Book Talk: A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

Book Talk: A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody KeplingerA Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger
Published by Poppy on 2012
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought


 Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”



On the night of graduation, before she gets ready to head to her dad’s house to spend the summer, Whitley has a one night hookup that she thinks she’ll never see again. Imagine her surprise when her dad springs it upon her in the car ride to his house that he is getting married and that she will also be living with her new family which includes and new step-brother and sister. A step-brother who she has TOTALLY seen naked the night before. Her dad is like this new shiny dad she’s never seen and she struggles to feel at home in this new family — with a stepbrother who she is absolutely attracted to.

a2Can’t wait to pick up her other books!

a4This book was super duper addictive. I just FLEW through it. This was my first Kody Keplinger book and it definitely won’t be my last! So, let’s talk about it:

1. The romance was so not typical:  Okay so it had a Clueless thing going on (most of you are old enough to know this movie yes???) for me. I remember even back in the 90’s being like I SHIP THIS SO MUCH (okay maybe I didn’t say ship) but IT FEELS A LITTLE SQUICKY EVEN THOUGH I KNOW IT’S NOT? Well, in this book it was the same way. The main character hooks up (yes sex) with a boy randomly on graduation night and then, as she goes to spend the summer with her dad, finds out that he actually is her NEW STEPBROTHER. Ohmygod right? AWWWWKWARD. So, hey-brother-who-I-have-seen-naked can you pass the gravy? I SO wanted them together even though in my head, knowing that there wasn’t anything “wrong” with it, I kept thinking MAN that would be so awkward to date your stepbrother. I LOVED Nathan by the way!! What a great guy!

2. I loved the honesty of Whitley’s voice: I’ve always heard Keplinger just writes with this searing honesty and rawness and I totally agree. Everything written is just so authentic of being teen and Whitley’s voice just really worked for me. There is just that genuine portrayal of being a teen girl in all of its messiness and ugly glory but also in the way that we grow SOOOO much and learn (the hard way a lot of the time). I loved how Keplinger didn’t shy away from drinking and sex and stuff…it felt so seamlessly what a lot of teen experience is. It wasn’t an “issue-y” type of thing ever but you see realistic “consequences” to some of the things she was doing. Nothing preachy or OH THE END OF THE WORLD BECAUSE YOU DID THIS. But just a lot of food for thought.

3. Loved the exploration of family dynamics: Whitley has divorced parents and there is a lot of bitterness there. Whitley has spent every summer with her dad who was like her best friend. This year? He springs the news on her that he’s getting married and…surprise! You have a stepbrother and stepsister! He’s turned into this guy she doesn’t really recognize, she’s thrown into a new family (with a step-brother she hooked up with) and she feels like the odd man out when her dad barely spends any time with her. I just loved how it explored all of it. The feeling of being the old kid in the new family. Having to hear bitter things said from one parent about the other. It was just so perfectly explored because, coming from a divorced kid here, IT GETS COMPLICATED. And as an aside, I LOOOOOVED her stepmom!!

4. I wished for a little bit more depth in some areas toward the end is my ONLY complaint: When it got to some of the things that Whitley was learning, I was REALLY excited to see her think about and put these things together. But it fell a little short for me. The book went RIGHT THERE for me and was so close to having the depth that I needed to make this a WOW read but it never hit that. I don’t know how else to really explain it but with the variety of issues that Whitley was dealing with (especially with her dad) I just wanted MORE in the end I guess. When I reached the end-ish I just felt like it could have been better for me and a little more profound? I don’t even know if that’s the word I’m looking for but I just knew I felt a little disappointed at the end.



factors+ characters, plot, addictive factor, writing
wanted a little more depth in some aspects

Re-readability: Probably not because I’m picky about rereading but I want to read the rest of her books!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I have one but I’m probably passing it on bc it wasn’t a fave/I won’t reread

a5contemporary YA fans, people who want authentic voices in YA

a8I couldn’t put this one down! Really impressed with Kody Keplinger and the raw sort of emotions she brings to her teen characters and her ability to tackle some tough stuff. Loved the story and the characters despite wishing for a little depth in some areas. Will definitely be reading more from Keplinger!



a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
Have you read any other Keplinger books? Which one should I read next?



The Perpetual Page-Turner


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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. So glad you enjoyed this, especially with you being a Kody Keplinger virgin and all! I can’t wait for you to read the rest of her books. If you loved that the author didn’t shy away from drinking, sex, etc, you’ll definitely enjoy her others. It’s just the type of author she is and it’s why she’s a favourite of mine. Plus, her books are always so fun and addictive! I’d probably recommend The Duff because it’s amazing and the movie is coming out soon and I’m a believer in reading the book and then watching the movie. It’s a book nerd thing, you know? But Shut Out is awesome and has a feminist vibe going on. I just lent my friend all three of Kody’s book and I’m positive she’s going to be a fan. Love sharing the book love 🙂

  2. I really liked this one as well! I have to read The Duff since the movie is coming out, but I’m not sure that it’s going to be for me.

  3. I just finished this one over the weekend! I read it all day on Sunday and finished in the one day haha. I agree on the “squicky” part hahaha (great word, by the way). Honestly it was really hard for me to get over that sometimes. (MODERATE SPOILER NEXT, ANYONE READING THIS COMMENT—) I kept waiting for the ending to involve them SOMEHOW not ending up stepsiblings so that it wouldn’t be weird, but…. lol. Regardless, that couldn’t take away from the fact that I totally loved everything else about this book. I think the ending was a bit rushed too.

  4. Great review Jamie. Thanks for taking the time to really break this one down.

  5. I just read The Duff last week, and that was my first Kody Keplinger read. I really, really liked it, so I definitely want to read this next. I don’t know if anybody else had the same reaction, but I was definitely sobbing at parts of The Duff.

  6. Great review! I remember starting this one last year but just wasn’t interested. I want to read The Duff though and I’m dying to see that movie!

  7. Great review! This was my first time hearing about this author but I’ll be definitely checking her books out! The premise of this book seems really interesting and different from the contemporary YA-books I usually read. 🙂

  8. My first Kody Keplinger too and I LOVED it! I need to read The Duff before the movie releases!

  9. This was my first Keplinger novel as well, though I actually own The DUFF. I read and reviewed this a few weeks ago, I loved it so much. The unconventional romance between Whitley and Nathan was so well done. I loved all the little remarks Whitley made to him when it’s first discovered they’re to be step siblings. I loved Whitley’s character in general, she was so well written and honest and gah, I just loved this book.

    Like Lauren said, I was expecting an ending like she mentioned, so I was happy when that didn’t happen. Though I still felt kind of weird because they’re step siblings. I thought the ending was wrapped up a little too neatly and fast with the exception of one little plot. I loved the family dynamics, I always love this sort of father/daughter relationship.

  10. I’ve read Keplinger’s The DUFF at least a year back, and didn’t love it, but I’ve got a copy of this book sitting on my shelf that I’d totally forgotten about till now! I didn’t even know what the synopsis was, but I’m definitely intrigued 😛 This might find a way onto my TBR sometime soon now 😉

  11. Kody Keplinger’s characters are definitely unique, and I like it! She was able to discuss things in a very simple, yet not as troublesome as some writers tend to be. Maybe that was what others are saying about how she’s not shy on themes such as sex, etc. As for looking for more depth, I kind of felt that, too. I haven’t read this one yet, but after reading the DUFF, all her books are automatically in my reading list. 🙂

  12. I still have yet to read a Kody Keplinger book! I’m thinking of reading The Duff first, since I know that one is coming out as a film. BUT I will say that your thoughts on A Midsummer’s Nightmare make it sound so compelling! I’m always a fan of books where the main character is complex, and dealing with various issues in what feels like a real way, and Whitley sounds like that kind of character to me.