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The Nightmare Affair
by Mindee Arnett
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: YA Paranormal
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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Dusty is a nightmare that feeds on dreams. The Will is the power that controls the paranormals and sets her feeding schedule for every other week. While out on a feed run she realizes she will have to feed on one of her old classmates, Eli. Straddling him, she enters his dreams where she sees the death of one of her new classmates. Eli notices her, touches her and she is lifted from the dream. Her magic bounces off him and she takes off running. There is something different about her powers with Eli which is confirmed when the dream becomes a reality.
Once Dusty came into her powers she had to leave her old school behind to attend Arkwell Academy. Now that Eli is able to help Dusty see the future in his dreams, he has to give up his normal life, to also attend Arkwell Academy with a bunch of kids who can do magic except him. This causes some bitterness from Eli and things with Dusty do not start off well. It also made it difficult to like Eli at first even though I could understand his feelings. He wants to avoid Dusty and her freaky powers but The Will commands that Dusty now visit his dreams three times a week. Dusty has an attraction to Eli but believes he hates her. They do begin to build a friendship that I think will make a romance in the sequel really great. I enjoyed their scenes and how they worked to become a team.
The mystery is the heavy focus of the book. I loved Dusty and Eli working as detectives and Dusty even makes a reference to Veronica Mars. I did find part of the mystery to be a bit predictable and cliche but the other half did surprise me. Dusty looked into teachers and other students at the Academy. The Academy itself was fun and reminded me a bit of Hogwarts. There were magic classes and unique teachers. All different types of paranormal creatures attend the school so there was a variety of interesting characters.
Dusty's mom, and nightmares in general, are known for disobedience so she doesn't have a lot of friends besides her siren roommate Selene. I often find the best friend characters in books to be flat and pointless but I found Selene very likable. She is a siren and known for beauty but she really wants to be seen as more. She is very supportive of Dusty. Selene, Dusty, and Eli often have little Scooby Doo like meetings to help track down the killer. They were a hilarious group at times and kept me turning the pages. The conclusion wrapped up the mystery well without any hanging questions. I look forward to seeing what Dusty and Eli solve next as they grew into a strong pair.
"A fully charged Nightmare can do whatever they want inside a dream. Here, we're like gods."
A chill went through me at her words. It all sounded a bit too much like A Nightmare on Elm Street for my tastes.
"That was quite a show," Lance said. "Do you straddle all your victims even after they're awake, or is it something you reserve for Eli?"
"Hurry up and go to sleep already," I said. "I wanna get this freak show on the road."