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Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorced 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.
“Ready?” Nathan asked, pulling car keys from his pocket.
“You kids have fun,” Dad said from the sofa, turning a page in the novel he was reading. “Get to know each other. You’re family now.”
Yeah, I thought. Family who’ve banged each other.
Many people found themselves comparing this story to DUFF and some of Keplinger’s other works. Now, while I did say, “This was so good! But I loved DUFF more,” I never once felt the need to compare while I was reading. I believe each book has it’s own characters, problems, and merits. Even if there are moments where we get glimpses of the DUFF world we all love (or hate, if you’re one of those.), it doesn’t, by any means, have to be anything the same or surrounded by old characters all the time-That’s just an added bonus when we get to see Wesley and my lovely bitch., Bianca. I loved seeing them, if only for brief moments!
“Buckle up,” he [Nathan] said to me, hitting the button for the radio.
He waited until my seat belt had clicked before he even pulled out of the driveway. As if traveling those three extra feet without restraints might actually kill me or something. I didn’t expect someone who had one-night stands with strangers or threw crazy parties to have such a stick up his ass.
This story was exactly what I needed-Light, sarcastic, funny, and heartwarming. Hell, I even found myself tearing up a few times, to which I replied while blinking rapidly, “What the hell?” It’s not enough to merely create an interesting plot. You have to add warmth and love and laughter to these characters and make us unable to dislike them. With this author, I find that I am always in love with her characters. Whether they’re offhandedly witty and snarky like Bianca, controlled, composed and in charge like Lissa, or just a plain old bitch like Whit (Daaaawww, Whit) I always find that they have me laughing or giggling out loud-which I RARELY do.
“Hey,” he said, folding his arms over his chest, only barely obscuring the image of a hand making the Vulcan salute on his T-shirt. “I thought you were giving this whole being-nice thing a try.”
“I am,” I told him. “But come on. You want to major in computer science, you’re practically swooning over some ancient movie about a time-traveling car, and you have a freaking Darth Vader bobblehead in your room. I thought jocks beat up geeks, not aspired to be them.”
“What can I say? I’m a complicated guy.”
And then her boys. Talk. About. Butterflies. That’s another thing-I don’t know if it’s the author’s younger age or if she just has an unwitty knack to create all the boys in the world I’d love to gather and keep for myself, but I don’t think she has created a boy that hasn’t broken my heart or made my tummy erupt into butterflies, yet. They are always kind, caring, and over-the-moon sweet, no matter their status *Cough* Wesley, the manwhore *Cough Cough* and they always stay in my heart long after I have turned (swiped) the last page. It’s not that they are different than what we see all the time, per se, but it’s the heart that goes into writing their characters-It leaps off the page and gives you multiple opportunities to grab onto it and feel that visceral connection that is so within your reach. If that’s not incentive enough, I don’t know what is.
My head began to spin. My whole body felt alive, like it was on fire. I gasped for breath between each kiss, my fingers digging into his soft cotton T-shirt. Something like euphoria swept over me, and I couldn’t think about anything anymore. It was just Nathan and me and way too many layers of clothing between us. I wanted to touch every inch of him. I wanted to melt into him. I wanted him. So much.
I mentioned the author’s age, earlier, and I wanted to say a little more on that. I still can’t believe a girl so young creates such simply amazing books. They have no typos. They are witty. They are snarky. They have VERY swoon-worthy lines from those aforementioned boys (Cash, Wesley, and now, Nathan). And I just have the hardest time wrapping my brain around that-not that young people can’t write, no, that’s not what I mean-it’s that she’s so young, yet has more accuracy and clarity in her writing (whether or not you admire the funny cliches and content) than some of the more seasoned authors that sell 10x more books than this girl does. I don’t get that. These books are light, care-free, and they have lots of heart and passion in every page. And the drama actually makes you feel because it’s not long and drawn out. These books are short, sweet, and to the point. I’m sorry, but what more can you ask for?
So, you know, I really loved this one. And while I only gave it a 4.5, it doesn’t change the fact that my heart is light as air and I have the hugest smile on my face. I can’t put my finger on why I didn’t feel the same ‘hard-core connection’ as I did with the last two I read (maybe my mood?), but there was a strong connection, nonetheless. But that’s where the .5 star went. Merely a case of not just slapping on the same rating for the hell of it…eh, I dunno. I’m weird.
Since I could remember, I’d always been a night person. My burst of energy came right around the time the sun set. I lived in the darkness. Loved the darkness. My world came alive when the stars came out.
But for the first time in my life, I wanted the night to end.
Nathan and Whitley will likely bury themselves deep under your skin and stick with you long after the last page. There’s a twist with Nathan (You’re asking, wait, aside from him being her future step-brother?) that made me smile and squee so loud, it was unreal. I don’t know why I loved it that much, but I did. It was adorable, swoon-worthy, and without a doubt something I wholeheartedly did not expect. Whether you’ll feel the same or not is merely opinion and speculation-I just severely enjoyed it. Whitley and Nathan were beyond adorable-I hope you’ll give them a chance on a rainy, depressing day.