Author: Kody Keplinger
Published: June 5th, 2012 (Poppy)
Genres/Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Social Situations, Family, Partying
Rating: Four Stars
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.
Purchase: Barnes and Noble / Amazon
Cover Thoughts: I found the cover to be okay. It doesn’t really give anything about the book away.
First Line: Hangovers are a bitch.
I love this! Finally! A real party girl!
I loved A Midsummer’s Nightmare from the very first sentence. I read A Midsummer’s Nightmare in one day. This is the first book I’ve ever read with a real party girl, a character trope I’ve been dying to read about. Whitley’s always loved spending summers with her father, they would hit up the beach, share some drinks and basically party every night. When Whitley goes to her dad’s this summer though, everything’s changed. Whitley’s father is engaged, she has two soon to be step-siblings and much to Whitley’s displeasure, her father’s moved into a suburban neighborhood.
This is one storyline I always wonder about, what kind of parent doesn’t take five minutes to call their child and tell them they’ve gotten engaged and moved? It is a storyline I never tire of though. I was instantly reminded of Hanna Marin’s storyline in Pretty Little Liars and Carmen’s in Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants. What makes A Midsummer’s Nightmare unique is that Whitley acts out in extreme ways by drinking, partying and hooking up. This alone would be enough problems for Whitley to deal with, except she’s also slept with Nathan. This adds to a very interesting twist in A Midsummer’s Nightmare.
I loved Whitley. I loved her sarcasm, her hard demeanor, her partying behavior, her brokeness, and her flaws. This is an unpopular opinion as i liked her from the very beginning. In the summary, she’s called a cynical Holden Caulfield-esque girl. I was a little worried about that as while I haven’t read Catcher In The Rye, I know not a lot of people liked Holden due to his personality. I definitely didn’t need to worry about that when it came to Whitley. In the beginning, Whitley was very upset about her summer which makes sense given her circumstances and acted out. I thought her behavior was realistic and I loved how she realized she was being a bit selfish, mean and making stupid moves. Whitley was a character that I got angry at, sad about and wished for a happy ending for her summer. She developed amazingly from a party girl to a girl who realizes that even with a biological broken family, they’re not her only family.
Whitley is a party girl in every definition of the word. She drinks alcohol, goes out at night, hooks up with random guys and does neither friends nor boyfriends. She put herself in questionable positions which everyone in town begin talking about. This leads to a Facebook page being created by someone for Whitley’s newest escapades. The emotions I felt while reading A Midsummer’s Nightmare were up and down. I loved the humor, I understood why Whitley was so upset, I felt her pain, I enjoyed the sweet scenes between Whitley and Bailey and I swooned a couple times.
A Midsummer’s Nightmare is very family-centric. Everything Whitley does is because of her parents and her feelings about her stepfamily. I felt Whitley’s pain of being abandoned by her father during the summer, while thinking of how the summer should have went. Whitley idolizes her father when we meet her, he’s one escape she has from her mother. Whitley’s mom always insults Whitley’s dad which Whitley doesn’t understand. I felt so bad for Whitley because neither of her parents were the best.
Unfortunately, this summer things have changed and her father’s constantly working unable to hang out with her and when he can, he doesn’t. I just wished her father would have talked with her. Whitley feels abandoned and confused as her father’s changed from her drinking friend to a man who’s appearance and personality has changed. I liked how Whitley’s soon to be stepmother reached out to her when her father wouldn’t.
I liked Whitley’s relationship with her older brother, Tracey. I was glad that her whole family wasn’t bad and she had someone to depend on. I liked that Tracey set Whitley straight about her dad. He knew more about his parent’s divorce than Whitley did and due to that, he understood what Whitley couldn’t. It was nice to see Whitley see her parents differently than she initially had. Some things wrapped up a little too nicely for my liking, but I liked there was still a somewhat unresolved issue.
Besides being family-centric, there’s a budding friendship when Whitley attempts to find a party by flirting with a guy. The guy, Harrison ends up being gay and Whitley’s unexpected friend. I loved Harrison. He was funny, loyal and he tried to help Whitley how he could. He was definitely one of the highlights and I wouldn’t mind a book revolving around him.
In addition to the family plot line and the friendship, there’s a taboo relationship evolving between Whitley and Nathan. I loved how Keplinger developed their relationship with each other. It’s extremely awkward at first, of course, then gets complicated and finally is resolved at the end.
Nathan was a great character without being the dull, perfect, more or less golden child to counter Whitley’s outlandish behavior. I liked reading about his past before meeting Whitley. It added an interesting amount of depth and surprise. Reading about Nathan was entertaining, he was a nice guy with some nerdy attributes and saw beyond Whitley’s tough exterior.
The relationship between Whitley and Nathan is one I’ve encountered only once before in the fictional show, Degrassi. I have to say that Keplinger did a lovely job at writing Whitley and Nathan’s relationship to not come across as disgusting or alarming.
Whitley’s interactions with Bailey were entertaining. I loved the contrast between Whitley and Bailey, who couldn’t be more innocent when she meets Whitley. Bailey’s about to be a freshman in high school and is so excited to have a new stepsister. It take a little bit for Whitley to warm up to Bailey, but once she does, she loves her.
I only saw a couple flaws in A Midsummer’s Nightmare. I thought the ending was wrapped up much too neatly like I mentioned. I wish some parts would have been expanded such as Whitley’s partying. Other than that, I loved it. A Midsummer’s Nightmare is a great story of flawed characters, love, friendship and family. It’s a novel I thoroughly enjoyed and I can’t wait to read Keplinger’s previous and futures works.
The scariest part about reading this book, is that I almost didn’t pick it up at the library. It was a last minute move. I had heard about A Midsummer’s Nightmare on the internet, but I didn’t care for the title and wasn’t completely sure what it was about. Once I read the summary, I knew I needed to read it. I’m so glad I did. A Midsummer’s Nightmare deals with so many topics that it was a fast read and I was quickly hooked. The characters were interesting from the lead Whitley, to her younger soon-to-be step sibling, to Harrison. A Midsummer’s Nightmare was a great read with plenty of character development, humor and storytelling.
Fans of Carmen’s plot in Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants and Hanna’s plot in Pretty Little Liars
Fans of sarcastic characters, witty remarks, party girls, dysfunctional families, family-centric, edgy topics, and not over-the-topc romance.