Title: A Midsummer’s Nightmare
Author: Kody Keplinger
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.
I hear a lot of great things about Kody Keplinger’s debut, The DUFF (positive sex message!!! – OK, maybe not with that many exclamation marks, but that’s the gist of most praise I’ve heard for it), but I wasn’t as impressed as I expected to be. However, I wanted to continue giving Keplinger a chance to wow me, or at least entertain me enough to keep reading, thus I plan to read her second book and have now read her third book. Unfortunately, she has yet to really impress me.
Whitley, the main character, just seemed quite over the top to me. She whined a lot, judged other people a lot (even the main character from The DUFF, who made a cameo appearance in this book), and she irritated me a lot. I was definitely not her biggest fan from the start, and it stayed that way throughout the whole book.
Again, there was a fairly sex-positive vibe to this book – Whitley isn’t ashamed at sleeping with her future stepbrother because it makes her a “slut,” but because she’s stuck living with him now. However, much like the previous book I’ve read from Keplinger, not putting girls down for having sexual lives does not make it a girl-positive book. Whitley is much too judgmental and mentally cruel to most, if not all, of the girls around her to make this a book that respects all girls. She continuously makes fun of the pretty, blonde, preppy, popular clique of girls that make an appearance or two, and the characters themselves never really get the chance to evolve beyond the criticisms.
Overall, this book just didn’t really impress me. I was interested enough to find out what happened, but I would have preferred to do so with a different protagonist. I still plan to check out Keplinger’s second book, Shut Out, but I kind of doubt that I’ll keep giving her the benefit of the doubt unless I hear raves about one of her books or it sounds interesting.