Book Review: A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger
Whitley Johnson’s dream summer with her divorcé 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 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.
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.
This is the second book I’ve read by Kody Keplinger, and I liked this one even more than the first one (The DUFF). This book didn’t have to overcome anything in order for me to enjoy reading it. I was hooked from the first sentence. I felt vaguely like I was reading the first Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book at first, but Keplinger manages to take a similar situation and make it completely her own. I loved it.
Whitley was such a great character to read about. I sort of wanted to smack her at the beginning of the book for hating her mother so much while she adored her father who was clearly the one at fault, but overall I enjoyed reading about her. She’s definitely flawed, but you can’t help but feel for her. The more we got to know her, the more I wanted someone to give her a hug.
The rest of the characters in this book were just as well-rounded and realistic. Bailey was adorable, acting like a real teenager who’s just starting to branch out and become her own person. Nathan was a great love interest. A basketball player who’s handsome and also a nerd – a little bit of something for everyone without feeling fake. I wish we had seen a bit more of Whitley’s mother, but her father and Sylvia definitely played important roles, and I was happy to watch them transform as the novel progressed.
I was also really excited to see some familiar faces in this novel. Harrison, the gay best friend who embraces some stereotypes and shatters others, was great. We met him in The DUFF, but he was definitely more of a side character there. He becomes a real person in this novel, and he was a great addition to the cast. Wesley and Bianca, the stars of The DUFF, had a brief appearance in this novel, which was awesome. I really enjoyed watching Whitley react to Bianca. This book makes sense if you haven’t read The DUFF, but that whole scene is even more amusing if you already know Wesley and Bianca.
This book is a cute, fast read that also deals with some real issues. There’s been a lot of talk in the news recently about the rape culture in America, and this book definitely calls out slut-shaming and (hopefully) makes people question the way they treat other people, although it never comes across as overly preachy or anything. I think this is a great book for teenagers and adults to read. The step-sibling thing is sort of weird, but I couldn’t help rooting for them anyway.