Book Review: The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

The Nightmare AffairThe Nightmare Affair
The Arkwell Academy Series #1
Mindee Arnett
Tor Teen,  March 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7653-3333-9
ISBN: 978-1-4668-0067-0

Dusty Everhart spends her life breaking into bedrooms to feed off the energy of others dreams. Feed too long and the magic is gone, along with a soul or two. But now, the dreams are different. His dreams are different. Eli, the good-looking, popular guy is a perfect match for her abilities. Together they must face the greatest danger to all kinds, magical and ordinary. Can they defeat the oldest and most powerful magic ever known?

This book is fantastic! There, I’ve said it. Now to justify my declaration (of love, admiration and a smidge of jealousy). I had just finished a below par book and having sent off my unsavoury review I begrudgingly decided to soldier on with the next one since I felt guilty at not having all these titles reviewed by now. I’m so glad I did since The Nightmare Affair gripped me from the first page and reminded me why I review books in the first place. Once in a while, you’ll stumble across an absolute gem that makes it all worthwhile. I read this in one sweep, taking about 3 hours to do so, and so enthralling was the story that it carried me away into a new world while my own ticked away in the background. While the book market has recently been saturated with vampire and werewolf tomes of late, The Nightmare Affair takes a new slant on typical teenage fantasy and tackles the subject of Nightmares and their quirky habit of sitting on the chest of their unsuspecting victims, ahem, I mean subjects. A dangerous mission has Dusty and her dream partner Eli, not to mention her siren friend Selene, chasing down suspects, breaking into crypts and battling powerful enemies, all while tip-toeing through the minefield that is the teenage social scene.

This book was very well written, with characters that have depth and an intriguing plot. Occasionally, some of the more peripheral characters were a little light in detail but not enough to be off putting and certainly not enough to take away from the plot.  I did manage to pinpoint one or two villains of the piece, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and certainly not for younger readers. There were enough surprises and twists to satisfy most readers and keep you eager for more. I think this is a book that teenagers would love and I’m hoping that this is the first of a series. I will definitely be on the lookout for any follow-ups and heartily recommend it to others. I certainly would not be surprised to see this on the shelves of any good bookstore; it’s simply a must for young adults!

Reviewed by Laura McLaughlin, August 2013.