Sunday, December 7, 2014

Book Review: A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

Release date: January 1st, 2012
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Poppy
Age group: YA
Pages: 304 (Kindle edition)
Buy the book: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorced dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée's son? Whitley's one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin' great. Worse, she totally doesn't fit in with her dad's perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn't even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she's ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn't "do" friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn't her least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together. Filled with authenticity and raw emotion, Whitley is Kody Keplinger's most compelling character to date: a cynical Holden Caulfield-esque girl you will wholly care about.


Having read The Duff by Kody Keplinger, I kind of knew what to expect from A Midsummer's Nightmare; a troubled protagonist who is not afraid to speak her mind and a hot guy who would make it all better. A Midsummer's Nightmare definitely had those two things, but it was also so much more than that. Don't let the HORRIFIC cover fool you - this is great contemporary read.

Whitley had her first drink when she was fourteen years old. Since then, her life has revolved around getting drunk, partying and hooking up with guys. Since her middle school best friend ended their friendship, she has thought that being a loner is better - at least no will be disappoint her again. She has a reputation, but living in a city and attending a big school has always meant that there are other out there too who have a reputation. After graduation she is ready to embark to a summer filled with fun at her father's place. The last thing she expects is to find herself from the suburbs, meeting her "new family"; her father's fiance and her two children. What makes things even worse (and awkward) is the fact that her new "stepbrother" is the guy she slept with on graduation night. 

Whitley's a perfect YA character in the sense that she's very problematic and real, honest yet quite broken. It might be difficult to like her, but at the same time it is difficult not to feel for her. She's bit of a bitch most of the time, but I actually liked that about her. I feel like many times female YA protagonists are TOO perfect, if you know what I mean. They are pretty (but they don't know it), petite, shy but intelligent, soft spoken etc. Whitley is pretty for sure and she knows it. She's bit of a loudmouth, not afraid to say her opinion. Before her parents got divorced, she was a straight A student, but the family drama and its results drove her to the bottle, which screwed up with her school work. Though Whitley can be cold and rude, that's not all she is. She also thinks about others, knows when she has done something wrong and though she might seem like she does not care about anything or anyone, she actually does care. She cares a lot. 

Though the story could be categorized as a "contemporary romance", in fact it is much more about the family relationships and dynamics than about the romance itself. Yes, there's a romantic element there, but before Whitley can give up to her feelings she needs to figure out what her place is in her old family as well as this new family and what she can do to make things better. The confrontations with both her mother and her father are so real and honest that I actually felt like crying while reading them. As a child of a broken home, meaning that my parents have gone through a divorce, I was able to feel for Whitley - the difficulty of knowing what place actually is your home is a difficult process, especially if you feel like the people you should be able to call your family are not there for you.

Filled with interesting characters who all get a voice and a personality, real issues and feelings as well as a cute romance, A Midsummer's Nightmare is a must read for the fans of contemporary YA novels. It is real, honest and occasionally also very funny. Kody Keplinger is a talented writer who's not afraid to give a voice to characters that are flawed, raw and broken.

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