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Review - A Midsummer's Nightmare

Friday, June 15, 2012
A Midsummer's Nightmare
by Kody Keplinger

Publication: June 5, 2012 (Hardback)
Pages: 304
Author: Website  | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Poppy
Buy it: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository
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.

With its blend of wit, humor, and angst, Whitley has one of the most compelling voices that I've come across in YA lit. Ever since her parents' divorce, Whitley has been a girl who parties hard and acts recklessly out of a feeling of abandonment from her parents. When she's feeling down, she turns to the buzz that alcohol and partying give her. Normally, this kind of behavior would estrange me from the character. Instead, Whitley's flaws serve to make her a very relatable character and all the more endearing. Rather than waiting for her to crash, I hoped that Whitley could turn around. I hoped that she would rely on the characters supporting her.

Out of all the side characters, Bailey has the most influence on Whitley, as the younger girl reminds Whitley of herself at that age: young and innocent, eager to fit in with the "big kids" in high school. Nathan is the next most influential, being Whitley's one-night stand and someone to whom she's attracted. At first, he seems innocent and used and Whitley hard and uncaring in comparison. However, we get to know more of him over the course of the novel, and he turns out to be the most warmhearted and genuine guy in Whitley's life. I love their chemistry and friendship equally well. And then there's Harrison, her new friend with an incredible fashion sense. He's always there to support her when she needs someone outside her messed up family life to listen.

The story has themes of family, love, and the party scene. I did feel that the family element wasn't as fully explored as it could have been. Whitley's father is well-rounded, though he is consistently absent. I didn't feel get to know Whitley's brother as far as a guy who cares about her but can't be there for her, and her mother is someone who only knows how to complain about her ex-husband. Still, the novel does end where it should: on a note of hope and with a gorgeous summer scene.

A Midsummer's Nightmare has been one of my favorite summer reads. It has swoonworthy romance, a summer vacataion, and characters with attitude. Keplinger has addressed some topics that many teens can relate to in a manner that will captivate audiences and have them alternately laughing and crying.



Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.
7 comments on "Review - A Midsummer's Nightmare"
  1. I found a typo. In the last sentence, it's **addressed. Actually, with all these reviews you keep writing, I'm surprised there haven't been a lot of typos yet. :D

    A Midsummer's Nightmare sounds like a fantastic book. The relationship between Whitley and Nathan is unorthodox, but I'm glad he was such a great character. I can't wait to get my hands on this book!

    Great review, Kris!

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    1. Thanks for catching that typo! Haha... it's been read one book, crank out a review, read another book, write another review, and so forth, hasn't it? I should probably find someone who can help out at the blog--maybe post a review once a week or so--once I'm through with all these books. The end is in sight though! :D

      I adored this book. The unorthodox relationship between Whitley and Nathan is actually what caught my eye. I just had to see where it went, and I loved every moment of it. Hope you enjoy it as much, if not more, than I did!

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  2. A Midsummer's Nightmare is actually one of my most anticipated reads of the summer of 2012! I actually have a copy sitting on my shelf waiting to be read...

    Anyways, thanks for the review :D A great heroine is always a must for me, so hopefully I'll love this book. Have you read any of Keplinger's other works? I was also a fan of The DUFF and Shut Out, although they weren't my absolute favorites. Also, would you say this book had something unique about it?

    Thanks for sharing :D

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    1. I LOVE this book. I haven't read any of Keplinger's other works, though I'm interested in taking a look at them. I heard Shut Out is a fun read.

      Uniqueness-wise, not many books have a strong family focus, which is what I loved about this book. Whitley also has a strong voice.

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  3. I just finished reading this book the other day and I really liked it so I hope there will be a second one because I don't know if I was satisfied with the ending.

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    1. I actually liked the way it ended. Whitley has found some peace in her life and has resolved the conflicts in her life. The ending does lack a little closure, but it is open and leaves promise for the future. :)

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  4. Wow, this looks like a great book! I loved your review! I wasn't sure if i wanted to read it or not, but it sounds great!

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