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.
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.
At the beginning, I didn’t really like Whitley. I found her cynical and annoying. The way how she pretended as though she didn’t really care if she had any true friends kinda bug me. I could feel deep inside that she was hurting but I didn’t feel like I wanted to extend my sympathy towards her.
About a third into the book, I took a break from reading. I went into the kitchen and brewed myself some tea. As I was waiting for my tea, bits and pieces of old memories started flashing in my mind and I realized why I disliked Whitley so much… I was once kinda like her, using what’s inside the bottles to numb myself, to pretend that I could forget things that I didn’t want to remember. Although I didn’t dwell in my depressed state for long, I realized I was still haunted by my past and reading what Whitley did to herself seemed to be stirring things that had been buried deep within me.
I realized I didn’t want to feel sorry about me, but because I had never quite reconciled with my own inner demons, I couldn’t really sit down and feel for Whitley.
Unexpectedly, reading A Midsummer’s Nightmare becomes my intimate journey of self-healing. As Whitley becomes sober, I too learn to find my inner peace to say goodbye to my past.
Just a chance to start over and figure out exactly who it was I wanted to be.
Screw nightmares. I was waking up.
— Chapter 31, A Midsummer’s Nightmare
Although Whitley has triggered a lot of stuff within me, this story is not about conquering weaknesses or releasing bad habits.
A Midsummer’s Nightmare is a beautiful story about family relationships and friendship. There are fabulous characters, like the trustworthy Harrison, the smoking-hot Nathan and the sweet Bailey. They all add elements of hope, fun, humor and friendliness to the book, and I just love the way how they make the story feel real, heart-warming and down-to-earth. These awesome teenagers help to play an important part to ease Whitley into confronting what’s really bothering her and help her to finally make up her mind to build an honest, open and heart-to-heart relationship with her family.
I know there are many great-reads that have been released this summer, but if you’re looking for a YA contemporary that gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling about family and friendship, pick up a copy of A Midsummer’s Nightmare. You’ll enjoy it!