Author: Kody Keplinger
Release Date: June 5th, 2012
Source: ARC received at NCTE
Summary (From Goodreads): 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.
Kody Keplinger knows how to write engrossing stories. I probably should have waited to read A Midsummer’s Nightmare until summer break started because I didn’t want to stop reading it! I loved The Duff and really enjoyed Shut Out, but A Midsummer’s Nightmare is now my favorite.
I’m impressed with Kody Keplinger’s ability to take touchy subjects like Whitley’s and handle them with so much care. Whitley drinks and parties too much, and often fools around with too many guys. It’s earned her a reputation. In the beginning of the book, Whitley doesn’t care all that much about what she does or what people think of her. It’s not until she’s spending the summer with her dad and his new family in a new small town that Whitley really starts to second-guess how she’s acting. Kody Keplinger didn’t write a novel preaching to teens about how to behave, but it’s easy to learn what not to do by watching Whitley’s actions.
Whitley isn’t always the most likeable character because she’s so self-destructive, but it’s also easy to see how much potential she has. Is her road to changing her ways an easy one? No, and it shouldn’t be. If Kody Keplinger had written a book where the protagonist becomes a new and better person with the snap of your fingers then she wouldn’t have written a believable book. I know people like Whitley and I know how difficult it was for them to see what they were doing to themselves and change that behavior. I appreciate Keplinger for writing such a real character.
Much of Whitley’s anger and actions stem from the dissolution of her parents’ marriage and her relationship with them since the divorce. I couldn’t stand either of her parents when I was reading A Midsummer’s Nightmare, and I’m sure that was her point when writing this book. It’s apparent that both her mom and dad care about her, but it’s also apparent that both of them are too self-involved to care as much as they should. The sad fact is, there are too many parents out there who aren’t involved in their children’s lives. Kudos to Kody Keplinger for tackling two big issues in one book!
If you haven’t read The Duff or Shut Out yet, I recommend starting with A Midsummer’s Nightmare. Kody Keplinger is a talented young author in the YA world, and her writing is only getting stronger. I can’t wait to read her next book!