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'The After Party' by Anton Disclafani: EW review

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The After Party: A Novel

Current Status:
In Season
Anton DiSclafani
Riverhead Books

We gave it a B+

The friendship between Texas debutantes Cece Beirne and Joan Fortier is close in the way that only young girls’ can be, so feverish and all-consuming that it feels more like a love story—at least from Cece’s end. Since the first day of kindergarten, she’s devoted herself to the dazzling Joan, a heedless blond beauty who blithely flaunts the oil-rich decorum of 1950s Houston society and longs to find a bigger life outside of it. By high school graduation she’s gone, but when she returns a year later something’s changed; her rebellion has curdled into a darker kind of recklessness that Cece can’t reach, which only makes her more desperate to try. DiSclafani gorgeously evokes Party’s midcentury setting, and the narrative unfolds much more elegantly than her dense 2013 best-seller, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls. We learn Joan’s secret eventually, but for the reader she remains what she’s always been to Cece: a siren and a cipher. B+