Review: The Nightmare Affair (Book #1: The Arkwell Academy) by Mindee Arnett

Title: The Nightmare Affair Author: Mindee Arnett Series: The Arkwell Academy #1  Format: Hardcover, 367 pages Published: March 5, 2013 by Tor Teen  ISBN:  0765333333 (ISBN13: 9780765333339)
Title: The Nightmare Affair
Author: Mindee Arnett
Series: The Arkwell Academy #1
Format: Hardcover, 367 pages
Published: March 5, 2013 by Tor Teen
ISBN: 0765333333 (ISBN13: 9780765333339)

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Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.

Literally.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

Source: Netgalley

Rating: 4½/5 stars

My Review:

Dusty is just like every other sixteen-year-old girl with one glaring exception: she is a Nightmare.  Not the “Oh, she is a nightmare to be friends with!” kind of way but in the come into you room in the middle of the night, sit on your chest and feed off your dreams kind of way.  Being a half-breed (mortal dad and Nightmare mother) Dusty didn’t come into her powers until a few months ago and she is slowly getting the hang of this whole feeding off dreams deal.  She’s even learning to adjust to life at her new school, Arkwell Academy, a place for those like Dusty with magical abilities.

A few times every couple of weeks Dusty leaves Arkwell to satisfy her Nightmare need for dreams and while she is still getting the hang of things she knows something has gone horribly wrong the night she tries to feed from Eli Booker – total hotty from her old high school and the one person her magic does not work on.  WTH??  Even more problematic is what Dusty and Eli saw in Eli’s dream, an Arkwell student found dead on school grounds with no suspect in sight.  Within a few days’ time, everything is turned upside down and sideways with Eli now enrolled at Arkwell, Dusty told she is a very, very rare dream-seer, Eli is her one and only dream-seeing partner and, the two of them together must help the powers that be determine who killed an Arkwell student.  No pressure there, right?

Eli and Dusty, not surprisingly have a hard time getting into synch with one another.  Eli is angry about being yanked out of his old life and Dusty is more than a little uncomfortable with feeding from a guy she has the hots for.  Both however realize their mission is important and try to make the best of a hard situation.  Also thrown into the mix are Dusty’s super-awesome roommate (and Siren!!) Selene, the nerdy and non-magical library guy with a crush on Dusty, Paul and, Dusty’s often absent and totally infamous mom, Moira.  As events begin to unfold and more bodies begin to show up, Dusty and her crew realize they are in way over their heads but that they may be the only ones capable of stopping a vicious killer.

The Nightmare Affair is driven by its cast of characters and each has his/her own unique voice, qualities, and flaws.  Dusty is an absolute favorite and though her stubbornness often gets her into more trouble than is strictly necessary, she is still worth routing for.  Eli is all kinds of pretty and determined to make the most of his situation – he may not be able to wield magic but his dad is a detective and he has learned a lot from his old man.  Selene and Moira are two characters I want a lot more of!!  Selene is gorgeous (but hides it!), generally fearless and intelligent while Moira is a well-known and totally unapologetic rule-breaker who seems to dislike everyone, including her own daughter.  In the long haul, I think these two females have the ability and personalities to really take over the Nightmare series.  For the record, I am OK with that!

The Bottom Line: I tried starting this book several times and had a hard time getting into it which leads me to my only reservation about this read: the first couple of chapters are a little hard to get through but once you do, the ride is well worth the slightly difficult beginning.  Once I got into this book it was a smooth and easy read with lots of twists and turns and some really cool twists on some fun myths and legends.  I had a hard time putting this one down once it got rolling 🙂  I will admit to having seen one of the badies coming from a mile away but not the super-big baddy and how the whole plot would eventually unfold.  Every twist and turn leads to a dramatic finish with the group, Selene, Eli and, Dusty working together to catch a killer.  Overall, I am glad I got over myself and gave The Nightmare Affair a fair shot.  I feel good and confident in recommending this read to all YA+ readers and lovers of the paranormal.

Links to find/buy The Nightmare Affair (Book #1: Arkwell Academy):

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