Written by: Kody Keplinger
Released: June 5, 2012 by Poppy
Summary: 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 don’t think that Keplinger can write something I won’t love. Seriously, her books just seem to be getting better and I have a feeling that this review is going to mostly be gushing – so you’ve officially been warned.
I really enjoyed this book. And by really, I mean I read it in the span of a few hours simply because I could not put it down. The story draws you in and keeps your attention. You suffer the highs and the lows along with the characters and you just feel this insane need to know how it all ends as soon as possible. It’s such a simplistic idea at the very base but with everything that Kody Keplinger has put into it, it becomes this masterful romantic contemporary that leaves you wanting more (in a good way, not a horrible cliff-hanger way).
What really makes this story amazing is the main character Whitley. She is the type of character who you could easily hate – she’s gorgeous, a bitch, and a bit of a slut. Not to mention she whines and has the “oh woe is me” act down pretty good. However, she’s so well written that you can’t help but get to know her so well that you want to be her friend (even though she doesn’t do friends). I raged along with her when her father sprung a new insta-family on her, and I cringed when said family included the hot hook-up from a party. I cried when her dad was a dick, and commiserated over her pushy future step-mother. She had her faults, sure, but she was just so alive that she practically jump off the page.
Then there’s Nathan – the forbidden fruit who gets plucked. Oh the swoon in every scene featuring him and Whitley was enough to make a reader melt. Keplinger definitely knows how to write her sexy times without necessarily having the sex, let me tell you. Hell, I want a Nathan in my life – preferably not in the step-brother realm – but I have a feeling that he’ll be the focus of many readers’ literary crushes.
The supporting characters in this novel are fantastic. From Harrison the forced BFF, to Bailey the new step-sister, and finally Sylvia the not-so-evil stepmother. Each character is finely crafted and fits perfectly into the story. I loved every one of them and have decided that I want a Harrison of my very own. The just add so much more to the story and I honestly couldn’t see where one of them could have been left out on the cutting room floor.
I think that this novel falls into the age-old forbidden love category – and what a forbidden love it is. Move over feuding families, the feud within the family is where it’s at now. I can’t wait to see what Kody Keplinger comes out with next but I know one thing for sure; it will be just as amazing as this novel was! I’m giving it a 9/10!
I received my ARC from Hachette Canada via the Ontario Book Blogger meet-up from last fall.