Review: A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Poppy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 291 (Paperback)
Source: Gifted
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.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I'm a little surprised I enjoyed this one as much as I did, mainly because the main character is so unlikeable and insufferable. This month I haven't had the best run with main characters that are meant to be unlikable. Because they're so polarizing you either love them or hate them. I normally love them, but recently I've been hating them. A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHTMARE has fixed this dilemma of mine. Though Whitley has a drinking problem, it is easy to understand why because her family is so, well, sucky. This book unfortunately does fall cliche to the terrible parenting norm, which sucks, but it's taken in a new direction when Whitley's once useless father eventually re-marries into a rather remarkable step family. It's obvious why Whitley doesn't trust them, thus I find myself liking cliches that I typically despise.

Undoubtedly, the best part of this story is Whitley's journey to self-discovery. She learns that despite her terrible upbringing and how she views herself, she really does have a chance in life. She can find love and happiness and people that truly care for her because she deserves it. She can confront and conquer her demons whether it be drinking or her father being a terrible father. She can finally stand on her own two feet, and that's what made this story worth it.

Another beautiful part of this book is Keplinger's brutal honesty. She depicted what it is truly like to be a teen growing up today and I could relate to a lot of the book because of this. Really, Keplinger is my go-to for brutal honesty and realism. But, I have to admit it, I felt she exaggerated certain things to the point of unbelievability. The first novel I ever read by her was THE DUFF so I had high expectations of A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHTMARE. The lack of realism at certain moments made this book fall just short for me.

What really bugged me was the cyber-bullying. This is a major problem today and Keplinger had the opportunity to educate us on a serious and growing topic that is causing many suicides if she had Whitley deal with it properly. Instead, she had Whitley brush it off as if it was nothing. I understand that our main character has thick skin, but that's what others think before the cyber-bullying truly takes them to their breaking point. It didn't go that far with Whitley, but I loathe the fact that this was not dealt with the way it could be. This one aspect of the plot had so much potential and it was not even close to being met. It should be a big deal!

In the end, I suppose I'm harping on the negatives because I so desperately wanted this to be a homerun novel. I really enjoyed it and I recommend it for any teen looking for a realistic interpretation of our everyday life as well as a solid and unique coming of age story. If absentee parents bother you, don't read this, but this is definitely for you if you like a cute and entirely unconventional romance found through a long and hard journey of self-discovery.

A warning for parents and young readers...there is cussing and underage drinking in this novel as well as forceful sexual situations that are not in great detail. I wouldn't recommend this for anyone under the age of fourteen.

3.5 stars



  1. I've been really curious about this one. Sounds like it could be a winner for me. I tend to like books with unlikable characters that people actually like. That means I'll have to see if I can get my hands on this one soon! Thanks for the awesome review once again!

  2. I was absolutely not expecting to enjoy this book. I definitely was not expecting to like Whitley. BUT, I loved the story and I loved Whitley. I truly enjoyed the story, from beginning to end, and I was rooting for Whit the entire way through! Thank you for your review!