Saturday 27 July 2019

Jeff Zentner's 'Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee' ★★★☆☆

Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee | Superior Young Adult Fiction | Book Review

Welcome to the Midnite Matinee, a wonderfully campy creature feature show starring none other than Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood. If you're after corny sound effects and props that would make Ed Wood proud, you've come to the right place. This is the world of Jeff Zentner's colourful young adult novel Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee.

By day, Delia and her best friend Josie are high school seniors leading relatively mundane lives before they need to make tough decisions about what they should do after school. Every Friday night, they become Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood, hosts of Midnite Matinee, a deliciously campy and unexpectedly successful local cable show.

Oh, the horror!

There is so much to love about this book. I’ve always loved horror and grew up on the original 1960s black and white version of The Addams Family. The premise of the book is such fun; how awesome is it that two school girls have a TV show of their own, no matter how amateur? It’s the stuff of dreams. And oh, the cheese! I loved the special effects and sheer craziness of the skits.

It sounds like a five star read, right? But after looking forward to this book for so long, I found myself very disappointed in it.

Unrelenting darkness

For such a fun concept, Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee dragged. I found myself wishing it would hurry up, a lot, and I also started cheating on it with other novels.

Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee | Superior Young Adult Fiction | Book ReviewPacing aside, Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee was well written but not exactly fun. To be honest, it was an unrelentingly realistic beacon of darkness in the fun and escapist world of campy horror. I've read (and loved) some dark books, including The Female of the Species and Sadie but I have to admit, I like nice or uplifting things to happen in certain books, especially quirky ones with unusual storylines and interesting settings like this one. I guess I just wasn't expecting it all to go so desperately wrong for our young creatives.

Ultimately, Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee is a cautionary tale about meeting your heroes and how one should be careful what you wish for lest it all come true.

For making me sad and for dragging, I give Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee an okay three out of five stars. Despite my reservations, I would very much like to see a film or, even better, TV series made out of this book. If they could achieve Riverdale levels of darkness yet undeniable entertainment then I'd be very happy.



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