Whitley, our narrator, has more issues than she can deal with. At the root of her problem is her parents’ divorce, which brought her childhood to an abrupt end and has left her desperately seeking attention and happiness ever since. At the start of the book, Whitley’s a mess: she drinks, flirts, has attitude issues—the whole nine yards. She arrives at her dad’s place ready for for three lazy months by the pool. But, surprise! Her dad’s getting married, and her stepmom-to-be has kids…and Whitley had sex with one of them. Whoops.
I think maybe from the blurb, it would be easy to assume that A Midsummer’s Nightmare focuses on sexual tension and forbidden romance, but nope. This is very much a book about Whitley and her relationship with her family (both old and new), and how she ditches her partying ways. And I’ll be honest, sometimes the dialogue/actions of the characters was super-corny and made me gag, and I didn’t care for the cheesy ending. That’s just me personally, since I am not a mouse and I do not like cheese (I also don’t eat dairy, but that’s minor trivia).
The thing is: Whitley is a total brat. She’s selfish, unthinking, and rude. She behaves pretty awfully for most of the summer. But somehow, Keplinger manages to make the reader not only like this girl, but I was completely on her side. Every argument or confrontation Whitley got in for the duration of this book, I was pro-Whitley all the way. I think it takes a special kind of author to make that happen.
For a light summer read, A Midsummer’s Nightmare came with a lot of punch. I loved the focus on family, forgiveness, and acceptance. Whitley was a wonderful character. The story was engaging and a lot of fun. Kody Keplinger continues to be a solid author for me—she hasn’t let me down yet!