I nearly fell over at least twice before I was dressed. Judging by the way everything was scattered, we'd had a pretty crazy night. Good for me, I guess.
All of Kody Keplinger's books seem to take inspiration from a classic. For The DUFF it was Pride and Prejudice; for Shout Out it was Lysistrata; and for A Midsummer's Nightmare it's obviously the Shakespeare comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream. Even though here inspiration seems to be in title only, and not in plot. I wouldn't call this a retelling.
Whitley Johnson has just graduated, and is leaving for the University of Kansas in the fall. Before that, she's spending the summer at her dad's house, as it has been for six years after her parents' divorce. This time, though, things are different, and her father is springing a big surprise on her. He's moved into his fiancée's house and they're getting married soon. She's a widower with two teenage kids, Nate and Bailey. Nate is Whitley's age, and he's the guy she got drunk and had sex with at her graduation party. Whitley's summer has just turned into a nghtmare.
First of all, I loved this book (not that I had any doubts, considering this is Kody Keplinger). I fell in love with Nate from the first chapter, when they wake up togetehr and he asks for her number, which she wouldn't give him because she says they'll never meet again. Was she wrong. I loved him even more after his big revelation in the last few chapters, but I won't discuss it here, of course, as I found it the best part fo the book and won't spoil it for you.
Whitley is quite hard to like. She's as tough as nails (she needs to be, considering that her mother is too bitter about her divorce to really look after her), very cynical and self-assured, and loves to drink and party hard. So hard that her drinking gets her into a couple of really sticky situations: sexual assault and cyber bullism.
Whitley is used to being on her own, and it's difficult for her to adjust to living in an attentive, caring family, especially with Nate and Bailey. Nate because they are attracted to each other, so it's hard for both of them to consider each other siblings; and Bailey because she's not accustomed to looking after a younger sister. Theire relationship grow, anyway, and at the end of the summer Whitley considers them her true family.
I also liked how her relationship to her future stepmother was dealt with in the book. Her father's fiancée is more of a parent to her than her own father is. I was pretty disappointed at how Whitley's father behaves in the whole book. He's a renowned local TV presenter and seems too busy with work to pay Whitley any real attention, until he is informed that Whitley is dating Nate, and he decides to send her away to avoid people talking. This is not like a good father acts, and Whitley deserved better.
Thumbs up for the small appearance of Wesley and Bianca from Keplinger's debut novel, The DUFF. Wesley ignoring Whitley's avances in favour of Bianca was quite funny.
As in all of Kody Keplinger's books, there are mature themes and, to put it mildly, quite a few sexytimes. I wouldn't give this book to younger teens, but I think it's suitable for readers sixteen and older. Definitely recommended if you're a fan of contemporary YA romance.Favourite quotes
(other than the one at the beginning of this review):
"What makes you happy?"
That was te million-dollar question. Because honestly I had no idea. Drinking mademe happy, but there wasn't a major in alcoholism, to the best of my knowledge.
"I told you. I don't want to be that kind of guy. I don't just want sex, Whit. I want more. I want everything. I want you."Cover attraction:
I find that the cover model's angry expression perfectly captures Whitley's mood in the first part of the book. Well done.