Friday, December 7, 2012
A Midsummer's Nightmare
Source: Won an ARC from Once Upon a Twilight
I've really appreciated Kody Keplinger's frank and challenging portrayals of young women-they're not sweet, innocent, bland girls. They're real, making mistakes, living life, growing and changing. After liking The Duff and Shut Out, I knew I'd want to read her latest.
It opens jarringly with Whitley walking away from her latest hookup, giddy about spending the last summer before college with her beloved father and away from her shrewish mother who never got over the divorce. Except her father has a surprise for her: a fiance with two kids, sweet Bailey who immediately gloms onto Whitley as a much-desired older sister and hot Nathan, who in a surprise twist for Whitley, is the aforementioned hookup. Another surprise is their cozy house in a small suburban community, claustrophobic and worlds away from her father's bachelor pad. To cope with these starting developments, Whitley turns to booze and boys, her old friends. But in this small town, this draws considerable attention and censure, turning this into Whitley's midsummer nightmare.
I loved Whitley so much-her blunt honest voice clicked with me immediately and propelled me quickly through this delightful read. I honestly wish I had read this over the summer instead of this fall because it would be a great book to read by the pool or at the beach. It has a strong voice, a summer setting, and a lot of funny moments that made it impossible to put down. But it wasn't just Whitley that I loved. I adored Bailey and Nathan (which is probably my favorite boy's name right now thanks to The Wanted) as well as a friend for Whitley named Harrison, who apparently featured in The Duff but who I don't remember at all.
Though I really loved this book, I did have two small-ish issues. Now I'm not icked out by Whitley and Nathan being stepsiblings due to my deep love of "Clueless" (although technically they were ex-stepsiblings at that time) but I would have enjoyed a bit more swoon between the two even though it probably wouldn't have compared to Bianca and Wesley, who have a cameo in this book!, in The Duff. The other issue was in regards to her parents, who have a lot of failings in their characters. Although Whitley starts to confront those issues, I didn't feel like we got enough resolution and I would have liked a more solid ending there.
Overall: Definitely my favorite Keplinger (so far)-recommended for people who like fun contemporaries, complicated female leads, and the other Keplinger books!