ARC review, book review, young adult

Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner (ARC Review)

TitleRayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee
Author: Jeff Zentner
Type: Fiction
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
(Penguin Random House)
Date published: February 26, 2019

A physical copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A contemporary novel about two best friends who must make tough decisions about their futures–and the TV show they host–in their senior year of high school.

Every Friday night, best friends Delia and Josie become Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood, hosts of the campy creature feature show Midnite Matinee on the local cable station TV Six.

But with the end of senior year quickly approaching, the girls face tough decisions about their futures. Josie has been dreading graduation, as she tries to decide whether to leave for a big university and chase her dream career in mainstream TV. And Lawson, one of the show’s guest performers, a talented MMA fighter with weaknesses for pancakes, fantasy novels, and Josie, is making her tough decision even harder.

Scary movies are the last connection Delia has to her dad, who abandoned the family years ago. If Midnite Matinee becomes a hit, maybe he’ll see it and want to be a part of her life again. And maybe Josie will stay with the show instead of leaving her behind, too.

As the tug-of-war between growing up and growing apart tests the bonds of their friendship, Josie and Delia start to realize that an uncertain future can be both monstrous…and momentous.

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Before reading Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee, I had not read any of Jeff Zentner’s books. I know that there was a lot of talk about The Serpent King (another book of his) when it first came out, and I did receive a copy of it in the Owlcrate that I got in the month when the book released. I just wasn’t into contemporary YA at the time and ended up giving it away. So, anyway, I went into reading Midnite Matinee with zero idea about Zentner’s writing style and whether I would like it, how he tells his stories and whether I would like that. So I went in with a completely blank slate. The first bit of the book felt a little bit slow to me, as I was still learning about the characters and the background info for the story. Then, I got more into it, especially once Delia and Josie’s relationship became a bit more clear (I loved their banter and how their personalities complemented each other) and once Josie’s romance plot started taking off.

It’s been a while since I read a contemporary YA novel that switches perspectives between friends rather than lovers, and it was an interesting experience. Delila and Josie’s lives are so different, and you could also really get an essence for each of their characters through their respective narrations. I think that if I had to choose, I would say that Josie’s plot was my favourite over Delila’s. And I think that I also liked Josie’s character better, but I think that’s because I could relate more to Josie than Delila (personality wise, as well as family life wise). Delila and her story made me really sad, and I felt insensitive for wanting to finish her chapters quicker and get back to Josie’s story (if that makes sense). Overall, this book made me both laugh and cry. I had no idea where the story was going to go or how it was going to end. And I do have to say that I like Zentner’s writing style. But I will also say that I will be very cautious about picking up his next book because when I cried while reading Midnite Matinee, I cried hard!

Jeff Zentner lives in Nashville, Tennessee. He came to writing through music, starting his creative life as a guitarist and eventually becoming a songwriter. He’s released five albums and appeared on recordings with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Thurston Moore, Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan, and Lydia Lunch, among others. Now he writes novels for young adults. He became interested in writing for young adults after volunteering at the Tennessee Teen Rock Camp and Southern Girls Rock Camp. As a kid, his parents would take him to the library and drop him off, where he would read until closing time. He worked at various bookstores through high school and college. He speaks fluent Portuguese, having lived in the Amazon region of Brazil for two years.



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