Thursday, 13 September 2012

A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

A Midsummer's Nightmare
by Kody Keplinger

Summary: 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.

I really liked Kody's first book, The Duff, and I think I liked her second book too - it hasn't really stuck with me and I don't want to search out my review - but this one... it just didn't do it for me. (If you want to read a more positive review, go read Julie's, she loved it.)

It started out interesting, and the basic premise of the story is good (reminds me of Carmen's story from Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants kind of, only without the stepbrother sexytimes) - but I just didn't enjoy it much.

Harrison was awesome, Nathan was cute, I liked Bailey and Sylvia--they were the reason this book wasn't a total lost cause for me--but Whitley annoyed me so much. I just didn't like her, even nearer the end where she was starting to redeem herself a bit, I didn't like her - I just got to a point where I didn't dislike her either. Her mum and her dad were awful characters too, her dad most of all.

I think the Whitley thing was probably what held me back from really liking the book though. It was hard to sympathise with her when she kept being awful to people who were nice to her and didn't deserve it, and yet the ones who deserved it most got a world of chances. She complained about things, but never did a damn thing to change them. I get that was probably supposed to be one of her issues, but it was insanely frustrating to read about. I just didn't like the way she acted, and it was difficult to figure out why Harrison would want to be her friend or what Nathan would see in her because there wasn't a lot of scenes that showed her at her best with them.

The romance... like I said, Nathan was cute. I liked him for the most part, but there was no spark between him and Whitley--although, her character was a little more interesting and tolerable when he was around--and that made it difficult to really care. There wasn't really many scenes of them just talking in a way that is fun, most of it seemed to be arguing and so many of their conversations/arguments seemed to be about the same subjects (the way she acts, the family, her daddy issues) - at least, not that I remember, if they were there then they didn't stand out much.

My standards for the whole stepsibling romance thing may just be a bit high though, because there's a story published online on a writing community I'm a member of and I absolutely adore the romance in that one...kjfnvlkjfvkjbfkjv - it's awesome. Seriously, if it were a published novel, it'd be on my favourites shelf. And so in comparison, this one was just a bit - meh.

By the time I finished the book, it didn't feel like anything had really happened plot-wise. I mean...things obviously happened, it wasn't just pages of nothing, but so much of it was so repetetive with Whitley complaining about her family issues but never doing a anything thing about it or talking about her drinking and boy habits that it just made the plot seem like a drag and the most interesting parts of the story were overshadowed by that.

It bugged me that the cyber bullying and slut shaming wasn't a big issue in the book, at least not in the right ways - I mean, there were moments where it was acknowledged, but it... I dunno, maybe it was just another case of it being overshadowed by Whitley whining and being bratty. And something happened that they didn't even seem to consider reporting to the police when it should've at least been a conversation. Maybe it was written that way to be more realistic, I dunno, but I just didn't like that.

To be clear: all the things I didn't like about this book weren't bad, I just didn't like them. I can appreciate the fact that she's not afraid to write characters that aren't likeable and that she doesn't censor her books because they're YA... It's not one of those books that is objectively bad, it wasn't a bad book and I've seen people that have loved/liked it, it just wasn't for me.

I'd rate it 2.5 stars out of 5. The whole story really just lacked - spark, it didn't make me care enough, and the emotion I felt most frequently while reading was annoyance. I'll definitely still read whatever other books Kody puts out, because she's awesome, but yeah... not a fan of this one.

...Sorry if this review isn't making too much sense, I'm ill right now and my brain feels like mush so my thoughts are all over the place, but I wanted to get this review over with.


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