Title: A Midsummer's Nightmare
Author: Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Little, Brown BYR
Release date: June 5th 2012
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
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Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorce dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancee and her kids. The fiancee's son? Whitley's one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin' great.My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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 stepbrother...at 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.
I love Kody Keplinger's books! Her writing is addictive, her characters are engaging, and the way she addresses sexuality and real issues in such an honest way always impresses me. I had a couple of problems with the plot in A Midsummer's Nightmare, and the story is very predictable, but I still really enjoyed it.
Whitney is my favorite thing about this novel - she's such an intriguing character! The party girl with daddy issues may not be the most original character in all of literature, movies, and TV, but she is unique in YA, where the quiet-nerd trope is so common. Whitney doesn't always make the best decisions, and she does complain a lot, but that never bothered me because it makes her character realistic, and because Whitney will be the first to admit it when she's acting selfish. I found her very easy to relate to, and her cynical voice provided an entertaining narrative.
The plot is somewhat formularic and the events are mostly predictable, but I didn't really mind that much. It was enjoyable to accompany Whitney on her journey, even if it was obvious from the start where that journey would end. Kody Keplinger's style is always entertaining and makes up for a predictable story. The addictive style is what kept me turning the pages and made me finish this book within a day.
The only storyline I didn't enjoy as much is the romance. Part of it is the fact that the romance is a budding relationship between future stepsiblings, which didn't sit right with me, not just because they will be stepsiblings soon but also because of the consequences of them potentially breaking up. The chemistry between them is pretty good, but definitely not good enough to justify that. Even more so than the stepsibling aspect, though, the implied message of their relationship bugged me. I really wanted to see Whitley work out her issues by herself, or at least relying on her family and friends instead of needing attention from guys. The fact that romance is such a big part of her character growth didn't sit right with me. The development of the plot conveys the message that in order to become a better person, Whitley needs to stop hooking up with random guys and be in a committed relationship instead. That's a message I can't agree with - drinking and hooking up with people isn't intrinsically bad; to me, the problem is rooted in Whitley's issues that motivate her to do these things, and the way that she thinks she can use alcohol and her sexuality to solve her problems. I had hoped that Kody Keplinger - who usually addresses issues like this in such a great way - had emphasized a message like that more, instead of antagonizing Whitley's lifestyle itself.
Those issues aside, A Midsummer's Nightmare is a great book. It's not the most original or unpredictable story, but with addictive writing, engaging characters, and a somewhat-positive message, it's a book I really enjoyed. I can't wait for the next book by Kody Keplinger!