Date of Publication: June 5 2012
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.
Kody Keplinger secured her spot on a very elite list with The Duff: it was a list of contemporary authors whose books I would read. I assure you, this is impressive because I tend to avoid contemporary unless it is super popular.
Three books from her later, The Duff is still my favourite by far but A Midsummer's Nightmare was still entertaining. There is just one issue though: I want a little more depth.
I feel like Kody Keplinger wrote about the issues truthfully and honestly did a lot of things right, but her ending was too perfect for me. I needed some more struggles and steps forwards and backwards for this book to become much more meaningful. I could connect and there were a few parts where I honestly teared up. Whitley's relationship with her father and mother, especially in terms of the divorce and the confusion of family resonated with me. I just wish the story went further than fixing a lot.
It's a feel good story. Whitley is a party animal and what was supposed to be a one night fling after graduation ends up being something more after Whitley learns that the guy she had sex with is going to be her stepbrother. Whoops. Let me begin my saying I haven't read Shakespeare's a Midsummer Night's Nightmare so I have nothing to compare this book to. That being said, I thought it was charming and nice. It was on the verge of something more but ended up being short because of an ending and resolution that felt rushed (at least to me).
Anyway, I liked the characters. Whitley had this bad girl, DGAF attitude going on for her and she was believable with just the right amount of lovable and redeemable qualities. I can't say any one character stole the show in any way- they were all nice and complementary. Nathan, for example, was sweet and supportive but I never really fell for him. I knew he was good for Whitley and I guess that's it. Whitley had many relationships and there was a great sense of each, but I still would have liked to go deeper (maybe that's just me).
The plot kept me entertained, even if it was too feel good sometimes. It wasn't much of a scene stealer though and was pretty basic in general. To be honest, the story didn't feel all that new to me and maybe this book didn't live up to my hopes.
One thing I did like was the writing style. It fit Whitley perfectly and I could hear her voice in my head as she complained about waking up in the morning and God awful small town Hamilton. There were just a few little details like getting a sunburn and one interaction with the neighbour that stuck with me as perfectly Whitley. Her character did come alive in the writing, although she won't make it to my favourites.
The more I write this review, the more I realize the ending did impact me a lot. See, Whitley is supposed to have this sort of epiphany and maybe I'm jaded and pessimistic but I thought it was a little too sudden and spoiled some parts of the story significantly.
This doesn't stop me from liking the the book. I thought it was enjoyable and maybe you'll disagree and like the ending much more than I did. 3 stars.