The Nightmare Affair is a YA book about Dusty, a 16-year-old girl who has recently discovered that she has magical powers. More specifically, she is a Nightmare, or a person who feeds off of people’s dreams, off of their souls.
The book starts with her breaking into the house of Eli, a hot boy from her old high school, to feed on his dreams. Of course nothing goes according to plan: Eli dreams of a murder that comes true, and Dusty is the only one who can help him find the murderer. The two are forced by the magical world’s police to become a crime-solving team to avenge the death of a classmate and to stop the killer from striking again.
The Nightmare Affair is a highly enjoyable and quick read. Mindee Arnett has created an engaging world with amusing and relatable characters, most especially our narrator, Dusty. Arnett has a fresh take on the paranormal aspect of her book, though she perhaps relies too heavily upon other genre conventions such as a magical boarding school and a weak love triangle.
While these (overused?) tropes certainly affect the quality of the book for those seeking a more innovative experience, I found the mixture of old and new to be comforting and delightful, if predictable.
What are your thoughts? Are magical, gothic boarding schools overdone? What about the love triangle? Or are they justified, classic staples of the YA genre? Why? Are they effective? What are some elements of YA that you wished were less repeated? More explored? I’m interested to hear from you!