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The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
2.5 of 5 stars
Dusty Everhart is a teenage Nightmare who teams up with a reluctant human, entering and manipulating his dreams in order to gather clues that lead them to a murderer.
I didn’t want to be a part of anything special. Bad things happened to special people. Usually failure followed by an early death.
If Hogwarts was an American high school, it just might be Arkwell Academy… Magically hidden boarding school? Check.
New kid who is constantly compared to his/her well-known parent(s)? Check.
Tension between full-blooded magical people and half-blood magical people? Check.
Someone trying to steal a powerful magical item that’s been hidden within the school? Check.
Group of social misfits who band together to stop the bad guy? Check.
Villainous anagram? Check.
Mean-but-not-really-evil popular jerk with a grudge against the protagonist? Check. Check. Check.
Add in some sexual innuendo, a couple modern conveniences (Internet, for instance), and — of course — a love triangle, and you’ve got The Nightmare Affair.
And while none of those elements are bad, per se (The Sorcerer’s Stone does happen to be one of my favorite books), I couldn’t help but feel like some of the novelty was gone, and while Arkwell Academy does step it up a notch as far as mature content goes, the main character, Dusty, ends up coming off as immature and petty in some of the situations. I also felt let down by the climax/resolution… it seemed more like a matter of simply being in the right place at the right time, rather than actively solving the mystery.
Overall: If you’re looking for a YA Harry Potter, this may be the series for you; for me, it seemed to miss the mark.