This book absolutely fan-fucking-tastic! First off, love the cover! It's totally awesome. I pictured Whitley looking like this the entire time. Second, this is my first Kody Keplinger novel and it definitely would not be my last. I already have Shut Out and The Duff just waiting to be read and they will be.
The author pushed boundaries with this novel that few YA authors probably would. There was heavy emphasis on sex and promiscuity, cyber-bullying and heavy drinking. I applaud her for pushing those boundaries because this is exactly the nature of a lot of teenagers' lives at Whitley's age and even younger.
Whitley was a strong character that resonated with me the entire time. She was troubled and messed up but she was that way for a reason. She was the kind of character you kinda' either disliked or wanted to give a great big hug because you felt her pain and angst all through this book.
This was just one of those can't-put-down-books. You just kept reading to see what would happen next. I cried for her because every time she felt hurt you couldn't help but feel a bit sorry for her, hurt for her. All she wanted was for her parents to pay attention to her, for her to feel like she actually mattered to them. They let her down big time. Her character was real, she was flawed and she was a character that I cared for from beginning to end.
Nathan: I loved Nathan, I really did. It was a cruel twist of fate that she and Nathan turned out to be future-step siblings when their one-night stand had resonated deep for both of them. There was tension between them from the first moment they met again along with the added pressure of not being able to act on what was developing between them, though neither would admit to it. Nathan tried to deny his feelings for her by telling her things that hurt her, by them constantly arguing but ever so often they both slipped and gave into what was building so strongly between them since maybe that drunken graduation night.
Harrison: Oh Harrison will you be my friend? From the moment they first met though Whitley immediately dismissed him as friend-material after finding out he was hot for Nathan, I knew these two would become close friends. He was just too likable. And his crush on Nathan was so cute and made me laugh a couple times, even if Nathan always thought he was joking. He truly cared about Whitley at a point when I think she thought that she had no one that gave a damn about her. After the incident at the 'slumber party' she knew then that she had Harrison, that he cared even if no one else did.
Whitley's mom and dad: Well these two were a sorry excuse for parents! I found myself getting pissed for Whiteley (a fictional character) because her dad was such a selfish jackass! Seriously I felt like he got off too easy at the end of the novel. There's no excuse for making your child feel like she's not wanted and that's how it seemed to me.
* First he springs a whole new family on her, a new house on her while they're already on the road for her to spend summer with him.
* He basically dumps her with them and spends most of his time at work or making wedding plans
* He breaks plans with her but makes time for his new almost step-children and fiancee.
* He doesn't even freak out when all the rumors and pictures show up online, doesn't try to console her, barely looks at her and hardly spends any time with her during the entire two months that's supposed to be their time together. Their time! The only time they see each other each year.
Oh and her mom, though she has cause to be bitter about her divorce, she only bitched about Greg and doesn't even take into consideration anything that Whitley feels as she makes it all about her. Sylvia a woman who she only just met treated her better than her own parents did.
Man, I knew they had to have a happy ending here but I just didn't think that Whitley gave her father enough grief for the way he treated her. I just thought he got off to easy and Whitley deserved better from him.
All in all, Whitley is just one of those characters that stick with you. I will not be forgetting this book anytime soon. It's going on my best of 2012 list! Great story! Great author! Can't wait for more! Another one off my Summer Challenge List!
“Screw nightmares. I was waking up.”
― Kody Keplinger, A Midsummer's Nightmare
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