About two years ago I saw Jeff Zentner speak at a book convention about his book The Serpent King. Ever since then I’ve been interested in his writing but never got around to it until I saw Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee on NetGalley, and I’m so happy they gave me an ARC in exchange for an honest review! It was such a unique experience reading a book after hearing the author speak rather than the other way around.
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.
*Big thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review!*
Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee was a heartfelt story about friendship, mental health, familial issues, growing up, first loves, and taking risks.
The friendship between Josie and Delia is the kind everyone wants in their life. They always have each other’s back no matter what the other is going through. They have such hilarious dialogue and back-and-forth, like
“The point is that at no point in this trip will we be listening to any music that sounds like someone hollerin’ into a pair of jean shorts.”
I love the way they gang up on Lawson and especially the way they gang up on pervy old guys. It’s almost like these two were made for each other, which is likely why they’re so frequently thought to be sisters.
Beyond the fabulous and hilarious characters, the book explores some serious content. Delia’s experience with and fear of abandonment causes conflict throughout the book. It is so amazing to watch Delia confront her fear by challenging it head on and by finding comfort in her family and friends. This leads to great plot and character development that really kept the book moving and continued to draw me in.
Josie’s fear of change and growing up is also talked about in the book and is something so many people experience. She is struggling to find the balance between being a good friend and pursuing her own dreams. On top of that, she has to confront her feelings about Lawson and figure out how they fit into what she wants in life.
I think what I loved most about this book was the way these darker situations balanced out the funnier situations. It made the book seem so much more believable and relatable. Although Josie and Delia’s friendship seems perfect, they have underlying issues that are addressed in a realistic way. The situations they find themselves in are funny enough to make you laugh out loud but they are also situations you can picture yourself in. There isn’t much in the story you can’t see actually happening to yourself or your friends, and it makes it so much fun to read.
When I saw this book on NetGalley I thought it would be a funny book written by an author I’ve been wanting to read for years. Instead, I got a hilarious book that has so many layers of real-world issues and complexities that make the story that much better. If you’re already a fan of Jeff Zentner or you just want to read a funny yet complex story, make sure to pick up a copy of this book!