Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner
Before I extol on the virtues of Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee, I need to vent. Y’know, sometimes technology is a bummer. Jeff Zentner is one of those authors whose lines you want to highlight and remember (I have a friend [I’m looking at you, Andrea Head] who had Zentner initial all of her highlights in The Serpent King, lol - great idea, BTW). I first read this book in January as I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advanced review eBook from Net Galley (thanks, Net Galley!). My reading flow was frequently broken because I kept stopping and virtually highlighting passages. It didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. Stupidly, when I finished reading, I did not write my review and note my highlighted passages. Then comes book release day, February 26. I bought the audiobook and happily reread the book via listening. As I did the first time, I bookmarked passages in the audiobook. Stupidly, when I finished listening, I did not write my review and note my bookmarked passages. You know where this is going. I sat down this morning to write my review and all of my highlights, in both the eBook and the eAudiobook, were gone. Heavy sigh. Oh, well. Guess I’ll have to read it again!! I bought the book so I’m ready to read and highlight those passages permanently. I don’t mind but I’m writing the review right now, without pages of quoted passages. You’re welcome?
Delia and Josie are best friends with alter egos. These alter egos, Rayne and Delilah, host a late night creature feature on access TV. Their reasons for doing the show are very different. Delia does the show in an attempt to communicate with her dad. See, he left without a word and without a trace when she was little. She has fond memories of the bad monster movies they used to watch together. All she has left of him are memories and the VHS tapes of those movies. Josie does the show to gain TV experience. Since she was little, Josie has dreamed of working on TV in front of the camera. She has no passion for the campy movies they show but she loves Delia and the fun they have on their show and making fun of Arliss (the grumpy guy in charge at the TV station) and texting each other random nonsense and all the other things best friends do. For Josie, Midnite Matinee is temporary until she goes to college. For Delia, this is it. When they get invited to attend a Con in Orlando where they can meet the infamous Jack Devine and possibly get him to help them make the show bigger and better, Delia is thrilled. Not only because of what it could mean to the show but also because she’ll have the opportunity to meet her dad (she hired a PI who found him living in Boca Raton). Josie is less than thrilled about attending the Con but she’ll do anything for Delia. The only way she is able to convince her parents to allow her to go is if she promises to do an internship in Knoxville if things don’t work out with Jack Devine. Josie agrees but doesn’t tell Delia. What follows is Josie and Delia’s sweet and HILARIOUS journey of growing up despite the fear of growing apart.
I only mention it in the last sentence of my summary but I cannot stress enough how completely funny this book is. I laughed out loud reading it the first time and probably laughed, even more, listening to the audiobook. Josie and Delia are two very amusing gals that give absolutely zero craps. They’ll say anything to anyone and it makes this book so, so fun to read. I neglected to mention Lawson in my summary but he is a wonderful addition to the book. After making a guest appearance on the show, he and Josie become friends and eventually more and their relationship is as cute as can be (at first, Delia can’t help but see that relationship as anything more than another thing taking Josie away from her).
At its heart, this story is about friendship and how the nature of friendships may change but the bond can remain. Zentner ties this in beautifully with the central theme of dreaming big but accepting mediocrity and finding the beauty in that mediocrity. One of my highlighted passages did survive:
"In my mind, I say, Remember, remember.
In my heart, I say Thank you over and over. Thank you, show, for giving me my best friend and my boyfriend. Thank you for being the first step on my path to realize my dreams. Thank you for being something I helped build with my own hands and heart and mind.
Gripping me inside too is the profound ache of nostalgia for something that’s not even a part of my past yet.
Sometimes small and unspectacular things can be a universe."