A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger
“Anger was less painful than abandonment.”
It’s official, Kody Keplinger is awesome! I picked up this book after meeting the author and overheard her telling my friend Anna that this book was her favorite one that she’s written. So of course I had to read it and see why. While I didn’t love this as much as The DUFF, I can see why it would be special to her because this book packed quite a few emotional punches.
A Midsummer’s Nightmare starts off with the main character Whitley waking up after a one night stand at a graduation party. Whitley may fool around a bit, but it’s rare when she goes all the way with a guy, so when he expresses interest in getting to know her, she gets the heck out of there. Soon, Whitley is off to spend the summer with her dad, away from her toxic shit-talking mother and she’s incredibly excited to get some quality time with her dad. Instead, she discovers her father has a fiance she didn’t know about, and two soon to be step siblings. Even worse, the fiance’s son was her one night stand. Now what was supposed to be a fun summer is one navigating new people and relationships while her father just drops off the radar.
“I was supposed to be at the condo, wasting time on the beach, just Dad and me, figuring out college and my life and spending time together. Instead, I was in a new house with new people – including a future stepbrother who’d seen me naked.”
There’s something about the way Keplinger writes that just speaks to me, I can pick up her books and reading 100 pages in one sitting and not even blink an eye. I become engrossed in her stories and cannot get enough. Keplinger writes complicated and strong female characters with issues, just the way I like my heroines. Whitley was a great example of how much being a child of divorce can fuck someone up, and she had trouble trusting anyone around her because she learned to never rely on anyone, that they just let you down.
One of my favorite parts of the story was the tentative sisterly relationship between Whitley and Bailey. It’s so beyond obvious that Bailey adores Whitley, even though Whitley’s a total bitch to her. But I loved seeing Bailey slowly break down Whitley’s walls and worm her way into a friendship. Their dynamic was so fun to watch, the good girl looking up to the bad girl.
“Go take out the trash, Potty Mouth.’
She laughed and headed into the kitchen. ‘Pissed!’ she shouted as she walked through the dining room. ‘Shit! Damn!”
Nathan was also a decent book boyfriend. Not as great as Wesley, but he was there for Whitley when she needed him, and he saw through all of the walls she had built and saw her for her true self. And he genuinely cared about her, whether they were step-siblings, friends or more. That’s a keeper right there.
And Whitley’s parents were fucking awful! I mean, the majority of the angst in this book came from the fact that her parents were selfish assholes who only cared about themselves and never factored in how they were affecting their daughter. UGH! They made me so mad!!!
A great, angsty young adult book for those of you out there who want to be absorbed into a story. It kind of reminded me of YA Tijan, just without all the weird political BS.