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

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 400 pages

Published: February 26, 2019

Publisher:  Crown Books for Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction & Literature, Contemporary


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.


Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee is a contemporary novel that focuses on two female best friends, who make a public access television show but make tough decisions about their future during the last year of high school.

For a book that highlights friendship, I had a hard time buying that these girls were friends in the first place. The characters, as well as the book, lacked that emotional connection or that sentimental feeling I usually get with coming-of-age stories, which I think this book tries to be. Josie and Delilah had very little interaction with one another and when they did, it provided little value to the story, mediocrity at its best. I can be sarcastic and don’t mind it’s tone while I’m reading but they were times I found it to be annoying. When Josie and Delilah were serious with one another, it was rushed and resolved a little too quickly. I had an opportunity to learn and understand their friendship better, but it was wasted.

Here is another book that was hurt by its use of multiple perspectives. Although written well, the narrative voices confused me at what message the author was trying to convey. At times, it read like an introspective look at the fear of life after high school. But then it would read like a cheesy movie script. The dialogue added very little to the story and so much needed to be added in order to make this book remotely interesting. Josie’s perspective was the worst. I always glazed through her narrative. It was boring and nonsensical. And when she was serious, I had hard time taking her seriously. Her voice caused me not to have any sympathy for her.

Delilah, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. Although sarcastic, Delilah’s true feelings seeped through, which made her perspective more interesting and a realistic read. Her insecurities and anxieties allowed me to relate more with Delilah. Because of her, mental health was highlighted but I don’t think it was given the necessary attention due to Josie’s part of the story. Delilah should have been the main protagonist of the book. If that was the case I would have given this novel high praises.

This novel was focusing more on the humour than creating a compelling narrative. That’s why scenes with Jack Divine and Yuri and the relationships between Josie and Lawson caused me to roll my eyes. They served no purpose, in fact only brought the novel down. I think it is wrong to say that because this is not targeted to my age group that I wouldn’t understand the significance. However, that is just assuming teenage readers are incapable of knowing what a good book is. This is just typical generic storytelling that any aged reader can see right through.

Although its exploration of depression and mental health was done well, Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee was plagued by a weak narrative and insufficient character development. It couldn’t find the equal balance of humour and compelling storytelling, which made this one disappointing read.

Overall rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Get it At: Amazon |Barnes & Noble|Book Depository|IndieBound| Your local library

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