It's the book cover you're about to see everywhere: Why you won't be able to put down After The Party.

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It’s the book cover you’re about to see everywhere.

An upturned pink cupcake and the remnants of what was once a lit candle.

If you look a little closer, you’ll noticed that the candle hasn’t been blown out. It’s been disrupted – extinguished through a scene of chaos.

One cannot walk past the cover – with the title printed in pink After The Party, without a pique in curiosity; What happened during the party, and how did it all become such a disaster?

Author Cassie Hamer is a career journalist who has done everything from press conferences with a Prime Minister (John Howard) to one-on-one interviews with Miss Universe (Jennifer Hawkins). She’s also dabbled in PR – an expertise that enriches one of the central characters in After The Party, her debut novel.

Australian female novelists are unequivocally having a moment. Liane Moriarty is the creator of some of the best modern fiction on offer, and since she exploded onto the scene, new names continue to pop up. Jane Harper. Sally Hepworth. Sarah Bailey.

And now, Cassie Hamer.

Cassie Hamer. Image supplied.
Cassie Hamer. Image supplied.

You know what you're going to get when you pick up a book by a journalist.

Their job, day in and day out, is to keep the reader's attention. They work hard to attract the readers interest with a headline they can't scroll past, but then they have to work even harder to keep it, by writing a bloody good story the reader can't abandon.

And every word in Hamer's book is a testament to that skill.

After The Party opens on a fifth birthday party held in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

Lisa Wheeldon and her husband Scott have decided to throw their eldest daughter a party, and invite her entire kindergarten class. All 32 of them.

The entire day is a nightmare. Everything that could go wrong, does. As the kids are picked up by their parents, Lisa breathes a sigh of relief. She can finally relax.

Until she discovers something as she's cleaning up.

There's one child left. And her name is Ellie.

Strangely, her daughter claims to have never met Ellie. Is this little girl even from her class? But it's when they open Ellie's present that Lisa realises things have suddenly become very serious.


The little girl's mother isn't on her way. In fact, she might not be coming back at all. So what is Lisa meant to do? And what sort of mother abandons their child?

After The Party captures Australian suburbia superbly, constructing a world you already feel like you know. Hamer's strength is in the slow, considered revelations that pepper the novel, making it difficult to put down.

It has the reader gripped until the end, desperate to know exactly what led to Ellie arriving at Lisa's doorstep, as well as the fate of the other characters, like Lisa's incredibly nuanced sister Jamie.

After The Party forces the reader to confront uncomfortable questions like, How far would you go to protect a child? How clear is the line between right and wrong? And, what does it truly mean to be a good mother?

The backdrop feels reminiscent of Big Little Lies, with critical conversations being had in hushed tones over coffee at the local cafe, and being entirely led by multifaceted, complicated and clever women, who are too often reduced to the status of 'Mum'.

It's perfect for anyone who wants to devour easy-to-read fiction, while also doing some detective work of their own.

What happened After The Party won't let you down.

Cassie Hamer's After The Party is available wherever good books are sold or you can order now on Booktopia.

HQ Fiction

HQ Fiction, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, are giving you a chance to WIN 1 OF 5 COPIES OF AFTER THE PARTY for you and your book club!
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