year is a great time to revisit it. MRS. DALLOWAY follows the titular Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares for a party she will be hosting. Mrs. Dalloway is a member of London’s high society, but she’s self-conscious about her role within it so—as with many London ladies—throwing a party is a chance for her to make her mark. But she spends much of the day leading up to the party reminiscing about characters from her past in a stream-of-consciousness style that covers a lot of ground. In the end, many of the characters from her memories make appearances at the party, so, unlike at many real-life soirees, you’ll have a chance to get to know a lot of the attendees before the big event!
Unlike some of the other entries on this list, the exciting thing about the festive neighborhood party in Lisa Jewell’s THE GIRLS IN THE GARDEN isn’t so much the glitz and the glamour; it’s the fact that it becomes the scene of a crime! Following in the tradition of many a mystery novel, every guest at the neighborhood party becomes a suspect soon after preteen Pip finds her sister bloody and unconscious in the rose garden. The memory of the party soon falls to the background as Pip and her family seek the truth.
One of People’s, Glamour’s, and Buzzfeed's Best Reads of Summer, from the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone
“Jewell expertly builds suspense by piling up domestic misunderstandings and more plot twists than an SVU episode. It’s a page-turner for readers who like beach reads on the dark side.” —People
“Faithful to the thriller genre, Jewell makes liberal use of red herrings and plot twists… The answer to the whodunit is a sly—and satisfying—surprise.” —The New York Times
“Full of suspense yet emotionally grounded…Fans of Liane Moriarty, Paula Hawkins, and Carla Buckley will adore this peek inside a gated community that truly takes care of its own, no matter the consequences." —Booklist (starred review)
Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbors for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really?
On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?
Taylor Jenkins Reid brings the old Hollywood glamour of an aging starlet to life in THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO. Evelyn Hugo has experienced a lot in her years as a Hollywood star, and in the decades that have passed since then. Each section of the novel recounts a husband from Evelyn’s past, and with each husband comes many parties that Evelyn attended with him. While some of the sections may leave you feeling a little more melancholy, by the end there’s plenty of glitz to distract you as Evelyn revisits her wild life.
If you’re a resident of Brooklyn—or any of New York’s five boroughs—you are no stranger to the city’s block parties. And in Cecily von Ziegesar’s latest novel, you’re transported into one of those neighborhood block parties in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill and invited into the lives of four married couples and their children. Von Ziegesar rose to fame for her Gossip Girl series and you can see that influence in this book too. While COBBLE HILL has fewer scandals than were found among the Upper East Side elite of the Gossip Girl books, it still manages to highlight scenes dealing with many failings and perceived triumphs, and that feels as equally uniquely New York as any party from Gossip Girl—plus it has the benefit of not requiring a VIP pass.
“Best Novels of Fall 2020” —Vogue
“Most Anticipated List for Fall 2020” —Parade
“Best of Fall 2020” —PopSugar
“Best Books of 2020” —Marie Claire
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Gossip Girl series, a deliciously irresistible novel chronicling a year in the life of four families in an upscale Brooklyn neighborhood as they seek purpose, community, and meaningful relationships—until one unforgettable night at a raucous neighborhood party knocks them to their senses.
Welcome to Cobble Hill.
In this eclectic Brooklyn neighborhood, private storms brew amongst four married couples and their children. There’s ex-groupie Mandy, so underwhelmed by motherhood and her current physical state that she fakes a debilitating disease to get the attention of her skateboarding, ex-boyband member husband Stuart. There’s the unconventional new school nurse, Peaches, on whom Stuart has an unrequited crush, and her disappointing husband Greg, who wears noise-cancelling headphones—everywhere.
A few blocks away, Roy, a well-known, newly transplanted British novelist, has lost the thread of his next novel and his marriage to capable, indefatigable Wendy. Around the corner, Tupper, the nervous, introverted industrial designer with a warehose full of prosthetic limbs struggles to pin down his elusive artist wife Elizabeth. She remains…elusive. Throw in two hormonal teenagers, a ten-year-old pyromaniac, a drug dealer pretending to be a doctor, and a lot of hidden cameras, and you’ve got a combustible mix of egos, desires, and secrets bubbling in brownstone Brooklyn.
Smart, sophisticated, yet surprisingly tender, Cobble Hill is highly entertaining portrait of contemporary family life and the colorful characters who call Brooklyn home.
The Pirriwee Public School community is at the center of Liane Moriarty's BIG LITTLE LIES. Throughout the novel, readers get glimpses of the culminating event—the school's Audrey Hepburn-and-Elvis-themed trivia night fundraiser. While the fundraiser ends up being the scene of a less than celebratory event, Moriarty perfectly describes the fun and crazy costumes each of the characters wears. If you're looking for a theme for your next Zoom party or when we can have in-person gatherings again, be sure to bookmark this Audrey and Elvis party for inspiration. Or live vicariously through them this New Year’s Eve by picking up a copy of the book.