Kody Keplinger: A Midsummer's Nightmare

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Kody Keplinger A Midsummer's Nightmare
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    A Midsummer's Nightmare
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A Midsummer's Nightmare: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorce dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancee and her kids. The fiancee'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.

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My dad was this hotshot news anchor. He was, like, the most popular television personality in the tristate area or something. Channel 34 had the lowest ratings of all the local networks before they hired Greg Johnson to do the morning news. And everyone fell in love with him. Women wanted to date him, and men wanted to go fishing with him. Suddenly, Channel 34 was the most popular station in the area.

So, naturally, my mother wanted to move to a place where no one had ever heard of my dad. Even if that meant I was living far away from him, too.

At twelve, I was already old enough to realize how selfish my mother was being.

She moved us to a city four and a half hours from Dad—all the way to fucking Indiana—yet she had the nerve to bitch about how he didn’t spend enough time with me. For God’s sake, it wasn’t his fault that she wasn’t mature enough to live in the same state as her ex or that he had a job that took up a lot of his time, even weekends. Because of her, any traditional custody agreement just wasn’t feasible. So Dad and I worked out a more convenient system.

I’d spent every summer for the last six years at my dad’s condo. He lived only a few miles from Kentucky Lake, so I wasted most of the hot days stretched out on a towel, getting a tan on the beach. At night, Dad would fire up the grill, and last year he’d even mixed us a few drinks, making me promise Mom wouldn’t find out. Sometimes his girlfriend—whoever she was that month—would come over, but he’d never let her stay long. The summer was our time. Our time to make up for the months spent apart.

And this was the last summer before college. I imagined sitting on the beach with Dad, talking about his days at University of Kentucky—where I’d be starting in September—him telling me the crazy stories from his fraternity days while we drank together. Maybe he’d even help me figure out what to major in when I got to UK. Mom said I should focus on business, but Dad knew me better than she did. That could be our project for the summer, deciding what I should do for the rest of my life.

When my dad pulled up the following afternoon, I didn’t even wait for him to get out of the car before running off the front porch to meet him. I tossed my duffel bag into the back of his SUV, eager to hit the road and get our summer started. He was sitting in the driver’s seat, talking to somebody on his cell phone and pretending he didn’t notice Mom watching him from the front window of the house.

She’d never come outside when Dad was here. She’d swear she wanted nothing to do with him, but I always saw her watching.

“Ready to go, munchkin?” Dad asked, shutting his cell phone and plugging it into the car charger.

“Uh-huh.” I slammed the SUV’s door.

“Did you tell your mom good-bye?”

“Yeah,” I muttered, climbing into the front seat. “Let’s just get out of here.”

“First put on your seat belt.”

“Fine.” I sighed, pulling the belt across me.

“Don’t act so casual about it.” He revved the engine. “We just aired a special report over at the station about the death rate for car accidents, and it’s unreal the difference that little lap belt will make.”


Dad chuckled. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with you, munchkin,” he said, already backing out of my driveway.

I turned, thinking I might at least wave good-bye to Mom, but she wasn’t at the window anymore. The blinds were shut. I wondered if she’d gone back to bed, if she’d stay there for days the way she did for the first couple years after the divorce.

The sick part was that she’s the one who left Dad. I think part of her assumed he’d chase after her or beg her not to go. But he didn’t. After two months of separation, he sent her divorce papers, already signed. I didn’t blame him. They fought all the time about stupid stuff. I was sure that was why Trace moved across the country after graduation—to get away from the drama. I was probably the only twelve-year-old to ever be relieved that her parents were getting divorced.

I was less relieved, however, when I realized this meant I had to live with my mom full-time. The first two years were the worst. When she wasn’t depressed, she was angry. She was still angry now.

“Sorry I couldn’t make it to your graduation,” Dad was saying as we swerved through lunch-hour traffic. “I wanted to be there, but with my work schedule, it just wasn’t possible.”

“It’s cool,” I said, watching as the tall buildings of the city zoomed past the windows. “Graduation’s nothing special anyway. It’s actually really boring. But Mom recorded the ceremony on my digital camera so I could send it to Trace. If you want, I can load the file onto your computer and show you the footage once we get to the condo.”

“Right… about the condo, munchkin… I have some news.”

“What?” I turned to look at him, a little nervous as I remembered the beloved condo with its bright retro paintings and squeaky floorboards.

“It’s really not a big deal,” he said. “Nothing to get worked up about.”

“Ugh. You don’t have ants again, do you? I keep saying that you need to get a real exterminator in there instead of trying to do everything yourself.”

“No, it’s not ants,” he said. “And I don’t think we’ll have to worry about those pests again because… well, I moved.”

“Moved?” I repeated. “You mean, like, to a new house?”

“That’s what I mean.”

I stared at him, shocked. “But… you loved that condo. Why would you move? Did you want a place closer to the lake or something?”

“No, it wasn’t about the beach.”

“Then why give up the condo?” I asked. “If you’re not going closer to the lake, there’s no reason to live in Millerton.”

“Well, I agree. But that’s just it. I’m not living in Millerton.”

“What? Really? But you’ve always lived in Millerton. You grew up there—I grew up there. Why would you leave?”

“You’ll see when we get to Hamilton. You’ll love it there, munchkin,” he assured me. “It’s a nice little neighborhood. Great surroundings. Wonderful people. You’ll love spending your summer there, I promise. It’s even better than Millerton.”

Hamilton was a hellhole.

I discovered this three and a half hours later, after listening to every song on my iPod multiple times. I’d spent the drive giving Dad the silent treatment, annoyed that he hadn’t warned me about this move. He’d always had a bad habit of springing things on me, like new girlfriends (those never lasted long enough to matter, though) or remodeling the condo. But never anything as drastic as moving to a new town.

A new, crappy town.

I was just thinking that I needed to get on iTunes to download some music when Dad’s SUV rumbled past the WELCOME TO HAMILTON! sign. As soon as I saw that exclamation mark, I knew I was doomed. It only got worse as we drove farther into town.


One stoplight.

A population of less than a thousand.

And definitely, definitely no beach. In fact, Dad’s new house was on the opposite side of Channel 34’s viewing area, which put us more than a hundred miles from the lake.

“Great,” I muttered, watching out the window as white picket fence after white picket fence zoomed past. “So much for spending the summer in a bikini.”

“Hey, don’t get upset just yet, munchkin.” He reached over to pat me on the knee.

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