After reading The DUFF by Kody Keplinger - I was so excited to dive back into the world that she created. It’s not very often that an author gets high school life accurate and Kody Keplinger is one of the exceptions, so with that being said - I was slightly disappointed when I didn’t find myself connecting to the characters as much as I had in The DUFF.
Whitley’s parents divorced years before the start of the book, and during that time she’s been living with her mother who’s too focused on the past to pay any attention to her daughter, and her only escape is her yearly visit with her father at their lake house. She’s hoping that this last summer before college will be a sort of last hurrah for them - a summer full of drinking and hanging out at the pool. However, that’s not the case this time around. When she arrives at her fathers home for the summer, she discovers that not only has he moved, he’s become engaged to a woman with two kids. One of which - Nathan - is the boy she slept with at the end of the school year party.
Whitley was a character that I had a really hard time connecting with - which was really strange, because I had expected to instantly connect with her. I think that what made Whitley a difficult character to connect with was her tendency to act out and try to ultimately ruin her reputation in order to get her families attention, and when things didn’t work out in her favor - she acted out even more, rather than get her act together.
However, despite the fact that i didn’t necessarily connect with Whitley - that doesn’t mean that I didn’t absolutely adore the secondary characters. Nathan - the soon to be stepbrother/love interest, Harrison - the guy who imposes to the point that Whitley he and Whitley became best friends, Bailey - the younger soon to be sibling, and Sylvia - the soon to be stepmother. They all brought their own personalities to the story, and helped to take away from the heaviness of what Whitley is going through.
The writing was terrific, the plot was great, and while I didn't absolutely love the main character - I adored the secondary ones. I felt like there was a lot left unresolved in terms of family problems, but I felt like the story was resolved enough for me. I’m really hoping that her books don’t all follow this same sort of setup, but if they do - it’s not too much of a problem, because the characters bring a unique twist to it all.