A Midsummer’s Nightmare
Author: Kody Keplinger
Publication: June 5th, 2012 by Poppy
Page count: 291 (Paperback)
Genre: YA – Contemporary
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.
It seems like I’m craving for a good contemporary these days, and The Midsummer’s Nightmare is no exception. This book even exceeded my expectation with its sarcastic main character and adequately-paced development.
How the characters are written plays a major role for my enjoyment and I think it was perfectly executed in A Midsummer’s Nightmare. The first page immediately grabbed my attention and it didn’t take long before I found myself fully invested with the story. Whitley’s voice felt raw and real and I was really enjoying her perspective. Having to go through her parents’ divorce at a young age, sure she was such a pessimistic girl in the beginning, but the way Keplinger wrote her character made me able to resonate well with her.
And the thing that had me swooning – the romance. I mean, GAHHH THE CHEMISTRY. THE INTERACTIONS. THE WITTY BANTERS. Love interest that isn’t a complete jerk, nerdy and athletic at the same time. It has everything I ask for a romance. I giggled every time these two appeared on the same page. I grinned as I read their relationship bloomed into something more than they had expected it to be. Such a refreshing read from my tiring school life.
The side characters also felt three-dimensional and the interactions with them also seemed natural. Her friendship with Harrison was note-worthy. I really liked how such a good friend Harrison was, helping her when she was in need. Bailey was like a ray of sunshine, the little angel Whitley couldn’t resist.
And of course, the thing touched my heart deeply – the family aspect. At the start of the story, Whitley’s family was dysfunctional enough. Her mother was always absent in her life and the only thing she looked forward to was the summer with her father. But the last summer before college was different and she was taken aback when she found out her father was getting married. I liked how Whitley’s perspective of her new family changed as time went on and she found herself accepting that they were her new home. Her journey of discovering a new family and realizing something about her other one was definitely the highlight of this book. I think the ending concluded the story well. Misunderstandings were cleared and the confrontation between Whitley and her father made me tear up a bit.
Anyway, I had zero complaints about this book. From beginning till the end, A Midsummer’s Nightmare was purely satisfying. It’s never too late for a summer-y book and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for meaningful contemporary with sassy protagonist and an emphasis on family relationship.