Monday, February 25, 2013

{Review} The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

Title: The Nightmare Affair
Author: Mindee Arnett
Format: Library Paperback ARC (won)
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release date: March 5th, 2013
Date Read: January 29 2013
Rating: ✭✭✭
Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.


Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

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THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR is a sort of difficult book to explain, hence my almost a month late review. Though it is definitely an enjoyable read with numerous laugh out loud funny instances, THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR falls desperately below what I thought it would be like.

My expectations weren't high since I could tell that this book would be a classic example of funny-with-no-substance and even though this book met that expectation, it somehow fell short of what I thought it would be. 

The ideas weren't exactly unique, as the whole paranormal boarding school idea was been regurgitated throughout the years while little to no changes. This book is no different. I didn't hate it but I've never liked boarding school stories. 

The characters were humorous though at times they became excruciatingly boring and monotonous. Most of the characters were one-dimensional blobs but I say that in the kindest way possible. Truly.

The plot was horridly predictable with little plot twists that really surprised me. It wasn't a bad idea but it could have used some sprucing up I suppose. It needed something more substantial than what was given to the reader.


Dusty is a nightmare, which happens to be one of the most original aspects of this book. A nightmare basically feeds off dreams, not necessarily nightmares though. She can't talk to anyone or interact with anyone in the dream though. Personally, I found this whole "going into dreams" idea better executed in INSOMNIA.

Dusty is a fairly strong heroine. Nothing special really to say her but she wasn't a stupid unless you count the "big" twist, which honestly was easy to guess. 

Eli, the love interest, was surprisingly bland. I honestly expected something more than him being a side thing with little personality. His relationship with Dusty is undeveloped and bland. It seemed as if Dusty viewed him as a friend one chapter and in another as a potential boyfriend which is one of the lamest excuses ever.

Sadly, since I read this over a month ago, I couldn't tell you too much about the other character because for some reason, some of the plot and character elements of INSOMNIA by J. R. Johansson are seeping into this book even though they are utterly different books. All I remember is that the other love interest was entirely see-through and had more defining qualities than Eli.

I can end this segment by saying that by the end, I do remember not being very steady on who the characters were. They were under characterized at best, with no characterization at worst.

Plot and Writing


Though not terrible as I said, the plot lacked a lot of what I expected (well developed and paced with only moderate predictability). My expectations weren't high but somehow THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR somehow managed to fall past those. 

My biggest problem is that all the surprises in the book were predictable and I guessed the entire plot from very early on in the book. That almost ruined my reading experience for this book if it wasn't for the entertaining Dusty. Though her humor got on my nerves at times, she was still able to save the book from a two or even one star.

The pacing was weird at times,
 either very very slow or very fast. There wasn't much in the middle of those two extremes.

Another problem with the story is the murder mystery. I know it's the main focus of the book but I really didn't feel attached to it in any shape or form. I didn't care what happened or who killed the girl. It was disappointing as well.


The writing wasn't beautiful or eloquent but it was quick, fast, and fit the book well since I don't really take Dusty for the kind of girl who appreciates fine, flowing language.

Likes and Dislikes


- Dusty Humor

- writing
- overall Tone to the book


- lack of characterization

- too much Dusty humor
- plot
- predictability

In conclusion

I recommend THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR to someone who wants a quick, entertaining read because it's not really the book for anything else.

Lisbeth is an American teenager who enjoys blowing shit up in videogames and discussing decapitation in great detail. She's also obsessed with Oceana, but you're not supposed to know that.


  1. Yes, Lisbeth! “Funny-with-no-substance” is exactly the right way to describe this book. Nailed it. Personally, I do like boarding school stories, but more along the lines of Variant (creepy and scary), The Girls of No Return (creepy and scary again), or Harbinger (more creepy and scary). basically a fun and fluffy boarding school is just not for me, LOL. It really was a shame that an original concept like the personification of a nightmare fell so flat with a shallow plot and flat characters.

    1. Haha, yeah, there isn't much in terms of substance in this. My problem with boarding school stories is that pretty much every one I pick up is horrible. I haven't been able to find some truly disturbing or even creepy boarding school stories.

      Personally, I didn't find any personification of nightmares. It seemed like it was just a name because all they did was watch dreams (well, at least that's what I remember). They didn't even seem to be related to nightmare either...