Title: Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee
Author: Jeff Zentner
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Number of Pages: 400
Description: “Josie and Delia are best friends and co-hosts on their own public access TV show, Midnite Matinee. They dress as vampires Rayne and Delilah, perform daft skits involving skeleton raves and dog weddings, and show the weekly so-bad-it’s-good low-budget horror movie. But the end of senior year is coming, and Josie is torn between pursuing her television dreams in a new city or staying making TV with her BFF. What’s more, she’s just met a boy, Lawson, who is totally not her type, but is just a little bit intriguing . . . Meanwhile, Delia is searching for her dad, who walked out on her and her mom ten years ago. When the private investigator she hired unearths his contact details, she agonises over digging up the past.
A road trip to ShiverCon, a convention for horror filmmakers, may just have the answers the two need – but will Josie and Delia be prepared for life taking some seriously unexpected plot-twists?”
-From Book Depository (Click here to purchase from my affiliate link)
It is exceptionally difficult to rate books that I have mixed feelings on, and Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee is definitely a complicated title. When the good and bad of a book are equal, I can usually give the book three stars and call it a day, but what if there’s a glimmer of greatness in an otherwise underwhelming read? There is a foundation for some great themes laid out here, but in spite of its best efforts, the flat characterizations and an overwhelming amount of plot threads undermine its best aspects.
I’m going to start my review by saying that Delia’s storyline is very touching and well-done. It approaches the topic of feeling left behind by others with a great degree of tenderness that made me keep reading to the end to see how her plotline wrapped up, regardless of my feelings towards everything else in this title. Her story is emotionally impactful and if this were the sole focus of the book, it would be a five-star read. Unfortunately, regardless of how much I may have loved Delia’s development, it is the only part of the story that I got much enjoyment from.
First of all, the dialogue felt far too random to be authentic. Josie and Delia like to randomly blurt out facts, quote memes, and make potty humor-related jokes, but none of it actually sounded like teenage girls interacting with each other. Their conversations are meant to be fast and quippy, often with several pages of nothing but dialogue back and forth, but instead of sounding like best friends, they swapped between sounding like a parody of teenagers and forty-year-old poets trying too hard to be deep. Not everyone will be bothered by unrealistic dialogue in books, but for those who are, the conversations between characters are what serves as the primary means of pushing the plot along, so the majority of this title’s writing exists between quotation marks.
The unrelenting and weird dialogue might have gotten a pass from me if the plot was even the slightest bit interesting beyond Delia’s storyline. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as not only are the other plotlines less interesting than Delia trying to track down her absent father, but they actually get in the way of telling that story effectively. There’s a shoehorned romance that only seems to exist to give Josie a reason to be in the story at all given that her other plotline about where she wants to go to college is only brought up a few times through the book. Since this book is told from both Delia and Josie’s perspective in alternating chapters, it was really frustrating to watch Delia go through some incredibly difficult ordeal, only to swap back over to Josie so I can read about her making flirty eyes at her boyfriend for five pages. While the choice to give Josie a less intense story may have been to break up the sad parts of the book a bit to give the reader a break, I found it really killed the momentum of Delia’s story and made everything come to a grinding halt on a regular basis.
Overall, I clearly didn’t like Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee that much, and to be honest, it’s a shame. Delia’s storyline is truly wonderful and I believe that if the story was just reworked (meaning Josie was just removed from the equation altogether) and the dialogue was rewritten, there’d be a great story here. This was my first read from Zentner and I think I’d like to read a book where he writes from a male perspective to see if I like it better, because I think he can spin a compelling tale, even if this specific title didn’t work for me. I really hope that the second try is the charm with him.
Did you like Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee? Which of Zentner’s books should I try next? Let me know in the comments below!
I received a copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.