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A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

Life pretty much sucks for Whitley Johnson, and it has for a very long time. All she’s hoping for is a nice summer with her dad before she goes away for college. But then she meets her dad’s new fiancé and her two kids, one of which was Whitley’s graduation one-night stand, and she realizes that a good summer might have been too much to ask for. Whitley doesn’t even begin to fit in with her dad’s picture perfect soon-to-be family, and just the thought of having to deal with the awkwardness with her almost stepbrother is too hard to stomach without a strong drink. And so Whitley does what she does best: she parties and she parties hard. Whitley is fine partying herself into a situation she won’t be able to fix, but she doesn’t realize that other people aren’t okay with that, people like her sweet and optimistic future stepsister or the best friend she’s ever had or Nathan, her future stepbrother who just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to her. With their help, Whitley has finally found a family, one that she loves and one that loves her back, just as she is.

I enjoyed Shut Out immensely and I loved The DUFF even more, but I have to say that Keplinger’s third novel A Midsummer’s Nightmare is even better than either or both of her first two books. Whitley is one heck of a screwed up protagonist, but that’s probably what makes her story even more compelling to read. She’s the girl who’s had to suffer through the worst part of every situation, whether about her dysfunctional family or a high school social status on her own terms, and the only thing that makes it even more horrible is that she’s had to do it on her own. It’s fascinating and utterly heartbreaking to watch Whitley struggle through what she thinks will be her worst summer while she’s torn between wanting to maintain her independence and admit that she just needs to be cared for. Keplinger’s strong character development makes it impossible for the reader to look away from Whitley’s story, even for a moment, because Whitley is such an unlikable and unlikely heroine, in the best way, of course. A Midsummer’s Nightmare is a well written, incredibly powerful story sure to have readers alternately in tears and thankful for all the good things in their lives.

Fans of Keplinger’s first two novels, The DUFF and Shut Out, will not want to miss her spectacular third, nor will fans of Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee, Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert, and Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz.

Rating: 4.75

Review copy from author Kody Keplinger

2 munch(es) :

Yiling said...

I really can't wait to read A Midsummer's nightmare now! I loved the DUFF and I hope that AMN is better just like you said.

Espana said...

The different dynamic relationships in this book alone are relateable to many people, there is at least one relationship in this book that you have to feel a pull towards and can relate to, it's inevitable. Moving to a small town and being thrown a huge surprise as all of this is a lot for Whitley and the way she handles it at first is just her acting out of anger. But by the end of the book she begins to discover who she is and what she needs to do to make all her mistakes right again.

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