Saturday, June 02, 2012

Review: A Midsummer’s Nightmare

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I received this book for free from Hachette Book Group Canada in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A Midsummer’s NightmareA Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger
Published by Poppy on June 5th, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Hachette Book Group Canada
Buy on Amazon

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.

After hearing so much about Kody Keplinger, I finally took the plunge and picked this one up – it will not be my last. It may be a bit formulaic, but I enjoyed the characters immensely, and Whitley’s story is full of drama, attitude, and misgivings that makes it a real page turner.

Whitley’s constant partying and flirting has given her quite the reputation, and her only vacation from all of this has turned out to be more of a nightmare. Whitley’s problems are intense. She’s the kind of character that is not necessarily likeable as she makes dumb, reckless choices and complains incessantly. Strangely, however, I didn’t find this irritating; her less than endearing qualities is what makes the story all the more appealing. It gets us to care, to hope that she can come out of it unscathed. She’s got a great, compelling voice that leads us to understand her behaviour even when we don’t approve of it. She’s battling a lot of issues that keep piling up on her; partying. drinking, meaningless hookups is how she escapes her inner demons. I found her emotions to be very raw and genuine, making her easy to connect and sympathize with.

I also enjoyed the side characters a great deal: Fabulous and supporting friend, Harrison; adorable, caring Bailey; geeky, sweet Nathan; even her dad who is largely present by his absence. These people are just as empowering, just as realistically flawed as Whitley, providing us with genuine cast of supporting characters who develop and grow throughout the story as well.

As I mentioned, the plot can seem a bit formulaic. Lashing out, craving parental attention, hitting rock bottom and bouncing back, with everything resolved nicely with a bow at the end. Regardless of its predictability, the journey is poignant, thrilling, and awfully romantic. I was surprised at what started out being hugely family oriented, the story ended up revolving mostly around the romance: An impractical, but impassioned romance. At the beginning Nathan seems very bland and I had a hard time taking hold of his personality. Was he a jock, a geek, someone who parties incessantly, someone tame? As the book moves along, however, we get to know how very atypical of a guy he is. And easily the most warmhearted, kind soul in Whitley’s life. The romance itself emits plenty of chemistry, but I’m not sure I was ever truly comfortable with the unorthodox situation. The family seemed to not make much of it either, and we didn’t dwell on any future circumstances – the ending left me wanting to know more about the ramifications of this relationship. But as it’s meant to be a more breezy summer read I simply rolled with it. Weird situation aside, it’s got plenty of swoon-worthy goodness!

It’s always risky to write about such strong, controversial topics. Teenage issues can be quite serious and a lot of authors don’t want to go too far down that road. I’m very impressed by how Kody addresses it. She wrote an intense, captivating novel with real problems that teenagers can relate to, all the while leaving it into an effortless read.


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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29 Responses to “Review: A Midsummer’s Nightmare”

  1. Nicola

    Awesome review Giselle! I’m been thinking about getting this one and I think I might. It sounds like an interesting read! 🙂

  2. Jac

    I love when a predictable book can pull it off and still be fabulous, and it sounds like that’s what this one does! I’m going to have to give it a shot, I’m with you though – I’ve never read anything by Kody Keplinger but heard nothing but raves about her writing.

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  3. REBECCA@ReadingWishes

    Just finished The Duff and I LOVED it! A Midsummer’s Nightmare arrived a day or two ago and since I’m on a Kody Keplinger love-fest so I’ll be starting it next! Great review, I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  4. Amy

    I have been wanting to read this one. I requested it a bit too early and was told to re-request closer to release and I never did. Great review. It sounds like a book I would really enjoy. I will have to get it eventually.

  5. Nick

    Lovely review, Giselle.
    I loved Keplinger’s 2 other books and I’m determined to read this one as well. 🙂
    I’m really glad you enjoyed this one !

  6. bookworm105

    Can’t wait to read this one. The title just draws you in. This does sound hectic but i would stil love to read this.

    Awesome review! =D

  7. Zoey Talbon

    Hmm. I’ve been really excited about this for a while, and I love Kody Keplinger, but I can’t say that Whitley sounds very appealing to me, even if you did like her 😛 I have faith in Kody Keplinger, though, so I guess I’ll find out. Great review, Giselle!

  8. Julie

    I love this review. 🙂 I can’t wait to read this. Kody Keplinger is amazing. It is sort of awkward that she has a romantic relationship with her step-brother, but I suppose it’s better than an actual brother, right? Always look on the bright side. 😀

  9. Busy Bookblogger

    Thanks for the review! This one has been on my to-look-into list for a while and I think I might move it to my to-read list. With you on the weird factor-I have a step-brother and um, ew. Sounds like an interesting storyline though so I will probably pick it up. 🙂

  10. Rachel

    Wonderful review Giselle! I was already looking forward to this, as I loved The Duff. I’m glad you enjoyed it even if it was a bit formulaic. I always love a nicely wrapped up story so I’m okay with that. I know more cynical people don’t like stories that can be a little improbable but a lot of times I’m reading to escape reality. I don’t want sad and tragic, we get enough of it in real life. I usually don’t want much of it in my entertainment. There are exceptions though. 🙂

  11. Sam

    Formulaic or not, this sounds like a great read! I adore characters who leave an impression and it sure sounds like this set of characters are good enough for that. Amazing review, Giselle! I’m glad this was a great read for you. 🙂

  12. Eileen

    I just got the Duff by Kody Keplinger and I’m so excited to start it! 🙂 I just want A Midsummer’s Nightmare even more now that I know Whitley’s a broken character and just wants her parents to pay attention to her. I can totally relate to that and I can’t wait for this to come out so I can get it! 🙂

  13. Vegan YA Nerds

    I haven’t read anything by Kody but like you, I am hoping to start with this book. I like even though Whitney sounds like a bit of a whinger, you were still able to like her. It sounds realistic to me because there are so many whingy people, not every main character can be nice, selfless and brilliant.

  14. Ashley R

    Fantastic review! Kody Keplinger always does so well addressing real topics in teenagers today, and I’m glad to know she keeps it up with this one, too. Can’t wait to read it!

  15. Shooting Stars Mag

    Great review. I really want to read this one. I keep hearing awesome things. I’m glad you were able to enjoy it despite the “predictable” nature of the plot, so to speak. I loved The Duff by Kody, and I really want to read Shut Out as well. 🙂


  16. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    I just bought The Duff by this author and have heard great things about Shut Out. I like that she does deal with sex, drugs, and a lot of real heavy teenage issues. I know those things filled my thoughts as a teenager so I like when author’s aren’t afraid to plunge into deeper territories. I can understand Whitney’s need to act out and I’m curious to see how she develops. Falling for your future step brother is a sticky situation. Although it would be rather convenient 😉 lol But might make things around the house awkward.

  17. ShreShre

    I love the review! I’m reading this now, and I totally agree! It’s also kind of an escape from all those supernatural books coming out 😉

  18. Shortskie

    I have not read anything by Kody but after reading your review and hearing so many things about her past books, I’m tempted to dive into one of her books right this minute. Great review, Giselle!

  19. Beverley

    Fab review! I really want to read this book after hearing about it from another blogger and your review makes me think I’d enjoy it 😀 The premise is quite interesting and I like books where I can relate to the problems and issues.

    New follower 🙂 Loving your blog!
    Beverley @ A Reading Daydreamer

  20. Camille Picott

    I always wondered how to deal with sex in YA. I can’t think of a single YA book I’ve read where it’s addressed. May have to check this out to see how it’s done!