Review: A Midsummer's Nightmare

A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger
Release Date ~ June 5, 2012
Poppy ~ Hachette Book Group
ISBN13: 9780316084222
ARC received from HBG Canada

Goodreads Synopsis:
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 has this way of writing about ideas we take for granted and then turning your entire world upside down. Her books are laugh-out-loud funny and really appeal to my sense of humour with their tongue-in-cheek lines.

I knew that I loved Shut Out enough to read her next book, but A Midsummer's Nightmare is the book that sealed the deal for me and convinced me I'll read whatever Kody writes next. They aren't typically the books I'd choose for myself based off of cover and synopsis alone (I only read Shut Out because of the Greek-inspired story) and that's exactly what I love about them - how unexpected these books are for me.

  1. Whitley is not your archetypal YA heroine:

    Every so often, I'll read a book with a girl who's acting out in rebellion in one way or another or is rather jaded for some reason. Very rarely do I read about a character that doesn't feel like they're trying too hard to do this, or who come across as kinda bratty. Whitley is one of those rare gems. She's the very definition of cynicism. She has a complicated love life - but doesn't whine about it. You kind of hate her at first, until those layers start peeling back - because she's the quintessential onion, like Shrek. I feel like the Catcher in the Rye comparison is a fair and good one.
  2. Cute nerdy crush? CHECK:
    I know I can't be the only girl who swoons a little at a cute boy who loves his Star Wars. And other sci fi fun! Nathan was a sweetheart and a half - very Cricket à la Lola and the Boy Next Door. And I appreciated that he really grew as a character all on his own, and it wasn't all about Whitney's maturity and changes. Because frankly, he does some really stupid things.
  3. Highlights issues many books shy away from:

    What happens when you get a girl who uses a guy for selfish reasons? Just read Whitley's story. We always hear about the guy using the girl, but I thought this was some very poignant role reversal. And some binge drinking issues that don't get talked about as much as other problems do. I love that Kody never shies away from hard topics. Love, love, love it.
A Midsummer's Nightmare is far from a light, flawless little story. Quite honestly? It's extremely heartbreaking. This is the story of some young people that very rarely gets shared so openly. But I can understand why some readers may not enjoy it, because it could be very hard to relate to at the beginning when Whitley is heavy into her partying lifestyle. Few will empathize, and some will sympathize, but I'm aware a number of readers just won't get it.

But for those of us who do get it? It'll rock your world.


Christina said...

Her covers so do not appeal to me, but I've really enjoyed both Keplinger books I've read so far, and I thought Midsummer's Nightmare was pretty much perfect.

I LOVED that this one was about a bad girl and a sweet, nerdy, innocent guy, at least he was in some ways. What a needed departure from the usual.

Alicia said...

I really enjoyed the author's other books, and I just got this one too. It's good to know that her writing is still charming :).

ChristasBooks said...

I wasn't a huge fan of Shut Out but I didn't hate it either, so I'm kinda wavering about whether or not I should pick this one up. The cute nerdy crush might help...

Jesse said...

Kody's books are gritty in a way. They tackle tough topics and gives us heroines that aren't always the most likable girls, but by the end I'm always blown away. I can't believe I still haven't read this book. Great review!

Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

Ash said...

This was my first ever Kody Keplinger book and definitely won't be my last. I was just blow away by how much I loved this one, it was nothing like what I thought it was going to be.

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