Rummanah Aasi
Description: 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.

Review: I have been a huge fan of Jeff Zentner since his debut and Morris Award winner novel The Serpent King. His first two novels dealing with grief and complex family dynamics were heavy and thought provoking. His latest novel, Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee is much lighter in comparison though it too has important themes such as mental health, depression, abandonment, and chasing your dreams.
  The story rests on the shoulders of best friends Josie and Delia who dedicate their Friday nights to recording their public access TV show, Midnite Matinee, about old terrible horror movies (think Svengoolie). The tv show means different things for each of the girls. Josie sees it as a stepping stone towards a career in the TV industry while Delia has a more personal connection. Delia views the show as her one last connection to her absentee father. Unlike Josie, Delia simply wants things to remain the same even if that means holding Josie back from her dreams.  Delia sets up a meeting at a horror convention in Florida. Little does she know, the whole future of the TV show rides on this convention.
   Zentner has crafted a female friendship centric book that surprisingly feels authentic and organic as it discusses relationships and the future. Josie and Delia feel real and their deep bond with one another is realistic. Their humor and personalities balance one another and it is evident with how they react to one another even in nonverbal moments. While it did take me some time to understand how their relationship worked, I soon struck a chord with these two young women. Promises, secrets, and betrayals fuel the relationships in this narrative, but they are not of the catty kind which is often associated with women. The girls do want what is best for the other, but there is envy and privilege infused in their relationship. While there is drama and tension in the story it is not overly melodramatic. Josie begins a romantic relationship with Lawson which is incredibly sweet and adorable, but thankfully it does not overtake her existence and you can be relieved to know there is no love triangle. Delia confronts her long-lost father in a heart wrenching moment that reveals how flawed adults can be. Secondary characters are also fleshed out and add depth. If you are looking for a quick read full of humor and depth, be sure to pick up Rayne and Delilah's Midnite Matinee.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language, mentions of sexual harassment, and drug abuse. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
3 Responses
  1. I am glad this was a win for you. I have been eyeing it. I like that it takes on important issues, but that it isn’t overly dramatic or depressing.

  2. I loved The Serpent King! I didn't realize he had another book come out so I'll keep an eye out for this one.

  3. I liked the Serpent King, too. I though Zentner's writing was really strong. I will look around for this one, though I confess I am moving slowly away from so much YA lit now that I am retired.

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