For years young adult fiction has been predicting dark dystopian futures. Now that Britain is set to leave the EU – at the time of writing it’s unclear how, when or even if this will happen – it seems only natural that the genre should square up to the B word, with all its portents of doom and disaster. Welcome to the first post-Brexit YA novel [Editor’s note: the first in English].
The book is set at some unspecified time in the future, after Britain has ‘brexited’ and Scotland opted for independence. England is now ruled by The Party who have recently introduced a ‘British Born’ law, whereby all citizens living in Britain for less than 20 years are subject to deportation. It’s the challenge of Romanian-born Zara, with the amorous assistance of Ash, to negotiate this harsh new terrain.
The title of the book has a double meaning, the story having a second plot strand that’s skilfully interwoven with the first. It concerns Ash’s sister Sophie who has died in a possibly drug-fuelled accident at a party; it seems that Zara holds the key to what happened. This is a novel of tense secrets, with T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets also an intriguing reference point in the drama.
With its queasily xenophobic atmosphere, its back-and-forth narrative (each section alternatively presents Ash and Zara’s perspective), its tender love affair, and its exciting final act, Night of the Party plunges the reader into an alarming alternative world, albeit one which has much continuity with our own.