I am the type of reader who hardly ever asks for ARCs- partly because I am stupid and scared of rejection, and partly because I am weird and I often enjoy going to the bookstore on the day a book is released. There is just something about a Tuesday morning, am I right?! However, when I had the amazing opportunity to read Jeff Zentner’s newest book early…. I DID NOT HESITATE. I had to have it. He is one of the best contemporary authors out there. He wrote my absolute favorite book, The Serpent King, and I made a deal with myself that I would literally read anything and everything that he ever writes. His stories always speak to me, touch my heart in unexpected ways, and of course, make me bawl my damn eyes out. Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee was no exception.
I’ll start off by saying that Rayne and Delilah was by far the most upbeat book that Jeff Zentner has written so far. I knew he was a witty dude, but holy hell, this book had me wondering if he practices stand up comedy in his spare time. The humor and wit is unparalleled. Every single line is true comedy gold, and I laughed out loud more times than I can even begin to count. I wish that Josie and Delia were real people because I know that myself and my best friend, Becca, would love to hang out with them all day long. They would be the perfect people to join us in making sarcastic jokes about all of the fools that we have to deal with on a daily basis, while also hardcore hating on all things relating to country music. Besides being the queens of hilarity, Josie and Delia are also two of the most relatable characters that I’ve ever read. I saw so much of myself in both of them, and I totally wish that I would have had their gumption when I was in high school.
A lot of YA books deal with friendship, but I think that Rayne and Delilah brought the friendship theme to a whole new level. It was extremely refreshing to read about two female best friends who were totally in sync and focused on things outside of romance. Speaking of romance, Rayne and Delilah has some of that too!! And it was another thing that I adored about the book. The romantic aspect was subtle enough to not overshadow the main story, but prevalent enough to keep my romance-loving heart happy. Who freakin knew that a male could write such a relatable, honest, and swoon-worthy love story told from the perspective of a female?! Seriously, kudos to Jeff for having the guts to not only attempt this, but to succeed with flying colors!! It takes a true talent for an author to be able to delve into the mind of a persona that they themselves have never been, but trust me when I say that I was so pleasantly surprised about how well Jeff Zentner executed this “girl power”-esque story.
I’ve talked about how funny and cute this book is, but I have yet to describe how it is also so very heartwarming and emotional. There were times where I had to read certain paragraphs twice because I was so moved and inspired. I have always appreciated that both of Jeff’s previous books harp on the fact that you do not have to do extraordinary things to be an extraordinary person. I love the message that people can be happy living a “simple” life. I think it’s an important thing to convey to young people like myself, who sometimes struggle soooo hard to be “the best”, and subsequently think of themselves as failures when they don’t experience the fame and fortune they think they desire. My emotions were also on high alert whenever I read the subtle, yet so important, passages about mental health. As someone who struggles with depression, accurate mental health representation is something that I always look for in books. And I mean, come on, it wouldn’t be a Jeff Zentner book if it wasn’t at least a little sad.
I could realistically write about 6 more paragraphs describing everything that I loved about Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee, but I’ll end this by saying that you need this book in your life, and you should definitely go buy it when it comes out on February 26, 2019. You also need The Serpent King and Goodbye Days if you have not yet read those. All three of them are life-changing and life-affirming novels that will always hold a special place in my heart.
** I was provided an ARC of this book as part of an ARC tour. My thoughts and opinions are all my own, and I was not influenced by the author or publisher.