Saturday 27 April 2019

A Review: Jeff Zentner's Rayne & Delilah's Midnight Matinee

Hi, and thanks for stopping by.

Today's post is a review of another wonderful 5-star read I discovered (back in March) and wanted to share some of the details of with you. Jeff Zentner's Rayne and Delilah's Midnight Matinee is a story about friendship, family, the future & the fine line between all of the aforementioned. The only other book I'd read by Jeff before this was Goodbye Days, which I enjoyed (I gave it 4-stars, I think) but this story was on a different level entirely, to me.

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.

“But the thing with a best friend is that you’re never talking about nothing. Even when you’re talking about nothing, it’s something. The times when you think you’re talking about nothing, you’re actually talking about how you have someone with whom you can talk about nothing, and it’s fine.” 

My favourite part of this novel by far was the friendship between Delia and Josie - I think this was partly because their conversations (particularly the rapport in text messages) reminded me a lot of one of my best friends. I loved both characters equally, which I feel is somewhat rare. They were both intelligent, confident, funny and interesting individuals with interests and loyalties and a wonderful relationship with one another. It was a friendship that felt beautiful to read in all of its perfection, but also realistic, considering their disagreements and fallings out (there was no melodrama but also no fairytale cliches). The best way to describe the way I felt about these two girls is that be friends with them in a second.

“Most of all, I think it’s people who love to be reminded that sometimes you do your best and you come up short, but there’s still a place in the world for people like that.” 

I think the storyline of Delia wanting to find her father was perfectly pitched. It felt real; the expectations, the anxieties, the guilt & loyalty issue where her mother was concerned, and then the sad reality of the situation. The sympathy I had for Delia was mammoth. I also loved the way it triggered the tension & development of the relationship shared between Delia and her mother - in fact, I almost wish we'd seen more of this. Similarly, the issues Josie was having with deciding how she wanted her future to look and how to make decisions that were true to her without hurting people she loved, were written very well. The way these issues came to head, simultaneously, was painful (in a good way!) and it was literally impossible to choose a side, because both characters are so sympathetic and understandable (and, also, equally at fault for different things at different times). 

“No one ever says on their deathbed they wish they’d loved fewer people.”

Romance is pretty minor in the novel as a whole, I think - yet the Josie & Lawson storyline worked perfectly. I liked that Lawson was just this kind of cheesy, passionate person who Josie thought of as not necessarily being "beneath" her, but too much for her, too kind for her, too mainstream perhaps for her, and he just completely turns that around. I feel like she really deserved someone as lovely as him, especially considering the details we learn about some of her more questionable exes. 

“For a long time I shined my light for someone other than me. But not anymore. Now I shine bright for me. You can create light even when everyone's left you behind because that's what you do. It's what I do.”

Alternately, I liked that Delia's character feels so whole without a romance arc (she does worry about being on her own and what that means about her, but as an outsider she's just so colourful on her own, you almost don't really wish for that for her, in some ways) but I also really loved the way her future was hinted at in the closing chapters (not necessarily romantically) and we get the sense that she's branching out even more and becoming more and more confident in her own skin, deservedly so.

And there are so many other cool things about this book, like the way that hobbies/passions/interests of different kinds are so important to our teenage protagonists & characters and some of the disastrous antics they get up to. Mostly though, if you read this book, I promise you'll laugh and find characters you want to support and love the entire experience.

“I’m glad things end, though. It forces you to love them ferociously while you have them. There’s nothing worth having that doesn’t die.” 

 Till next time


Wednesday 24 April 2019

Unwrapping My TBR: May 2019

Hi, and thanks for stopping by.

Today's blog post is detailing the unwrapping of my May 2019 TBR; these are the books I'm going to definitely read in May, before and after their unveiling!! 

So the books for next month are...

Sean Olin’s Wicked Games

To all the locals in the small beach town of Dream Point, Carter and Lilah seem like the perfect It Couple—but their relationship is about to brutally unravel before everyone’s eyes.

Carter has always been a good guy, and while Lilah has a troubled past, she’s been a loyal girlfriend for the last four years. When Jules enters the picture at a senior-year bash, Carter doesn’t intend to succumb to temptation. He’s not planning to fall in love.

But Carter’s best intentions add up to nothing when Lilah catches wind of his betrayal—and decides that Jules needs to pay. By the end of the summer, the line between right and wrong will be blurred beyond recognition. Blood will be shed. Nothing in Dream Point will ever be the same.

Mackenzi Lee’s The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Marieke Nijkamp’s This Is Where It Ends

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won't open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Kim Purcell’s This is Not a Love Letter

One week. That's all Jessie said. A one-week break to get some perspective before graduation, before she and her boyfriend, Chris, would have to make all the big, scary decisions about their future--decisions they had been fighting about for weeks.

Then, Chris vanishes. The police think he's run away, but Jessie doesn't believe it. Chris is popular and good-looking, about to head off to college on a full-ride baseball scholarship. And he disappeared while going for a run along the river--the same place where some boys from the rival high school beat him up just three weeks ago. Chris is one of the only black kids in a depressed paper mill town, and Jessie is terrified of what might have happened.

As the police are spurred to reluctant action, Jessie speaks up about the harassment Chris kept quiet about and the danger he could be in. But there are people in Jessie's town who don't like the story she tells, who are infuriated by the idea that a boy like Chris would be a target of violence. They smear Chris’s character and Jessie begins receiving frightening threats.

Every Friday since they started dating, Chris has written Jessie a love letter. Now Jessie is writing Chris a letter of her own to tell him everything that’s happening while he’s gone. As Jessie searches for answers, she must face her fears, her guilt, and a past more complicated than she would like to admit.

So those are the books I'll be reading next month! Let me know if you've read any of them and your (spoiler-free!) thoughts by leaving a comment down below!!

Till next time