A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

A Midsummer’s Nightmare

Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 9780316084222
Pages: 304

Rating: 5 Stars

Each book that Kody Keplinger releases just gets better and better. A Midsummer’s Nightmare has now replaced Shut Out as my favorite book by her.

 A Midsummer’s Nightmare really showed Keplinger’s growth as a writer. This book is not just a fluffy summer romance book, but delves into Whitley’s very messed up emotional state. Keplinger has such a great range in her writing; she can write a great romance, throw in some humor as well as deal with serious emotional issues, all in one book.

Like Keplinger’s previous books, the characters jump out off the page. Keplinger is really able to capture what it’s like to be a teenager. Almost all the characters have flaws, something I loved, making them feel like an actual person. The characters don’t feel static and their voices flow naturally off the page. Her characters, as always, feel like an actual teenagers.

When I first started this book, I though it would be just a fun contemporary romance novel. Whitley typical summer with her dad gets flipped upside down when he announces he’s getting remarried. To make matters worse, Whitley had a one night stand with her soon to be step brother. Sounds like a fun dramatic read. What A Midsummer’s Nightmare provided was all that plus more. I really loved the book wasn’t all light and fluffy. At times, the book was very serious and Keplinger really delved into the emotional pain that Whitley was feeling and has been feeling for sometime. I loved her exploration of why Whitley acts the way she does and the journey of getting Whiltey to speak up about her feelings.

Whitley was one messed up character, yet I loved her. Her flaws made her relatable and I really empathized with her. She’s an emotional wreck to begin with, and the actions of her dad and what she has to deal with over the summer just make it worse. It was nice to slowly see her open up and accept people into her life. While Whitely feels her dream summer with her dad has turned into a nightmare, but this summer offers her the opportunity to open up and reveal the hurt she keeps buried deep inside. She’s probably my favorite character of Keplinger’s to date. Her emotional pain felt so authentic and it was something many girls could relate to.

Keplinger’s boys in this novel are, of course, awesome. Nathan, as the love interest was not only a hunk, but a sweetheart. I wish every guy was as sweet and caring as he was. Nathan also has his fair share of issues as well, but he’s dealing with them. Whitley’s first best friend, Harrison, is a pretty awesome guy as well. He’s got all the characteristics of a great friend, one I like to have. He’s there for Whitley when she needs him.

The story had me hooked from beginning to end and was very easy to get caught up in. I didn’t want to put the book down until I knew how it would end. I loved how Whitley’s secrets were slowly unveiled and how we got to see the real Whitley. I couldn’t wait to see her finally open up and tell her father how she feels. The romance was cute, but not the star of the book.

A Midsummer’s Nightmare is a perfect summer read. Don’t judge this book by the cover, which I really dislike. The cover doesn’t do the book justice to the wonderful story inside. 

A Midsummer’s Nightmare is everything I wanted and more from a Kody Keplinger book and I highly recommend you pick this one up whether you have read her previous books or now. I can’t wait to see what Kody Keplinger publishes next because each book just gets better than better.

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger


Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: September 5,
Series or Standalone:  Standalone
ISBN: 9780316175562
Format: ARC
Pages: 288
Source: BEA

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Shut Out was
a cute, enjoyable read. I picked it up late last night and finished it in
hours. It’s a book that’s great for teenager girls and made me just feel very

This is Kody Keplinger’s
second book, and I have to say, I enjoyed it a lot more than her first one.
Kody Keplinger has a real talent for capturing the spirit and voice of teens.
Her characters feel like real teenagers and face real problems that many people
confront in high school. One thing I really liked about Shut Out and that I liked about the DUFF was that Kody Keplinger does not shy away from the topic of
sex. Sex is not a taboo in her books. Instead, especially in this book which is
about a sex strike, she in some ways offers a forum for the girls in the book
to discuss the topic of sex which seems to be an out of bound subject for girls
to discuss. I really loved how she handled the topic of sex and the
conversations the girls had about it and each of the girls different feelings,
fears and concerns with sex and the gender roles assigned to it.

I really loved the
characters in this book. Lissa was a great character. I really liked that she
had flaws, including OCD tendencies such as counting. She wasn’t perfect, but
she was very strong. Lissa wanted to do the right thing, she wanted to end a
stupid feud and came up with a very clever way to do it. I loved that she was
someone who actually went out and did something and stuck to it until the end,
no matter what was thrown in her way. Chloe, Lissa’s best friend, was also another
great character. While Chloe is known as a slut or whore at school, she was a
good friend to Lissa, always there supporting her no matter what. And then
there is Cash. Cash the soccer player. Cash was like the perfect boy. He was
devoted to his family and friends, and was a sweet guy. I loved his character
and the interactions between Lissa and Cash. I do have to say I HATED Lissa’s
boyfriend Randy, which is the point, but still, he is a huge tool and I could
tell that from the beginning.

The romance in this book was
so perfect. I loved the relationship between Cash and Lissa. It felt natural
and I loved seeing how it would play out, especially since Lissa has her
boyfriend Randy. I felt that Kody Keplinger handled the romance perfectly.
There were obstacles, banter, heartache and some great kissing scenes. I loved
seeing Lissa’s relationship arcs and her heartache, pain and joy.

Shut Out was
a clever and very enjoyable read. This book just really clicked with me. I felt
it dealt with a serious such as sex, in a not super serious way and it had a
great story that kept me wanting to read more. And then there was some great romance
and romantic tension which I am always a fan of.  I cannot wait to see what Kody Keplinger writes next because
she has a huge talent for writing great novels about teens and I’m sure her
next book will be even better.

Review: The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)

The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)

Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Little Brown/ Poppy
Release Date: September 7, 2010
Pages: 288
Ratings: 4 Stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “Duffy,” she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren’t so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
I was lucky enough to find this book early at my local Barnes and Noble the day before I was to leave for college. This book kept me up until I could finish it. The DUFF was a great debut from such a young, talented new author.
I loved the characters in this book. Bianca is such a strong, female narrator and has such a great personality. I could totally relate to Bianca and her feelings at being labeled a DUFF, I mean, what girl couldn’t relate? Bianca was a incredibly strong character who stuck to her gut no matter what. She would say what she was thinking, even if it was a bit harsh because that is who she is. I really loved that Bianca had layers too. She was like an teenage girl with her friends, but like most people, was different at home and had issues at home that she kept from those she trusts most. I liked that she wasn’t cookie cutter perfect, and that she too, had flaws like any other girl.
While the story at times felt a bit predictable, I still really loved it. The romance between Bianca and Wesley was feisty and hot. I loved to seeing their relationship move from just sex into something more. I must warn, that this book is not suitable for younger teens. There is sex in this book, which is bound to get it challenged at some point, but it makes sense to the story. This whole book is driven by Bianca and her strong, tell it as it is character, making it extremely interesting to read scenes between her and Welsey, the jerk who labeled her a DUFF in the first place.
The DUFF is a highly relatable read for teens, while offering everything one wants in a YA contemporary romance. Everyone, at one point or another feels like a DUFF, a finds it easy to relate to Bianca and her situation. I never heard of a DUFF before this book,  and immediately after reading it, I saw someone call their friend the DUFF of the group on facebook, proving that people do think they are the DUFF, or the unworthy ones of their groups. This book helps show that girls have insecurities about themselves, but they aren’t alone. Kody Keplinger did an excellent job and making a book so relatable to teens. I cannot wait to see what she writes next!