Mundie Moms

Friday, July 20, 2012

Book Review: A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

Published by: Poppy/Little Brown
Released on: June 5th, 2012
Source: book from publisher to review
3 stars: It's a good read
Purchase from: IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & NobleBooks-A-Million

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 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 -quoted from Goodreads

In true Kody Keplinger fashion she delivers another brutally honest, realistic book that tackles tougher issues that teens will both relate to and understand. Kody is an author who doesn't sugar coat her book's messages, and she creates stories that are gritty, emotional, and true to life. A Midsummer's Nightmare introduces readers to Whitley, a teen girl who's just graduated from high school and has been on the brink of self destructive course, as she acts out in hopes to get some sort of attention from her divorced parents, both of whom seem to be preoccupied with other things vs their own daughter. On top of that, Whitley is defiantly trying to figure out her place in the world, and most importantly her father's new family. 

Whitley's story is one I had a hard time with at first, because Whitely is a tough around the edges girl who just doesn't seem to care, about anything. She parties way too much, has had one too many one night stands, and is all around angry character. BUT, there's a reason for why she's doing what she does, and the hurt and pain that are behind these actions broke my heart for her. There's something about her that made me want to find out how what lied behind all those layers she built around herself. The mom side of me wanted to fix things for her and the other side of me knew she could find her way, no matter how long it took her. Lucky for her, she's got a few new people in life her help her come to her aid with things as well as help her get a handle on her new life. This book's secondary characters stole the show for me!

 Nathan, Harrison and even Whitley's soon to be step mother Sylvia were all characters who kept me hooked and invested with this story, when Whitley's character at first turned me off of the story. Which sounds silly right? I mean Whitely is the main character after all and this is her story. Huge props to Kody for creating such a complex character who I started out not a huge fan of, and by allowing me to see her change and grow as the story goes on through these other characters, she had me rooting for her before the end of the book. I truly enjoyed getting to know Nathan, Harrison and Sylvia, and seeing all they do for Whitley. They're brutally honest, realistic, loyal characters who shine during Whitley's less than stellar moments, which made me love them that much more. They genuinely cared for her, and helped her find her clearer path and come to turns with some pretty crappy things she has had to cope with one her own for the past few years. They're the kind of people you'd hope you had in your life. 

My favorite character by far in this story is Harrison. I adored him and admired the person he is and became in Whitley's life. The book's big turning point for me was during Whitley and Nathan's talk towards the end of the book. I felt like it was during this conversation that all of Whitley's walls finally started to crumble, allowing me to really see her and understand why she acted the way she did. Though I didn't agree with how she channeled her feelings, I understood her reasoning for doing all she did. I got a glimpse of that girl that Nathan saw weeks before. Despite Whitley being a very hard character for me to like or connect with up to this point, this book is full of some in-depth, well written secondary characters who's presence in Whitley's life kept me hooked on reading this book. It's through them that I got to see the Whitley they all loved. Oh Nathan.... what an amazing guy he is. He puts up with a lot, but like Harrison, he's another steady constant in Whitley's life. Talk about a twist! Kody throws in a surprising twist with him at the beginning of this book!

If you're a fan of Kody's books, I'd highly recommend picking this one. If you're a fan of realistic contemporaries with a bit of romance and a ton of character improvement, I'd say pick this one up. There is language, the f word, underage drinking, bullying, an attempted rape scene and a tastefully written sex scene in this book. I do want to note that Kody does such an awesome job with the way she tackles tougher subjects and most importantly bullying and labeling someone. She doesn't sugar coat the effects of such hatred, the importance of having someone/others there to talk to. She also doesn't shy away from describing the consequences of these issues, and her most important message centers around the attempted rape scene and labeling. Though this scene is horrifying, Kody wrote this scene in away that will effect each of her books readers in one way or another. I feel this book's messages are ones a lot of people will take to heart and pick up on.