Wednesday 16 July 2014

Book Review: A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger.

Product details:
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books.
Paperback, 340 pages.
Release date: February 6th 2014.
Rating:  4½ out of 5.
Source: Received from publisher for review.

 Sun, sex, and ... step-brothers.

Another sizzling story from Hamilton High.

Whitley Johnson's dream summer of shopping, partying and tanning on the beach has just turned into a nightmare. Because Dad didn't tell her he doesn't live by the beach anymore, or that he's no longer a bachelor. He's picked up and moved to a tiny, lame town called Hamilton and gotten himself a fiance. A fiance whose son just happens to be what's-his-name from last week's drunken graduation party one night stand. Just freakin' great.

As if the summer couldn't get worse, Dad seems to forget Whitley's even there. She doesn't fit in with his perfect new country club family, and Whitley does what any kid lucky enough to go all summer unsupervised does: she parties. Hard.

So hard that she doesn't even notice the good things right under her nose: a younger future step-sister 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, sweet guy who isn't her step brother (yet) and who actually seems to care for her. It will take all three of them to convince her that they're not phoneys, and to get Whitley to get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

From the author of The Duff comes another Hamilton High story.

Party-girl Whitley Johnson’s summer starts with a bang (literally, ha!) when she wakes up next to a hot stranger.  The stranger - Whitley can’t remember his name - wants to make small talk and exchange phone numbers, but Whitley’s not into that. For her, the morning after the night before is all about sleeping off her hangover, and she certainly doesn’t want this guys digits because she doesn’t plan on ever seeing him again. Although, she has to admit – through bleary eyes – that he is kinda cute. Pretty damn hot, even.

So begins A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger, an author about whom I’ve heard all good things, but that I’ve never read until now.  Yes, yes, I know EVERYBODY has read The Duff. Well, everybody but me.  I plan to remedy that soon.

Whitley is the kind of issue-laden heroine that it can be difficult to warm to.  She’s snarky, she’s bratty and she’s acts out ALL THE TIME.  Whitley does things that she’s not exactly proud of, and her answer to that is not to face her demons head on, but to go out some more and party them away. In short, Whitley has a problem. And that problem all stems from her parents’ divorce years before which left her mom broken, her dad distant, and Whitley, afloat – left to her own devices. Which all sounds like fun, except that it’s not for Whitley since she has no one to call her out for her misbehaviour, no one to impose any sort of constraint on her out-of-control partying. In short, she has no one who is really there for her.

But at least she has summer at the lake to look forward to. Every summer it’s just Whitley and her dad shooting the breeze and drinking beers by the lake. Except this summer is different. This summer it turns out that Whitley’s dad has sold the lake house. And not only that, but he’s getting married. And guess what, the guy Whitley hooked up with at that party, well, he’s only her future step-brother. By the way, she’s knows his name now: it’s Nathan.  #Awkward for our girl Whitley.

I loved A Midsummer’s Nightmare. As I was reading this I was all like: why haven’t I read Kody Keplinger before now? Why?! I remember a few years back there was a lot of buzz around The Duff, but somehow I just didn’t get around to reading it. As I was reading this one, I really, really felt like I was missing out on all the inside gossip, because I know that certain settings and characters from The Duff appear in this book (in a Sarah Dessen sort of way). And I hate missing out like that, so I’ve bumped The Duff right to the top of my TBR now.  And I’ll be first in line to buy Keplinger’s next book. No more missing out for me!

So, why did I love A Midsummer’s Nightmare? Lots of reasons.  First of all, this book has a great opening chapter. It hooked me right from the start; those opening pages told me that a summer spent with Whitley Johnson was going to be one wild, often dangerous, ride.   I must note that I liked Whitley right from the get go. I know I said that Whitley is the type of character that some readers might find difficult to like – and I don’t think everyone will get along with her -but much like Reagan in Emery Lord’s Open Road Summer, I just got Whitley right from the start.  Whitley’s character is so well drawn, as are the rest of the characters in this book – they read very real and genuine – and Keplinger has a perfect voice for YA, one that never judges, one that just tells it like it is.

Of course, Whitley’s summer with her dad, far from being the chilled out summer of previous years, is something of a nightmare. And don’t get me started on Whitley’s dad.  I mean, he doesn’t even tell his daughter that he’s getting married, and oh, by the way, I sold the house you love and you’re staying with my new family for the summer. Who could blame a girl for acting out – even if Whitley does go a little overboard with the whole drinking, and the whole hooking up, and the rest…But it’ll all be OK in the end, right? Maybe not – Whitley and Nate are not exactly getting along: in fact her former hook up acts like he wishes she were never born. Worse still, he insists on calling her Whit. ALL THE TIME. And the town that her dad now lives in – Hamilton –total boresville!

A Midsummer’s Nightmare is perfect summer reading, and it’s certainly made it on to my list of favourite summer reads for 2014.  For fans of Sarah Dessen, Morgan Matson and Emery Lord, A Midsummer’s Nightmare combines a snarky heroine with a sa-woony hero – Nate is all kinds of adorable – and a brilliant supporting cast; I was a fan of the fabulously fashionable Harrison and Nate’s all-knowing-but-very-sweetly-innocent-underneath-it-all sister Bailey, in particular. 

This book comes highly recommended from me and I can’t wait to read more from Kody Keplinger in the very near future.


  1. I love perfect summer books, this one sounds really great!

  2. This was also my first Kody Keplinger read. I loved it! I agree that Whitley can be hard for some people to like, but I found her personality likable and compelling. Lovely review!

  3. YES Isn't Kody Keplinger amazing? So happy you also realized this now:)) I absolutely adored THE DUFF and I hope you'll find time for it soon!

    I have a copy of Midsummer lying around but haven't read it yet;( Seeing your excitement makes me push it up the pile:)

  4. ChristinaBookAddict16 July 2014 at 12:44

    Ah! I love this review. You have me so excited to get my hands on a copy. You know we have the same taste in reads, so I am sure I will love this one. It sounds perfect to read while on vacation. I passed over The Duff too and now I am intrigued by that one as well. Going to add both to my TBR list…you have me convinced! Great review, Leanna!

  5. I see such consistent good reviews of this author's books---I seriously need to try one of them! This one sounds good, I like when a genuine YA voice come through.

  6. It is! Definitely one to add to your summer reading list! :)

  7. Yes, I thought that Whitley's character was very well drawn - very real. Have you read Open Road Summer by Emery Lord? The MC in that book reminded me of Whitley a little bit. That one is another great read!

  8. This one is so good, Danny - you must read it! :) I plan on buying a copy of The Duff soon. The first chapter of that one was included in my copy of A Midsummer's Nightmare and I'm hooked already!

  9. I think you would love this one, Christina! Perfect summer reading (with a sa-woony guy!) :)

  10. The voice is perfect in this book. I think you'd really enjoy this one, Becky! I can't wait to read more from Keplinger.

  11. I haven't. I'll have to check it out!

  12. This book sounds perfect! I hope it come soon in Brazil! Loving yout blog

    Heitor Botti

  13. Oh yes, you really need to read The Duff! Especially with the movie coming out soon. Can't wait for that! A Midsummer's Nightmare is my favourite book my Kody Keplinger and I'm waiting for her next YA to finally be released. Love her! Great review. Now everyone, go and pick up a copy!!

  14. I didn't know there was a movie of The Duff! I'll definitely have to check that one out!


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