Late to the Party By Kelly Quindlen

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. 9781250209139 I adored this book.

Yes, the main character is the one we all know too well, the shy and nice type.


This story is about a lot of things.

I loved how every character dealt with something and not everything was about the mc. There were old friends, new friends, siblings, a love interest and drama with everyone, but at the end everything came full circle and every character and relationship came out better than as they were at the beginning. That's why it felt so real – everyone had something to put on the table.

This is my kind of story. Where you feel safe and loved, what makes you think and gives you a new found family you want to be a part of.

Definitely will reread it sometimes.

If you want to read a love letter to this book, check out - ̗̀ jess ̖́-'s review. 9781250209139 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. 9781250209139 i love :')

check out my reading vlog for kelly quindlen's books here! 9781250209139 nothing spells out ‘sad teen’ quite like reading a coming-of-age novel during a pandemic 😔 9781250209139

CHARACTERS 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

Late to the Party is a contemporary novel about what happens when the narrative about yourself you built in your own head starts hindering your potential. It is about the differences between yourself, your perception of yourself, and others' perception of you, and how one can find spaces for exploration in those gaps as well as places to get stuck in.

On the surface, it's a very typical coming-of-age story about Codi, a white American teenage lesbian living in Atlanta, who has always been the quiet kid. She has her art and her two best friends, but after forming an unexpected new friendship with a popular boy (who is gay and closeted), she decides she wants to change that.

Like most coming-of-age stories, it includes a romance (F/F, of course), but it's not the focus - because, beneath the surface, Late to the Party is mostly a story about friendship. It follows Codi as she understands what her relationships mean to her, why she feels stuck, and how friendships can be outgrown but can also shift in their meaning to you as you change. It does all of this while following mostly queer characters, and how that influences the dynamic.
I feel like often the message of this kind of book can be very one-note, become the party-lover you were always meant to be! get out of your comfort zone! who cares about your boring friends!, but this book deals with it with enough nuance for it not to feel this way.

It's one of those stories that have just have enough truth to them to hurt. While I did enjoy this as an adult, I know that probably wouldn't have been true as a teen - sometimes when you're struggling there are things you're not ready to hear or deal with, and they hurt. (I would have taken it personally, probably; one thing that you won't learn in this community when talking about hurtful books is that sometimes when a book hurts you isn't because there's something wrong with it but because you need therapy.)
Despite this, I did feel like something was missing. There isn't much to Codi as a character apart from her shyness, her desire to grow out of it, and her love for her art. To make some examples, she struggles with her self-esteem but mental health isn't even discussed in this book; and while this is a story about friendship between queer people, it's yet again a gay book in which the portrayal or discussion of anything but rigorously cis and gender-conforming queerness is very lacking. And I think that's where many of my issues with this book come from - it's good and it achieves what it sets out to do, but it still feels somewhat surface-level; I think it could have done so much more.

On other minor negatives:
🏠 it has no sense of atmosphere and relies on the reader's assumed familiarity with America to make up for that. Too bad for the book that I have no idea of how Atlanta looks like;
🏠 the characterization could have used some help in general; while Codi's close friends and brother are well-drawn characters, the same can't be said about most of the supporting cast, and sadly this includes the love interest.

3.75 stars. 9781250209139 „Late To The Party” Kelly Quindlen to mój patronat.

Codi, główna bohaterka ma już siedemnaście lat i nigdy się nie całowała, w sumie to na imprezie też nigdy nie była.
Jej najlepsi przyjaciele, JaKory i Martiza postanawiają zmienić swój los, wzbudzając w Codi sprzeczne emocje i powodując, że ta ze zbiegiem okoliczności pozwoliła sobie przemóc się w sobie.

„Late to The Party” w moim przekonaniu, jest przykładem idealnego tytułu. Świetnie dopasowuje się do Codi, która czuje, że jak na swój wiek - jest spóźniona na prawdziwe nastoletnie życie.

Czytając te książkę, rozumiałam główną bohaterkę. Sama poczułam, że znalazłam fikcyjną postać, a bardziej nastolatkę, która została przedstawiona w XXI wieku bez krzywego zwierciadła. Jej zachowania, przemyślenia, wszystko to sprawiło, że poczułam się jakbym nie tylko ja była spóźniona na imprezę”.
9781250209139 ↠ 5 stars

I'm finding it difficult to articulate how much this book made me feel seen. It's almost as if the author peered inside my head and found something that was worth writing about. Reading this was like having my entire teenage experience dissected in front of my very own eyes, leaving me to grapple with having been perceived.

Late to the Party is a coming of age story that has been on my radar for awhile, being one of my highly anticipated reads for this year. To say this book blew all my expectations out of the water is an understatement. This book truly is a love letter to finding yourself and all the struggles that go alongside that. I found myself wishing that a book like this had been around when I was younger. The main characters struggles really took me aback, in part because they mirrored so much of my own at the time. The fear of change versus the want to be apart of something was so prominent throughout the story. That and the underlying yearning for new experiences. What stood out for me the most though, was the characters. The author did an amazing job juxtaposing Codi's old and new friends with her need to no longer feel stagnant. She initially finds solace in Ricky because he represents this desire she has to have new experiences that she feels she had denied herself for so long. Eventually she finds harmony in both. To me, this book really emphasized the importance of becoming your own person and finding your own space, especially within the queer community. A really different side to a coming of age story, but needed nonetheless. 9781250209139 5 stars

This the first book I've finished in 2021 and it's a 5 star read. I actually can't believe it. I'm speechless.

Last year was awful in general (as I'm sure you all know) and my reading was definitely one of the things affected by that. Although I loved a few books, it was an overall lackluster reading year. So to start off 2021 with an amazing book already makes me very hopeful that this is going to be a great year for my reading.

✦ ✧ ✦ ✧

Codi Teller is a seventeen year old who feels like she's missing out on the teenage experience. She will be a senior next year and she's never been to a party, got drunk or even kissed anyone. So when her best friends, Maritza and JaKory, with whom she spends most time watching Netflix in her basement, suggest crashing a party, she is really not sure about the idea. But then she stumbles upon one of the cool kids, Ricky, kissing another boy in the dark, and a new friendship between Codi and Ricky blossoms. This completely changes Codi's life and summer as Ricky takes her under her wing and introduces her to his very friendly group of friends, including a girl Codi might be starting to develop feelings for.

The only problem, though, is that Codi doesn't tell her best friends any of it.

✦ ✧ ✦ ✧

I had a feeling in my bones that this book would be perfect for me and wow was I right!

I don't think I've ever related so much to a character. Codi is me. I'm Codi. Seriously, it's like Kelly Quindlen wrote this story with me in mind. The fear of missing out on what everyone else is doing when you're a teen is something that I've felt for so long and that I've thought about so many times. My life really isn't that exciting, at least not in the way that teens' lives are portrayed all over: books, films, TV shows (e.g. Euphoria). There's people constantly partying, drinking, smoking, having sex... and when you don't fit into that standard, it can feel very isolating and like you should be doing more with your life. Like you're stuck doing the same activities and hobbies over and over again, as if it's an endless loop you can't escape. The author was able to write this feeling into Codi perfectly and I thank her for that because it made me feel so seen.

I absolutely loved Ricky and his friendship with Codi. Ricky is funny, kind, caring and helps Codi feel like she belongs. Their dynamic is so fascinating and they have so many conversations that I valued so much. For instance, Codi talks about how sometimes she feels like their friendship is one-sided and that she shares so much with Ricky but he doesn't seem to trust her enough to do the same - also something I can relate to. During this novel, Ricky is trying to figure out his sexuality and coming to terms with it. He has an entanglement with the boy Codi saw him kiss and he doesn't feel comfortable sharing this with his close group of friends, even though he feels as if he's known them since they were little kids. I believe many people will resonate with his character and what he's going through and will find comfort in reading about his friendship with Cody.

On a similar note, I adored the dynamic established in Ricky's and now Codi's friend group. They're all such great people who welcome Codi with open arms. Going back to me being a little more personal, these past few months I've felt like my friendships have grown a lot and that I've become closer with a lot of my friends so, in that way, I could also really see myself in Codi. I completely understood where Codi is coming from when she doesn't tell Maritza or JaKory about Ricky and his friends.

And the romance is so adorable!! Not as perfect as the one in The Falling in Love Montage, but it still made me blush and feel all the feels. F/F romances in YA novels are on the rise and I'M HERE FOR IT.

Speaking of, Maritza and JaKory are awesome characters as well. Maritza is Latina and bi and JaKory is black and gay, but despite those aspects being part of who they are, they are not their whole personalities. They're both three-dimensional and face their own hurdles throughout the story which help them grow as individuals.

Codi has a younger brother named Grant who has a relevant part in the story. The protagonist feels like he has a much more exciting life than her, with so many more friends and experiences that she has yet to replicate. To put it plainly, she is jealous of how easy life seems to be for him, how easy he makes friends and talks to people as if it's no big deal. OMG can I tell you HOW RELATABLE THIS IS. I have an older brother and I love him with all of my heart, but I've felt the same thing as Codi for so longggg. Not as much anymore, but a year ago, before the pandemic happened, and he would constantly go out with his many friends to clubs, bars, parties, I would be a bit jealous of him because I thought that I would never do any of those things because I didn't have that many people that I was close to. Again, Codi is ME. All of that to say that her relationship with her brother is incredibly realistic, but touching as well.

Another aspect to highlight is how funny this book is. Kelly Quindlen has a great sense of humour. Many were the times I laughed out loud and I spend the majority of my reading experience with this novel with a big smile on my face because it not only made me chuckle, but it also warmed my heart.

There's so much more I could talk about when it comes to this book, but I want you to find out how wonderful Late to the Party is by reading it. If one thing's for sure is that this will be on my top favourite books of this year and I would love for you to experience and fall in love with this novel as I've had, so please, pick it up asap! 9781250209139 Betty & august by gaylor swift 9781250209139