Friday, June 15, 2012

Book Review: A Midsummer's Nightmare

Author: Kody Keplinger
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Poppy

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 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.

At first I did not know what to expect from this book. When I saw the word “nightmare” and the girl’s worried look I thought maybe this might have a horror story behind it. Ok, so I was wrong on that accusation, but the main character does face some type of nightmare and that I was sure of. The word “summer” always draws me in and I know it is so bad to get sucked into a book because of its front cover, but I just can’t help it. I mean it 90 degrees outside so of course I am going to want to read anything involved with summer. I always like to feel as related to the books that I read as I can so that I can put myself in the character’s shoes.  

Let me just say first of all that this book is filled with the consumption of alcohol by under aged adolescents and a lot of partying on the main character’s part. The story follows Whitley Johnson and the summer after her high school graduation before she heads off to the University of Kentucky. Whitley is lost and confused at this stage in her life and uses alcohol and parties to fill the void that she feels within herself. The story picks up on the morning after graduation when Whitley wakes up with a major hangover and then carries on from there. Whitley appears as a bit of a mess at first and sometimes I found myself questioning her motives. As the story progresses you begin to understand more and more about Whitley’s situation and it starts to tie together.

The thing that I loved most about Whitley’s story is that this does and will continue to happen in every day, ordinary life. Teenagers get mixed up in a lot of things that they really have no business involving themselves with. They consume alcohol underage and they have sex with multiple partners before they are even out of high school most of the time. Even though this is a very controversial topic, it is one that needs to be addressed. Kody’s writing demonstrates almost exactly the thought patterns and daily concerns of an average college student just out of high school. Whitley is caught up in a world where the only peace and solace she receives comes from being intoxicated. So many kids are the products of divorce and Whitley is one of them.

She is angry with her current situation which involves the divorce of her parents and the marriage of father to a woman that she has never met before. At times I really wanted to scream and yell at her father. Why did he handle situations with Whitley the way that he did? Whitley stays every summer with her father is his condo and she assumes this one will be just like all the others. She is wrong! He springs his brand new family on her without even a heads up! Part of me understands Whitley’s frustrations with him. He was not one of my favorite characters. Neither of her parents ever really had the right advice to give her in my opinion, but she learns to be brave and eventually tells them how she really feels.

I can see a lot of people not liking Whitley because of the decisions that she makes and a lot of her choices are not the best, but she learns from her mistakes and I have to give her credit for that! She learns to let people into her life as well, which was part of her problem in the first place. I fell in love with the secondary characters like Harrison; her new friend who guides her fashion, boys, and how to be a lady! I also loved her relationship with Bailey who is going to be her new stepsister. Bailey is younger than Whitley, only a freshman, and at first she annoys Whitley half to death. By the end of the book Bailey is the only person that Whitley cannot say “no” to. Whitley realizes that she is responsible for this girl because Bailey chooses, unbeknownst to others, to look up to Whitley as a role model for her future high school years.

Keplinger writes a solid and intense story! I was hooked from page one and I always love those type of books. There was no reading two or three chapters still trying to get hooked on the story. NO, it came right away! Whitley was a chaotic hurricane at times and she made plenty of mistakes, but I love Whitley and I wouldn’t mind hearing more of her story! I have to admire her because it’s the people that hit rock bottom and get back up again that really have the potential to better themselves and those around them. Thanks for an awesome story, Kody!


  1. Great Review! Midsummer's nightmare sounds like the perfect sitting on the beach, summery book. Hopefully I'll be able to get to it at some point this summer.

    *new linky follower :)

  2. I thought this was a horror book too, I guess the cover should have clued me in ! I'm glad you got hooked, I've heard great things about Keplinger