“Screw nightmares. I was waking up.”
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.
For local readers buy your copy here: National Book Store
Whitley Johnson is a pretty wild girl. Since her parents separated, she began acting out by partying and drinking. But no one really noticed which equally mean to her as no one really cares. From then on she started pushing people away from her so she won’t get hurt anymore. If there’s one thing she treasure so much is the summers she spend with her father. It’s the only time of the year that she see her dad, and she always looking forward for it. But this summer, she is shock to find out that she won’t spending time alone with her father, because her dad got a new fiancée with two children of her own. The alone time she’s expecting with her dad suddenly become a nightmare, not only because her dad seems to forget about her but also there is the living complications brought by her last wild night out.
Whitley is a kind of character that is quiet challenging. She can be very difficult to like but somehow I cannot hate her. Even she is being pessimistic which I normally dislike for a character I still root for her. Same as she can’t say “no” to her future step-sister, Bailey, I can’t managed not to care for her. It’s like her difficult side is also part of her charm. She is a troublesome teenager with some bad habits, which can be easily blame to her broken family status. Though, it’s not really an excuse to do some of the things she do, it easy to understand where she is coming from. It is easy to feel for her or at least see life from her perspective.
Nathan on the other hand is very easy to love. He is considerate and understanding. I like his open-minded and straight forward personality. He isn’t afraid to say what he thinks and f eels. It’s really a breath of air from those mysterious leading man characters from YA fictions. I just don’t get much why the author need to push him to be nerdy, when clearly he doesn’t fit the bill and he doesn’t have to be one.
Then there’s Bailey, Whitley’s soon to be younger step-sister. The bond between her and Whitley is cute and sweet. Of course, it doesn’t really started pretty well, there are lots of issues and misunderstanding because Whitley is so good in pushing people out of her lives. But Bailey doesn’t back out. She really wants a sister and loves Whitley so much that she continue to give Whitley chances. She always forgive her even at times that you thought she cannot, which is very heartwarming. I enjoy reading their interactions – the way she makes Whitley fold is endearing. She reminds me so much of my nephews, the way I can’t say no to them even I’m really irritated or frustrated. Kids are easily my weakness.
Harrison, Whitley’s self-proclaimed (because Whitney doesn’t really do friend thing) gay friend is so funny. Everyone should have a friend like him.
As for the story, without being heavy dramatic, this book deals with some tough and real issues. Family drama, neglection, online bullying, and even forbidden romance. Normally, I would freak out reading romance between step-siblings, even technically they are not blood related. It’s not only awkward but also unacceptable. But somehow the author managed to get around with this sensitive issue with ease. For some reason I didn’t find Nathan and Whitney’s interactions creepy or disturbing. But that doesn’t mean every readers will feel the same. For me, though, the chemistry between Nathan and Whitley is believable enough to get past the future step-sibling issues. The sizzling tension between them together with the author’s flowing narrative push me to read more.
Speaking of the writing, Kody Keplinger’s style is honest and straight forward without being boring. Right from the start, she open her story with a painfully awkward scene yet so funny that can’t help but laugh or smile. She weaved her characters realistically which makes their stories resonate. It’s like she’s writing from real experience. She knows teenage perspective pretty well. The pacing is also perfect, add the flowing narrative, you won’t get bored reading Whitley’s story.
Overall, A Midsummer’s Nightmare is a light and quick read. With its well-rounded and realistic characters, and a story line that easily resonate, A Midsummer’s Nightmare is a perfect summer read.