Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Published by Hachette on June 5th 2012
Also by this author: The DUFF, Lying Out Loud, Secrets and Lies, Run
Format: Hardcover (291 pages) • Source: Library
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Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée's son? Whitley's one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin' great.
Worse, she totally doesn't fit in with her dad's perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn't even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she's ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn't "do" friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn't her stepbrother...at least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.
Filled with authenticity and raw emotion, Whitley is Kody Keplinger's most compelling character to date: a cynical Holden Caulfield-esque girl you will wholly care about.
I feel…weird. This is probably an odd start for a book review that I rated four and a half stars. I am trying really hard not to feel somewhat weird about the ending of this book. View Spoiler »I wish I could get past the issue of them being stepsiblings, but I just can’t. I know that they met and hooked up before they knew they were, which is fine, but I kept thinking that SOMETHING would happen to prevent them from actually becoming stepsiblings. Like, maybe her dad would cheat on Sylvia (because that would make sense for his character), and they wouldn’t end up getting married. Again, I know there’s technically nothing wrong or creepy about them ending up together – but it did creep me out a little. Don’t get me wrong, I shipped them HARD as people.. just couldn’t get past the family part. « Hide Spoiler Sorry to kick this off with major spoilers, but that is truly the only thing I had reservations about. I wish it weren’t the case. ANYWAYS, onto the other stuff! Essentially this story is about Whitley, a party girl who wakes up in the same bed as her one night stand, and later finds out he’s her soon-to-be stepbrother. As the family tries to navigate a summer together, some major relationship-building and breaking happens. This story was much more than just a romance, or a friendship story, or a family-based novel. It was an amazing mix of everything I love in books. The characters were flawed and relatable. The feelings were raw and relatable. The entire book was just so damn relatable. View Spoiler »(Well, aside from the being in love with your stepbrother thing.) « Hide Spoiler
Main character: Oh man I LOVED Whitley. She was sassy and generally did not care about the haters. She loved tequila, which is what makes her even better View Spoiler »until she decides to stop drinking. « Hide Spoiler. Even at the parts of the book where she was being melodramatic, she was the first person to admit that she was acting that way. Being a flawed character but KNOWING that you are is something I find interesting to read about. I hate the people that think the world is out to get them and refuse to admit that they’re being selfish babies. I could totally relate to Whitley as far as family things go. I love both of my parents a lot, but there’s so much weirdness that happens after divorce. She built her father up to be this big hero and slowly realized he, like everyone else, has flaws too. That’s something that I think many people can relate to.
Secondary characters: I wanted to kiss Nathan the whole book. He was amazingly nerdy and sweet. His mom, Sylvia, and sister, Bailey, were definitely some of my favorites too. I loved the family that Whitley was joining. Damn, I wish my stepmom was that great. I absolutely loved that her and Bailey developed a strong sister-bond right off the bat; she was so cute and innocent about everything. There were a lot of things that bugged me about Whitley’s dad, starting with the fact that he was engaged AND moved into a new house without even telling her. He constantly blew her off and she just let him do it! I’m a sucker for father-daughter relationships but this one missed the mark for me. I think he got off too easy in a lot of ways. Whitley’s new gay BFF, Harrison, was great too! I hated that some of his personality was incredibly stereotypical, but he and Whitley joked about the fact that it was. That made it a lot better. The secondary characters were all just fleshed out SO well that I felt like I knew them myself. I recently have dealt more with books that had secondary characters who were just that – secondary. In the background. These other people made this book so incredibly genuine and well-rounded; it was refreshing.
I absolutely loved Kody Keplinger’s writing style; I cannot WAIT to get my hands on some of her other books. Overall, this one seriously struck me as a favorite within the first couple of chapters. The opening chapter even grabbed me and didn’t let go. I love when characters are sex-positive (and this was oddly the second book in a row that I read with this kind of main character). Whitley and her new family made for such a heartwarming story with very few flaws. The ending was good for me, aside from what I mentioned earlier. Again, any reservations about this book are incredibly spoilery. You may be able to assume what happens, so read spoilers if you dare! Another thing I didn’t like about the ending was that View Spoiler »nothing got wrapped up with Whitley’s mom. She didn’t even call her to apologize for flipping out on her. You can tell that it’s going to happen soon, but it would have been nice for those ends to get tied up. « Hide Spoiler I highly recommend this one to anyone who loves books that have an extremely healthy mix of family, romance, and friendship.