Review: Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee
By: Jeff Zentner
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee is a coming of age gold mine. Josie and Delia are high school seniors who host a horror TV show on public access called Midnite Matinee. For each show, they assume the persona of Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood as they screen low budget horror films. Their public access show is successful, and it is showing in multiple different markets in the US. Now they want to the take the show to the next level.

Josie is at a crossroad in her life. Josie’s parents are pressuring her to attend UT Knoxville next year, which means no more Midnite Matinee, but does mean a guaranteed internship with a TV studio. Delia wants Josie to attend nearby UT Martin so she could easily continue working on the show each weekend. Throw in Josie’s new boyfriend who she would have to leave behind for Knoxville, and the crossroad only grows more complex.

Before decisions are made, Josie and Delia take a roadtrip to Orlando to pitch Midnite Matinee to a bigger audience. They schedule a time with a producer at a well known horror conference. Lawson, Josie’s new boyfriend, joins the trip to Orlando. Let’s just say the producer is well past his prime, and the meeting is one they will remember for the rest of their lives.

The trip to Orlando is more than just a horror conference. Delia has used a private investigator to track down her dad, who abandoned her when she was little. Delia grew up watching low budget horror films, and she has always hoped that her father would see her on the show and come back to her. Since that hasn’t happened yet, she’s off to make the connection herself. What comes about from this trip will determine the next steps in everyone’s life. And as you will read, life comes fast.

The last two books Zentner wrote were remarkably written and intensely emotional. In Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee, Zentner writes a compelling and comedic coming of age novel about choosing what’s next in your life. As Nic Stone blurbed for the book, “Had me laughing aloud on one page and sobbing on the next.” Told in alternative perspectives, Zentner’s style and plot mixes the pure joy and laughter with utter sadness and despair. Zentner weaves the ups and the downs to create a realistic look at the last year of high school.

Zentner is a connoisseur of relationships. He is a master writer of the power of friendship and the bond that comes with it. Readers will love Josie and Deliah. High school friendships are something that we all will remember, fondly or not, and Zenter compels us to reminiscence on the dreams, relationships, and love that we had in high school. Just like in his previous work, this novel has easter eggs alluding to his other novels. Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee continues the legacy of great books from him, and comes out on February 26th.

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