Late to the Party
Seventeen is nothing like Codi Teller imagined.She’s never crashed a party, never stayed out too late. She’s never even been kissed. And it’s not just because she’s gay. It’s because she and her two best friends, Maritza and JaKory, spend more time in her basement watching Netflix than engaging with the outside world.So when Maritza and JaKory suggest crashing a party, Codi is highly skeptical. Those parties aren’t for kids like them. They’re for cool kids. Straight kids.But then Codi stumbles upon one of those cool kids, Ricky, kissing another boy in the dark, and an unexpected friendship is formed. In return for never talking about that kiss, Ricky takes Codi under his wing and draws her into a wild summer filled with late nights, new experiences, and one really cute girl named Lydia.The only problem? Codi never tells Maritza or JaKory about any of it.From author Kelly Quindlen comes a poignant and deeply relatable story about friendship, self-acceptance, what it means to be a Real Teenager. Late to the Party is an ode to late bloomers and wallflowers everywhere.

Late to the Party Details

TitleLate to the Party
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 21st, 2020
PublisherRoaring Brook Press
ISBN-139781250209139
Rating
GenreContemporary, LGBT, Young Adult, GLBT, Queer, Romance, Fiction, Young Adult Contemporary, High School, Realistic Fiction, Coming Of Age

Late to the Party Review

  • anna (½ of readsrainbow)
    January 1, 1970
    the mlm/wlw solidarity we need & deserve
  • Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
    January 1, 1970
    I have... complicated thoughts on this one. I wanted to love this *so* bad, but something about the writing style kept me from connecting fully to the characters. It's especially frustrating because I can't even put my finger on exactly what didn't work for me. All I know is that it didn't and I am big sad :( I definitely don't think this was a bad book, but it just wasn't quite a me book.
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  • - ̗̀ jess ̖́-
    January 1, 1970
    When I picked up this book, I was not expecting it to make me ache for things I've never done, friends I've never had, and a teenagerhood I never got. Late to the Party is a great queer coming-of-age about self-discovery and friendship and experiencing all the firsts of life. I could relate SO MUCH to Codi, and I found her such a wonderful narrator. She's a typical wallflowershy and nervous to talk to people, and it was so wonderful to see her open up. I saw so much of myself in her. I have When I picked up this book, I was not expecting it to make me ache for things I've never done, friends I've never had, and a teenagerhood I never got. Late to the Party is a great queer coming-of-age about self-discovery and friendship and experiencing all the firsts of life. 

I could relate SO MUCH to Codi, and I found her such a wonderful narrator. She's a typical wallflower—shy and nervous to talk to people, and it was so wonderful to see her open up. I saw so much of myself in her. I have fairly severe social anxiety, and even though Codi doesn't I loved seeing her challenge that and fight through it so she could make friends. To brave rejection and terror with the chance of trying new things. It was so inspiring; I loved reading about her character growth. I fell in love with all the side characters, too. Ricky and Codi's friendship was everything to me; peak mlm/wlw solidarity, and I loved it. This book showed a side of the Cool Kids and the Losers that wasn't stereotypical, that blended the two groups together and showed that they weren't so different after all. I also loved how delightfully queer this book was—and how it's about finding yourself while being queer, not finding that you're queer. This is distinctly coming-of-age, and there is coming-out, but the book isn't about coming-out-as-queer as much as it is about emerging as your own person. The friendships are real, tumultuous but caring, and the relationships felt so raw in every way, and it was wholly good. This book is an ode to late bloomers. I had my own whirlwind summer just last year, at twenty-one and eleven-twelfths—the first time I'd ever been out dancing at a club, the first time I sat around with a group of people my own age just hanging out, and getting to be someone new. I had to move past my fear of change yet my deep yearning to grow in order to have those experiences. Like Codi, I launched myself out of my comfort zone and found I hated being comfortable. I get this book. I get this book so much. It made me ache for that summer, to get that feeling of freedom and infinity back. I would definitely recommend Late to the Party to fans of Alice Oseman's Radio Silence; it has similar vibes. It's a contemporary that's full of nostalgia and what it's like to be young and feel like the world is infinite, and I really loved this book. content warnings | drug and alcohol use
representation | lesbian mc, bisexual panamanian major character, two gay black major characters, bisexual side characters
Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Madalyn (Novel Ink)
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this so so much!
  • Dahlia
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this a lot, and blurbed it!"A deeply heartfelt and emotionally honest celebration of late bloomers, queer solidarity, and friendships both old and new. This book has a permanent place in my heart." Dahlia Adler, author of Under the LightsSeriously, its handling of friendship and late bloomer-dom and especially in connection with coming out is done so, so well, and the romance is afreakingdorable and it's just. So good. SO GOOD. I loved this a lot, and blurbed it!"A deeply heartfelt and emotionally honest celebration of late bloomers, queer solidarity, and friendships both old and new. This book has a permanent place in my heart." ―Dahlia Adler, author of Under the LightsSeriously, its handling of friendship and late bloomer-dom and especially in connection with coming out is done so, so well, and the romance is afreakingdorable and it's just. So good. SO GOOD.
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  • . (not active on this account stop adding me)
    January 1, 1970
    author redemption!!! (her name in the sky is one of my least favourite books ever, but i loved this). i'm too exhausted to write a review now but: i would've given this 5 stars if there weren't constant, cringe popular culture/fandom/gen z references. it almost felt like it was written for me since it was so eerily similar to my own experiences and feelings in high school. ANYWAY, proper review to come soon!rep: lesbian mc, wlw li, gay side character (with a mlm li), bisexual Panamanian side author redemption!!! (her name in the sky is one of my least favourite books ever, but i loved this). i'm too exhausted to write a review now but: i would've given this 5 stars if there weren't constant, cringe popular culture/fandom/gen z references. it almost felt like it was written for me since it was so eerily similar to my own experiences and feelings in high school. ANYWAY, proper review to come soon!rep: lesbian mc, wlw li, gay side character (with a mlm li), bisexual Panamanian side character (with a wlw li), gay black side character (with a mlm li)
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  • ila ✨
    January 1, 1970
    [actual rating: 5 stars] Kelly Quindlen has done it again. it's really difficult for me to put into words how much this book both her books, really, because her debut novel, Her Name in the Sky, is one of my favourite books of all time means to me, and so i've been trying to write this review for two-three weeks and trying to come to terms with the fact that my words won't be able to do it any justice. Late to the Party is very different from her debut for those who are not familiar with it [actual rating: 5 stars] Kelly Quindlen has done it again. it's really difficult for me to put into words how much this book – both her books, really, because her debut novel, Her Name in the Sky, is one of my favourite books of all time – means to me, and so i've been trying to write this review for two-three weeks and trying to come to terms with the fact that my words won't be able to do it any justice. Late to the Party is very different from her debut – for those who are not familiar with it (please, check it out! it's a f/f best-friends-to-lovers, coming-of-age story with a happy ending), HNITS mostly deals with themes such as the relationship between religion (Christianity/Catholicism) and sexuality, homophobia (both external and internalised) and bullying. well, i didn't know what to expect from her second novel, but, while LTTP is also a coming-of-age story, the tone here is completely different: this is a book about growing up, making new friends, falling in love for the first time, and figuring out who you really are. this is my absolute favourite kind of YA contemporary. it's definitely sweeter and more lighthearted than HNITS (and i, personally, also found it more relatable), & i loved a lot of things about it: the relationship between the main character, Codi, and her younger brother, Grant; Codi's friendship with Ricky; Ricky as a character; how sweet and caring the love interest, Lydia, is. the characters in this book are all great (which i found incredibly refreshing). i'm also in love with Kelly Quindlen's writing style; she's one of those "could write a shopping list and i'd buy it and then give it five stars" kind of authors for me. i don't know what else to add, except that i loved it and it made me really happy. thoroughly recommended :)
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  • ✨Brithanie Faith✨
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐.5 ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. When I decided to pick up Late To The Party earlier this month I had no idea that I was going to find a part of myself on page, but that's exactly what happened. This brought back a lot of the old feelings that I had throughout high school. The feelings of wanting to fit in while remaining true to oneself- and discovering who you want to be and what's important to you. I think a lot of people are going to relate to 3.5/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐.5 ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. When I decided to pick up Late To The Party earlier this month I had no idea that I was going to find a part of myself on page, but that's exactly what happened. This brought back a lot of the old feelings that I had throughout high school. The feelings of wanting to fit in while remaining true to oneself- and discovering who you want to be and what's important to you. I think a lot of people are going to relate to this book in one way or another. That being said- I didn't connect with the writing- though you may of course feel differently, and the ending just didn't do it for me. Overall- this was a quick, relatively light read that I can see a lot of people wanting to sink their teeth into this Spring/Summer.
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  • rae ✌️
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars.this book basically just crashed though my door and went HEY REMEMBER ALL OF THAT INSECURITY YOU HAD IN HIGH SCHOOL? HOW ABOUT I BRING IT BACK. rude.full rtc!
  • AJ
    January 1, 1970
    I was super excited for this book but honestly, I couldn't have anticipated just how much I would enjoy this! This is a wonderful coming-of-age story that really focuses on all the nuances and complications of friendships. It has a wonderfully sweet sapphic romance, and everything about it - from the way it develops and the obstacles in it - is just so perfect.I loved the main character, and I could definitely relate to her. She has always been the type of person who has a comfort zone and is I was super excited for this book but honestly, I couldn't have anticipated just how much I would enjoy this! This is a wonderful coming-of-age story that really focuses on all the nuances and complications of friendships. It has a wonderfully sweet sapphic romance, and everything about it - from the way it develops and the obstacles in it - is just so perfect.I loved the main character, and I could definitely relate to her. She has always been the type of person who has a comfort zone and is happy to spend her days hanging out with her two best friends - people she has known her whole lives - than anything else. Her fears and anxieties are palpably real, as is the awkwardness that ensues as she tries to break out of her shell and make new friends. Like...this book is so awkward at some many times but the awkwardness is so well-written and feels so real. This is also such a summer-y novel. It features parties where nothing much happens other than hanging out with friends, late night drives, a camping trip with skinny dipping, treehouses...so many other things you would associate with the summer (I mean, not my summer but definitely some people's summers, ha). It was such a feel-good read and it was honestly difficult to put down the book! I highly recommend this book to everyone, but especially to fans of Sandhya Menon (low-stakes romance), Nina LaCour (quiet, contemplative books), and Amy Spalding (sweet, summer reads).
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  • rachel ☾
    January 1, 1970
    ◯ Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog Goodreads Twitter Instagram ◯ Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Goodreads • Twitter • Instagram
  • Neville Longbottom
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 - There are a lot of funny, cute, and heartwarming moments in this book about Codi learning to become her own person away from her best friends and maybe find a girlfriend so she can have her first kiss. This is a book full of classic YA summer shenanigans and for the most part its a lot of fun. I did have some trouble keeping up with how much time was passing in the story. Things would either seem too rushed or extremely drawn out. I connected with Codi a lot, but a lot of the people in her 3.5 - There are a lot of funny, cute, and heartwarming moments in this book about Codi learning to become her own person away from her best friends… and maybe find a girlfriend so she can have her first kiss. This is a book full of classic YA summer shenanigans and for the most part it’s a lot of fun. I did have some trouble keeping up with how much time was passing in the story. Things would either seem too rushed or extremely drawn out. I connected with Codi a lot, but a lot of the people in her new group of friends blended together in my mind. This book has a lot of positive attributes, but unfortunately I wasn’t absolutely in love with it. I think it’s still a totally enjoyable read. Especially for people looking for a diverse YA summer contemporary.
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  • Samantha (WLABB)
    January 1, 1970
    This summer Codi was feeling restless. She was thinking about all the things she had never done, and was itching to gather some new experiences. Though she wholeheartedly loved her two best friends, she felt boxed in by their perception of her, and began keeping secrets from them. Was this the end of a long and storied friendship or would her best friends accept that she was evolving? Pro: It's so normal to feel like you are outgrowing your life, and I thought Quindlen did an incredible job This summer Codi was feeling restless. She was thinking about all the things she had never done, and was itching to gather some new experiences. Though she wholeheartedly loved her two best friends, she felt boxed in by their perception of her, and began keeping secrets from them. Was this the end of a long and storied friendship or would her best friends accept that she was evolving?• Pro: It's so normal to feel like you are outgrowing your life, and I thought Quindlen did an incredible job exploring the idea. She also deftly brought me into Codi's head, and I had a good understanding of the whys, as well as the emotions she was experiencing. • Pro: The friendship between Codi and Ricky was so unexpected and so wonderful. They had such a symbiotic relationship. They each gave in equal amounts to one another, and I was happy to see them growing together. • Pro: Codi had been missing the close bond she once shared with her brother, and it warmed my heart to see them renew that bond. When they finally broke down and had that heart to heart, they realized they were harboring quite a few misconceptions about the other, which were so easily dispelled via open and honest communication. • Pro: Though it was great to see Codi experiencing so many new things, and feeling like she found her people, she was sometimes inconsiderate. It was good that she was called out on this behavior, but even better that she learned from and atoned for it. • Pro: The schism between the trio was somewhat painful, but it seemed like such an important part of their journey. It was a cataclysmic event, which ignited their personal evolution, and I think all three emerged a better version of themselves. • Pro: I can't even tell you how much I smiled as I got to observe those early stirrings of like and attraction between Codi and her love interest, and I was miles of smiles, when they finally got together. Overall: A journey of self-discovery, which was heartwarming, fun, honest, and oh-so-messy.*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS
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  • Gabrielle
    January 1, 1970
    GAY. GAY. GAY. This book is 100% certified GAY. Codis and Rickys blooming friendship is so wholesome and beautiful! When he tells her Ill take care of you, I almost started crying. With Ricky by her side, Codi starts to break out of her shell and discovers that you can have multiple versions of yourself. She also learns how to shot gun a beer and meet new people. It was amazing to watch her grow and navigate these new feelings. Her friendship with Ricky is contrasted by her friendship with GAY. GAY. GAY. This book is 100% certified GAY. Codi’s and Ricky’s blooming friendship is so wholesome and beautiful! When he tells her “I’ll take care of you,” I almost started crying. With Ricky by her side, Codi starts to break out of her shell and discovers that you can have multiple versions of yourself. She also learns how to shot gun a beer and meet new people. It was amazing to watch her grow and navigate these new feelings. Her friendship with Ricky is contrasted by her friendship with Maritza and JaKory. Tired of being wallflowers/late bloomers, they want to go to parties and find their romantic partners. However, at first Codi is content with hiding in her comfort zone and watching movies with them like they always do. The group starts to crack because they are all changing and what first brought them to each other is no longer holding them together. Maritza is easily defensive about her dating life and JaKory has fallen head over heels for a boy he met on Tumblr. The three of them are constantly lashing out and like please just have a heart-to-heart talk! I know that Codi wants to keep the Ricky part of her life to herself, but I still didn’t like that she was lying to her friends about it.Codi and Lydia? Wow Portrait of a Lady on Fire vibes. They had me crying at their cuteness. (view spoiler)[ ONE BED trope? Don’t mind if I do! (hide spoiler)]Notes:- Maritza is Panamanian and bisexual.- JaKory is Black and gay.- Codi is gay.- Ricky is Black and gay.- Lydia is gay.- Vivian is Asian and likes girls.
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  • Andria
    January 1, 1970
    Like all the best YA, this takes the adult reader back to their teen years and makes them really feel what it's like to be that age and struggling to define yourself and make your way in the world -- the sense of having infinite possibilities open to you but not knowing exactly what your path is.The characters are well-drawn, authentic, unabashedly queer, and relatable - even to this cis/het old lady - and contemporary teens will see themselves in these characters even more than I did. Give this Like all the best YA, this takes the adult reader back to their teen years and makes them really feel what it's like to be that age and struggling to define yourself and make your way in the world -- the sense of having infinite possibilities open to you but not knowing exactly what your path is.The characters are well-drawn, authentic, unabashedly queer, and relatable - even to this cis/het old lady - and contemporary teens will see themselves in these characters even more than I did. Give this to fans of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera.
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  • Meryl Wilsner
    January 1, 1970
    I am completely obsessed with this book and will not stop yelling about it. It's quiet, but the stakes feel like the world's ending, because what doesn't when you're a teenager? I love these messy imperfect queer teens
  • Adrienne Tooley
    January 1, 1970
    I was fortunate enough to read this book in multiple forms, and Ive loved it since the very beginning. First of all, this book is QUEER. Its teenage characters span the spectrum of sexuality, with honest conversations surrounding those identities. This book is heartfelt, and Codis journey is one so many will relate to.The friendships are real, authentic, and a little bit messy. The sibling relationship is strong and complicated. Codi is someone you root for and ache for in equal measure. This is I was fortunate enough to read this book in multiple forms, and I’ve loved it since the very beginning. First of all, this book is QUEER. Its teenage characters span the spectrum of sexuality, with honest conversations surrounding those identities. This book is heartfelt, and Codi’s journey is one so many will relate to.The friendships are real, authentic, and a little bit messy. The sibling relationship is strong and complicated. Codi is someone you root for and ache for in equal measure. This is such a strong addition to the queer contemporary YA cannon. A true coming-of-age while queer novel, and I could not love it more.
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  • Fabian
    January 1, 1970
    Goodreads let it be known, that a bitch (aka me) tried. I really did. I was ready to fall in love with this book head over heels, a whirlwind romance, marriage after 3 weeks of dating, 2-story house in a nice suburb, a childa and a dog - the whole shablam. But nope. This book has everything that I want to see in YA contemporary. Almost the entire (largely diverse) cast is queer. It's a f/f centric and slow burning lovestory. It's slow and character driven. Great friendship dynamics. We could Goodreads let it be known, that a bitch (aka me) tried. I really did. I was ready to fall in love with this book head over heels, a whirlwind romance, marriage after 3 weeks of dating, 2-story house in a nice suburb, a childa and a dog - the whole shablam. But nope. This book has everything that I want to see in YA contemporary. Almost the entire (largely diverse) cast is queer. It's a f/f centric and slow burning lovestory. It's slow and character driven. Great friendship dynamics. We could have had it all.BUT the downside of slow and character driven novels is, there has to be a hook. Something needs to grab you by your wig straps, and pull you through the book. It has to be funny or cute or the characters have to be (either) super likable or dislikable. Bottomline a bitch (still me) needs to feel something!Like to don't tell me to bend over, but you only give me the tip. There are a few things in this book though, that rub me the wrong way. But since all of them get challengend and resolved by the end, there is really nothing left to complain about.
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  • Kelsea
    January 1, 1970
    This was a well-written YA contemporary romance! It isn't a genre I pick up often (and I wouldn't consider myself part of the target audience), but I've been reading more of it lately. This one took a few chapters to get into the story, but once I did, it caught me in a way others haven't (I've DNF'd quite a few). The setup was a bit on the clunky side, but it smoothed out partway in. Codi had a great character arc with realizations that felt very teenage and realistic. And I loved the direction This was a well-written YA contemporary romance! It isn't a genre I pick up often (and I wouldn't consider myself part of the target audience), but I've been reading more of it lately. This one took a few chapters to get into the story, but once I did, it caught me in a way others haven't (I've DNF'd quite a few). The setup was a bit on the clunky side, but it smoothed out partway in. Codi had a great character arc with realizations that felt very teenage and realistic. And I loved the direction the story took.The side characters were a bit hit and miss. I really liked Ricky and some of the others in his friend group. But I had a tough time understanding why Maritza and JaKory (Codi's BFFs since forever) were *so* openly obsessed with wanting romantic or sexual experiences... and talking about the obsession or comparing scorecards to the point where it became creepy? I don't know. Maybe that happens? That part didn't feel entirely realistic to me. But it did work as a plot device -- it helped push Codi to grow and learn more about herself.I thought the book also did a good job of allowing the characters to explore LGBTQ+ identities in different ways. As in, different characters handled things differently, but it worked. And I thought the ending was great! Overall, this book is a great one if you're looking for a lighter, diverse YA contemporary romance! It doesn't get too heavy at any point. Thank you Fierce Reads for the free advanced copy!(Real rating is probably just under 4 stars? Close enough that I'm rounding up.)
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  • ashley
    January 1, 1970
    nothing we haven't seen before in the YA coming-of-age genre but that doesn't make it any less powerful. quindlen has a way with words that can make these intimate moments between characters sit close to heart. an ode to all the repressed teens out there.
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  • S
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this book....as I have all her others..
  • michelle (magical reads)
    January 1, 1970
    4.25 starsread on my blog + listen to a playlist I made for the book!rep: lesbian protagonist, wlw side character/love interest, bisexual Panamanian-American side character, gay Black side characters**I received an ARC from Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.** You grow up with these ideas about Teenagers, about their wild, vibrant, dramatic lives of breaking rules and making out and Being Alive, and you know that its your destiny to become 4.25 starsread on my blog + listen to a playlist I made for the book!rep: lesbian protagonist, wlw side character/love interest, bisexual Panamanian-American side character, gay Black side characters**I received an ARC from Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.** You grow up with these ideas about Teenagers, about their wild, vibrant, dramatic lives of breaking rules and making out and Being Alive, and you know that it’s your destiny to become one of them someday, but suddenly you’re seventeen and you’re watching people cannonball into a swimming pool in the pouring rain, and you realize you still haven’t become a real Teenager, and maybe you never will. I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this book, but I definitely loved what I got. Late to the Party captured the desire to fulfill the teenage idealization as a LGBTQ+ teenager without glorifying that experience. It was a refreshing take that fills a gap that I feel like YA has always avoided.I really loved the depiction of the repression in an LGBTQ+ teenager, seen in this book with Codi, a lesbian who’s never had her first kiss; Maritza, her best friend who’s bisexual but hasn’t kissed a girl yet (and really wants to); and JaKory, their other best friend who’s gay and also hasn’t had a relationship. They want to achieve that typical teenager life: hooking up and partying and drinking, so Maritza and JaKory go to a party but Codi refuses to.When she has to pick them up, she meets Ricky, a popular kid who also happens to be gay. They form a fast friendship, and she soon starts hanging out with him and his friends, not because she doesn’t want to be friends with Maritza and JaKory anymore but because she just feels like they hold her back in a way because they don’t believe that she can change since she doesn’t like change. I wouldn’t say that Ricky mentors her, but he definitely helps her to break out of her shell.Eventually Codi has to reconcile these two groups in her life, which mirrors the two phases of her life reconciling in herself now: childhood and adulthood, the past repressed self who grows into a more open person. This really shows the growth teenagers go through, that period of insecurity and self-discovering while also wanting to return to childhood, realize you can’t, cry . . . We can’t go back to the people we used to be but that’s okay sometimes. You’ve always been afraid to put yourself out there, even when you want something badly. Can’t you see you deserve bigger things, Codi? Anyways, this book had A++ wlw and mlm solidarity! The friend group is the best; all the characters go through so much development. I really loved Codi and her love interest, Lydia! Such a soft f/f ship.I just really love how this book portrays teenagers who don’t party but want to; again, this really showed the repression so many teenagers, particularly LGBTQ+ ones, feel. There is no real one “teenage experience,” because we all grow at different rates. I feel like this is an in-between that YA never covers. I don’t think I’m expressing just how well this book portrays all these feelings, but I hope you understand it when you read the book. The best way I can put it is that this basically IS Lorde’s Pure Heroine album and all the feelings it evokes in book form.I also really loved seeing how Codi and her younger brother are quickly growing apart because, for one thing, Codi isn’t out to her family, but more importantly, they’re teenagers who are becoming different people from who they were as children. I also liked how they were going through similar things in parallel in a way? Codi’s younger brother is just starting high school and beginning to date, while Codi is about to start her last year yet she’s also starting to date. It’s just another reminder that people grow at different rates.I highly recommend this book! It was just so amazing in how it depicted overcoming repression and how the true teenage experience is just being a teenager. And it’s super gay! Late to the Party is definitely a stand-out release to me. You don’t want to miss it.original review:this was so good and really captured that desire to fulfill that teenage ideation without glorifying it…also very gay I love this song
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    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 didnt because it was spectacular. It was so hard to read at times though. Its painful reliving those teenage/high school years when you desperately want to be accepted but you just dont fit. Codi made sooo many poor choices but I understood where she was coming from with her internal struggles.I was provided a copy of this book by 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.I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • J. Peters
    January 1, 1970
    Kelly Quindlen, you've done it again!'Her Name In The Sky' isn't just my favorite LGBTQ novel, it's one of my favorite books period. I was excited when I saw that Kelly was coming out with another YA LGBTQ book, but also a bit nervous - I didn't want to hold it up to some self-imagined standard and have it end up being disappointing because of it.I shouldn't have worried!I thoroughly enjoyed the second published outing from Kelly. While it's not as angst-ridden as 'Her Name In The Sky' (and Kelly Quindlen, you've done it again!'Her Name In The Sky' isn't just my favorite LGBTQ novel, it's one of my favorite books period. I was excited when I saw that Kelly was coming out with another YA LGBTQ book, but also a bit nervous - I didn't want to hold it up to some self-imagined standard and have it end up being disappointing because of it.I shouldn't have worried!I thoroughly enjoyed the second published outing from Kelly. While it's not as angst-ridden as 'Her Name In The Sky' (and note, the fact that I say that isn't a bad thing - it's one of the reasons I like it so much), it does manage to accomplish the same thing. It brings the characters to life in such a natural way. For a book with a relatively large cast of background characters, it was never confusing trying to remember who everyone was. Codi in particular was a joy to get to know, because I really related to what she was going through.Everyone knows it's not easy to be a teenager - and of course, that it's rarely easy to be an adult. I think the main difference is that as a teenager, you have all these expectations and pressures, but limited personal freedom and power. I related a lot to Codi's struggles - to wanting to more than what she was, to wanting to break out of her shell, to wanting to be her own person outside of her friends, to wanting to try new things but being scared to do so at the same time. I think it's something a lot of people can relate to, to be honest - not everyone, but I'm sure there's a sizable portion of people who have felt the same at some point in their lives. I'm still dealing with that struggle today sometimes, trying to branch out to be more than I think I am.The real standout relationship here wasn't even the main romantic pairing - though that was also a highlight of the book. It was the friendship between Codi and Ricky. From the way their friendship starts to the way it evolves over the course of the book - it felt real, and it hut a lot of emotional truths. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to take how someone else sees you to heart. God knows I've been the person that is very hard on myself, talking down whatever I do, not wanting to give myself credit for anything, shying away from the limelight. And when there is someone out there who is able to talk over that instinct and tell you how they see you - it's a moment that will stay with you. And there's multiple moments like this in the book - though I can't say too much without venturing into spoiler territory.I also really liked the fact that it didn't alienate any group of people. There were no real enemies or antagonists in a book, because most of the antagonism was internal conflict. I suppose I should spoiler this next bit: (view spoiler)[When Codi first hangs out with Ricky's friends and she's really nervous about doing the wrong thing or saying the wrong thing - the fact that the group of friends is nice to her and they don't make fun of her, and she appreciates that fact. Damn, that got to me. Because I remember having moments like that. Where you realize that there are in fact a lot of people out there who are willing to include you in something and not judge you in the way that you're judging yourself. The fact that Codi is able to slowly open up to this group, and they don't ever really make fun of her for it - I love that. The relief you get from not being judged for something that you feel ashamed about can mean the world to you. (hide spoiler)]So, yeah. Go read this book! This year has been a weird one. I haven't been reading as much or as voraciously as years past, largely because the current situation with Covid is a constantly looming presence. But I tore through this book in only a couple of days, binging the last half of it just moments before writing this review.I look forward to whatever Kelly decides to write next.
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  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    Ive been waiting for this book since the moment I finished Her Name in the Sky, Kelly Quindlens first book, many years ago. So expectations were really high. Probably unfairly high. And I can honestly say that this was not at all what I expected; it was so much better. The story follows Codi the summer before her senior year of high school. Shes awkward and painfully shy and has never kissed a girl. Well, shes never kissed a boy either, but she knows she doesnt want to. She has exactly two I’ve been waiting for this book since the moment I finished Her Name in the Sky, Kelly Quindlen’s first book, many years ago. So expectations were really high. Probably unfairly high. And I can honestly say that this was not at all what I expected; it was so much better. The story follows Codi the summer before her senior year of high school. She’s awkward and painfully shy and has never kissed a girl. Well, she’s never kissed a boy either, but she knows she doesn’t want to. She has exactly two friends—Maritza and JaKory—who she’s known since the first day of 6th grade. They’re close. Maybe too close. Things don’t feel quite right between them at the moment. And Codi begins to question whether they’ve simply outgrown their friendship. Everything changes when Codi is called to pick up Maritza and JaKory from some rando’s party and she accidentally stumbles upon a two guys kissing. It’s awkward and uncomfortable and embarrassing, but it’s the catalyst to Codi challenging herself to engage with new people, to pursue a crush, to feel like she’s actually participating in experiences rather than watching from the sidelines. And yeah, she makes mistakes. She’s a shitty friend and sister. She does some questionable things. But she tries and she learns and she grows. And, yeah, she gets the girl!Look, would I have loved more time to hang out with Codi and Lydia and share their moments together? Of course. But I really appreciated the focus on Codi’s personal development here. And I’m not sure how Quindlen did it, but this is a coming out story that isn’t a coming out story. Codi has basically no angst about being queer, even if only her two best friends know she is. In fact, one of the very first facts she shares when she stumbles upon that kiss is: “I like girls.” Her struggle is accepting that she has worth and that she’s not this agent-less, invisible, inconsequential being. And in the course of the novel she discovers that she’s brave and she’s honest (usually) and is filled with so much potential and possibility. I just couldn’t help but root for her. *Sigh* I really wish I could have read this when I was a teenager. One more note: I should also point out the characters are diverse and that 5+ of the characters are queer. Also, is there any way we can get a cute follow-up to Codi and Lydia though? Just putting it out there.
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  • Other Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, wow. Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen is a personal coming-of-age story about self-acceptance. Codi is a relatable character who wants to do something, to be something more because of how her anxiety and social awkwardness makes it hard for her to connect with other kids in her high school. After a chance encounter with an older student, Codi befriends Ricky as he takes her under his wing. Suddenly, she's making more friends and even a possible summer romance with a cute girl, but how Okay, wow. Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen is a personal coming-of-age story about self-acceptance. Codi is a relatable character who wants to do something, to be something more because of how her anxiety and social awkwardness makes it hard for her to connect with other kids in her high school. After a chance encounter with an older student, Codi befriends Ricky as he takes her under his wing. Suddenly, she's making more friends and even a possible summer romance with a cute girl, but how will her old friends react? Most contemporary books struggle to find the balance between friendship and romance arcs for their main characters. Quindlen, however, succeeds in fully fleshing out Codi's anxieties about the relationships in her life (have they grown apart? Will the cute girl like her back? How do you find yourself when you're starting to feel resentment toward everything and etc?), rounding her out as a deeply relatable character for readers of all backgrounds. I love reading when she and her friends reconciled with their epic road trip, her growing romance between her and the cute girl (I was chanting at them to kiss a lot), as well as when she and her little brother reached an understanding about each other. Being a teenager is messy and Quindlen shows it in all of its forms with family, romance, and friendship. I also want Netflix to adapt this as their next teen movie. Easily four stars! Great for fans of Jenny Han and for readers of contemporary YA!I was given a copy of Late to the Party by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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  • danica
    January 1, 1970
    this was so brilliant and so well done and my heart aches a little in all the right places
  • Jessica Gadd (love_my_dane_dolly_)
    January 1, 1970
    Late To The Party is YA story of what it's like to feel like an outsider while trying to gather the courage to put yourself out there and try new things. It's hard being in high school, especially for these three friends who recently all came out to each other. This is a great book that will resonate with many and an important read.
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  • Sacha
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this extremely cute ARC. I'll post a review upon publication.Updated 4/22/20: 4.5 stars This is so cute. It's extremely easy to connect with the m.c., Codi, because she reflects a level of awkwardness and uncertainty that everyone faces in high school. I love that her concerns are not stereotypically identity-orientated. She does not worry how people will react to her identity: specifically her sexuality. Instead, she worries about whether or not she is Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this extremely cute ARC. I'll post a review upon publication.Updated 4/22/20: 4.5 stars This is so cute. It's extremely easy to connect with the m.c., Codi, because she reflects a level of awkwardness and uncertainty that everyone faces in high school. I love that her concerns are not stereotypically identity-orientated. She does not worry how people will react to her identity: specifically her sexuality. Instead, she worries about whether or not she is the kind of person who just doesn't go to parties, who only hangs out with misfits, and who has never kissed someone. Her concerns are based on her in/actions, and I found this approach to her character so refreshing. There is some pretty great representation here when it comes to gender identity and sexuality. A lot of the kids in the novel identify as LGBTQ+, and while they are talking about their identities, this isn't the stereotypical coming out novel or one in which every kid is focused on how others will react. They're just typical kids, and they love whom they love. I am always thrilled to see intersectionally diverse characters just living their lives rather than being tokenized or exploited based on one or more identities, and this author makes a real achievement on that front. I will absolutely be recommending this novel to students, colleagues, and friends for its engaging characters, swift plot, charming relationships (I'll add that the m.c. and her brother are #siblinggoals), and positive representation.
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  • Ruthsic
    January 1, 1970
    Rep: lesbian main character; queer secondary characters including two black gay guys, a bisexual girl of Panamanian origin; sapphic love interestLate to the Party had me at its concept itself - about feeling like you are missing out on life. Codi has a myopic view of what it means to be a Teenager, and her best friends Maritza and JaKory are sort of in the same boat; all of them feel, that at 17, they should have had some romantic/sexual experience, and being queer themselves, they all have Rep: lesbian main character; queer secondary characters including two black gay guys, a bisexual girl of Panamanian origin; sapphic love interestLate to the Party had me at its concept itself - about feeling like you are missing out on life. Codi has a myopic view of what it means to be a Teenager, and her best friends Maritza and JaKory are sort of in the same boat; all of them feel, that at 17, they should have had some romantic/sexual experience, and being queer themselves, they all have found few prospects, compared to their 'straight' classmates. Maritza wants them to change the dynamic, to go out looking for love, to put themselves out there, but Codi is afraid, partly of rejection, and partly about feeling like she doesn't know how to be that person. When she comes across Ricky, they sort of form a bond together, and though her best friends are also queer and she can share that with them, with Ricky she is able to come out of her well-worn track and try out new things. The fact that the girl she met at his party, and is crushing on, is one of the people in his circle of friends is an added bonus, and soon she becomes comfortable and absorbed in that group, while cutting down on how much time she spends with her old friends. The book explores so much - about being shy and queer, about putting yourself out there, and how much caution and walls you can build up, about identity, and coming out and learning to set your own pace about your growth but also not letting it stifle you. Codi's and Ricky's wlw-mlm solidarity is also so well-developed, and it is not really what you expect at first - Ricky is wingman-ing her, but is keeping his own troubles close to heart as he figures out his sexuality. Most of the teens in this book are also only out to their close friends, so it is also about trusting your people and letting them know your troubles. Codi's relationship with Maritza and JaKory is not sidelined, either, and the distance she feels with them is thoroughly explored, as well as the things that bring them back together again. The book does a great job with exploring the different side of their friendships, with the fact that they are queer in mind. Of course, Codi's romantic prospects are also a part of the plot, as she tries to figure out if Lydia (her crush) could be interested in girls, too. Through that, she also challenges her own notion of what it means to be 'ready', and the shame she feels over being a 'late-blooomer' (I could argue that 17 is hardly late, though, lol). But Codi's low self-esteem is not just about that, and it is tied into more complex matters. Overall, I loved the themes of the book, the tone it takes with respect to those themes, and evoking that feeling of being a teen and the insecurities you have. Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Roaring Brook Press, via Edelweiss.
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