Release Date: June 5, 2012
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. - Goodreads.com
There's something about Kody Keplinger's books that just WORK! Every single one of them I've read just have the perfect combination of raw, gritty, sweet, sassy, sexy, and an intriguing story all rolled into one. Her characterization is so spot on that you feel like the characters are people you were in school with. They seem real, their situations are real, and watching them work through them makes you feel like you're there too.
Whitley is one of my favorite contemporary YA heroines I've read in a while. This is a girl who has so many layers, you couldn't help but feel like you were there with a real person. She's messed up, makes horrible mistakes, and has really serious flaws. But underneath those layers is someone who has a heart, needs love so badly but hates to show it, and feels like she has to perform to get attention. She can't commit to relationships but just wants to party. This, of course, leads to her current dilemma of having slept with a guy at a party she thought she'd never see again, but who she does see when she discovers he's going to be her new stepbrother.
And yep... he's awesome. He was just as real, but whereas she's got so many layers it's hard to find her, he is a 'what you see is what you get' kinda guy. You just had to love him, especially watching how carefully he treats Whitley.
This story had a great romance, the awesome sexual tension that Kody Keplinger creates so well in her books, and a wonderful story about finding yourself through your flaws and awakening to what you can truly be. There were times in this story that I just wanted to wrap my arms around Whitley and hug her, or grab her by the shoulders and tell her she doesn't have to push people away. To me, this is a mark of great characterization for an author to be able to make me care so much about a character.
Once again, Keplinger has given us a fantastic book about real people, heart-touching relationships, and just fabulous, emotional writing. I can't wait for her next one to come out.
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