The Nightmare Affair

The Nightmare Affair

3.79 (7,874 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.79 (7,874 ratings by Goodreads)

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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.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 148 x 217 x 31mm | 456g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0765333333
  • 9780765333339
  • 467,451

About Mindee Arnett

MINDEE ARNETT lives on a horse farm in Ohio with her husband, two kids, a couple of dogs, and an inappropriate number of cats. She's addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic and the macabre. Her short stories have appeared in various magazines. Arnett has a Master of Arts in English literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing. She blogs and tweets, and is hard at work on the next novel in the Arkwell Academy series. Find her online at
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Rating details

7,874 ratings
3.79 out of 5 stars
5 29% (2,263)
4 33% (2,615)
3 29% (2,261)
2 7% (547)
1 2% (188)

Our customer reviews

I read and reviewed this book on my book blog on February 23. (eARC from Netgalley and for blog tour) Gore: No Magic: Yes Romance: Yes Action: Some Pacing: 4 stars Plot: 4 stars Cover: 5 stars Sixteen year old Dusty (Destiny) Everhart is literally a nightmare, as in species. She breaks into houses late at night because nightmares feed on people's dreams, that's how they get more powerful and live, it's basically like food even though they still eat regular food, it's called dream feeding. Dusty soon learns that there's more to it, especially for her. Dusty is the only Nightmare at the boarding school, Arkwell Academy, which is for magickind. People are afraid of her and make fun of her because of her infamous mother and because she's a half breed (her dad is non-magical). Her mom causes trouble and used to do it a lot when she was in high school, Dusty doesn't want to be compared to her because of her bad reputation, but unfortunately for her, many people assume that kids are like their parents instead of even giving the son/daughter a chance to be the person he/she wants to be. Before I say anything about the inside of this book, I'm going to talk a little bit about the outsides, the cover. When I first saw it months ago, I immediately loved it. It's simple yet looks good and different from other YA novels. It looks similar to the cover of Unspoken. It doesn't look dull with very few colours used, in fact it cause the opposite effect, that it looks so good. I can't wait to buy a print copy when it's released and put in on my bookshelf. One word that came to mind even before I started reading this book, a few months ago when I first heard of this book, read the synopsis, and saw the cover was, unique. And yes, it is unique. I've never heard of a supernatural being called a nightmare. I enjoyed learning about them. At first I didn't understand why they are called nightmares because all they did was eat dreams, but later on we learn about their history and their name makes sense. I also enjoyed learning about the many different supernatural beings in Arkwell Academy, some are the usual: werewolves, faeries, wizards, etc, but there are some things different about them, for ex: wizards don't have good hand-eye coordination. The other species aren't seen in many books, like sirens. And then there are the species that are different and never heard of, like different types of demons. It was interesting seeing these creatures as the supporting characters and different than what we're used to from other books. I like this better than the too common 'girl falls in love with a dangerous supernatural creature' thing that has been going on in way too many books these days. Why can't both the guy and the girl be a different supernatural creature? Or the boy be human and the girl who is the narrater be a supernatural creature? You don't see many of those these days. The second one is part of what's going on in this book. I don't know if anyone else said this on their review, the boarding school thing kind of reminds me of Harry Potter: they go to a boarding school where there are no ordinary people, there is a mystery object in TNA as well (like the philosopher's stone from the first HP book), they're both half-breeds, etc. I think I just realized this stuff only two days ago. I like Dusty, she's stubborn, she's not stupid, and she's funny too. Although I wish that she was a little rebellious like her mom is, it would have been more fun, I usually love the crazy characters. Even though she's always getting bullied and is hard for her to make many friends at the school because of who and what she is, she still deals with it pretty well. She has very loyal friends, who support her for her whenever anyone's bullying her, they are so awesome. Although, some of the things she did really annoyed me, but then I thought, "some teenagers do actually behave like that and it's not that bad or annoying, so it's actually fine". Dusty and Eli's relationship was a bit odd for a while, I couldn't understand what was going on with him. In the beginning of course Dusty and him hate each other, but that didn't mean that he had to bully Dusty as well. But later on he stops being part of the bullying and actually wants to know if she's ok, I guess she finally grew on him. I like that their relationship wasn't the main focus of the story like in many other YA paranormal novels, it was basically a side story. There are also many adult characters as well, for ex: the teachers, etc. But only a few of theme are important to the l=plot, while the others are just there. It was hard to remember everyone, but I'm used to it since I read many mangas (Japanese graphic novels) and some have a huge cast of characters. But this made it even harder to solve the mystery since there were so many suspects. I also love that there was no love triangle, yup, no love triangle (even so it seemed like it, it just didn't feel like one to me). I love that about a lot the books that have been published during and after 2012. I feel like the annoying trend of love triangles isn't as common as it used to be and isn't much of a trend anymore, thank Goodness. I did figure out some of the mystery early in the book, some of it was obvious, at least that's what I thought, and it annoyed me that characters couldn't get to the same conclusion as me. But I was wrong about who the mastermind and the true villain was. Overall, this book was fun to read. The Nightmare Affair is fun, entertaining, has some funny moments and funny dialogue (see some of the quotes I posted above), and unique. Plus, I love the more
by Nazish Ahmed
Fun, nostalgic kind of read with some interesting lore but not much more. This book felt like a throw back from the Harry Potter Fanfic days. You know, those times when everyone was reading or writing fanfic between the books and movies being released when we all just wanted a little more Hogwarts and a little more Golden Trio. That's not to say it's bad, there's some terrifically written fanfiction out there, but no matter how much you change, it's not going to be an original piece of work. The Nightmare Affair did exactly what I feel like it was supposed to do, it was a quick read that filled me with a warm 'coming home' feeling as I have missed Hogwarts greatly these passed few years. But it wasn't original enough to knock my socks off. The lore was interesting. The governing body of magical beings in this world have somehow managed to control magic so that it cannot be used for harm. More of this is revealed in the book, but I don't want to give too much away. This and the way the book started off made me have high hopes for a new magical boarding school with a twist, but it faltered and died towards the end. I feel like maybe this book was ruined a little for me as well. I read a review for it before I actually started reading it where someone didn't make their spoilers about who the bad guy was vague enough so I figured it out long before the end. I'll fully admit that I didn't get the proper reading experience in that aspect and that wasn't the authors fault so I can't tell you if the twists are hard to pick out or so obvious it's like being hit with a brick repeatedly. Maybe I should give the author a little more props for her work. It definitely was a fun, quick read with interesting characters and it wasn't badly written. Dusty and the type of magical being she is was a bit different to other stories I've read, and maybe my problem is I've just read too much in this genre, but again it wasn't anything that didn't reek of fanfic. The other characters were a bit generic; the pretty girl who doesn't want to be 'just' pretty, the pretty girl who is insecure but knows she can wrap boys around her fingers, the kid who knows he's better than everyone if he just had the chance to prove it, the bully who spars with our main female protagonist... Dusty's other love interest and dream partner was the only one who felt like he didn't quite go along with the normal generic characters but a week has gone by and I've already forgotten his name. Whether this started out as a fanfic I have no idea, I actually doubt it, but it's just not different enough to be a novel I'd actually say you should go out and buy. It's not special. It didn't fill me with the sense of reading something new. I hope the sequel is better but I don't know if I'll bother with it. For more reviews and book related things visit more
by Iona
I wanted this book to be so much more than it was. Every aspect in The Nightmare Affair seemed to be lacking the juice and ***** it needed to be something spectacular. The world building was non-existent and contrived, the characters were thrown at you with little to no back-story, and I turned the last page feeling pretty...hollow. There were many frames put up in this book, but there was no solid foundation, or walls, to support the ideas. Dusty Everhart is a nightmare, she survives by feeding off of the "fictus" (substance) in people's dreams. When I first read the synopsis, I thought "WHOA, that is so freaking cool, and original!". Inside, I began to brew up feelings of mystery and magic and a whole other slew of things I didn't get ONE ounce of, once I actually started reading. Dusty was your typical, hormone-enraged, slightly awkward in her own skin, teenaged girl. Take away the fact that she goes to a school for "magickind," and you're left with a premise that has infested almost every single fantasy/paranormal YA fiction novel about a teenager with magical powers. I was SO prepared for something different with The Nightmare Affair, and I believe that it fully intended to offer that to me, but unfortunately, it fell short, in so many ways. The characters in this are, for the most part, gifted with all sorts of magical powers. There are fairies, sirens, demons, wizards..the works. That fact alone left me a bit overwhelmed-there were just TOO many types of characters trying to exist at one time. It felt like the author was trying to throw as many in as possible, which caused character development to suffer as a result. While each character's ability definitely warranted awe, it all seemed a bit over exaggerated in the end. I also thought it was a little strange that every character, no matter their kind, attended classes to learn how to do the exact same magic. This is me nit-picking, I know, but combined, all of the little discrepancies added up to a huge snag in my mind. Dusty's character was a mile away from me, and while I enjoyed the entertainment aspect that she and Eli provided as they worked to solve a murder case, I felt no connection with her as a person. We were given a slight glimpse into the stilted relationship she had with her mother, but even that, was all it was: a slight glimpse. Her mother might as well have been an ex-best friend, or a roommate-that's how inconsequential their relationship felt. I don't think that dynamic was intentional, I think we were, as readers, supposed to feel the underlying love Dusty's mother had for her, but unfortunately, I felt nothing. The Nightmare Affair was not a complete bust, the storyline aimed outside the box, but sadly, hit the walls and fell inside of it. Okay, I'm talking about walls way too much. Bottomline here: I was entertained, but I wasn't jumping out of my seat. Recommended for: Fans of fantasy, contemporary, hormone-enraged romance, and been-there, done-that, more
by Reeka
I absolutely loved this book. It is one of the funnest books I have read lately. Destiny "Dusty" Everhart is 16 years old and she is a Nightmare, well half Nightmare and half human. Nightmares are magical people who feed on others dreams. Actually they feed on the fictus - the things dreams are made of. Her mom Moira was a Nightmare and her dad was human. After her powers appeared, she began attending Arkwell Academy, a school for the magickind. There are all sorts of magickind at Arkwell - sirens, werewolves, demons, witches, warlocks, etc. All the magickind are controlled by "The Will," a spell that has been set in place for a long, long time that keeps them from using their magic to harm others and to have them do what is required/expected of them. One night as Dusty was going to dream-feed, led my "The Will," she just happened to climb in the window of a boy from her old school, Eli Booker. Eli Booker is the hottest of all hotties from Dusty's old school, with the whole bad boy vibe and everything going on. When Dusty dream feeds, she sits across the chest of the person she is feeding from, puts her fingers on their forehead, and enters their dream with them. Needless to say, Eli's hottie status had her a little "anxious" though she wasn't sure if her heart palpitations were coming from fear or something else, as she sat across his chest. One important rule that must be followed when Nightmares dream-feed is that they must not touch or be touched in the dream by the person whose dream they have entered. It immediately kicks them out of the dream and the person wakes up. On this particular night, when Dusty enters into Eli's dream, it is different than any dream she has ever entered into before. It is in vivid color, very real, and involves a murder. What is even worse, is that Eli ends up touching her and wakes up, causing her to fall off him, and on top of that, he sees her and he recognizes her, and that is just the beginning. As it turns out, this was anything but a normal dream-walk and Dusty finds out she is a dream-seer, someone who has the ability to see the future through dreams. The catch to this ability is that it only works with the appropriate partner, and in Dusty's case, that partner happens to be Eli Booker. Even though Eli is an ordinary, arrangements are made for him to attend Arkwell Academy so that he and Dusty can begin regular sessions to try and see the future and figure out who murdered the person from their first dream.......yes, the murder that Dusty saw in Eli's dream was very real. Even though Eli isn't very happy at first about being there, he does want to solve this murder and the reason behind it, as does Dusty. Eli and Dusty begin their investigation, with the help of a few friends, and find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy of epic least epic for the magickind. The question is, will they find the answers they are looking for before it is too late for magickind and ordinary humans alike? As I said above, this was one of the funnest books I have read in quite a while. I was sucked into the story from the very beginning and completely absorbed in it until the end. I loved the plot, which was original, entertaining and creative. I especially loved the characters. Dusty was a hoot. She is funny, sarcastic, very strong-willed, and very stubborn. I loved Eli to, he is definitely a hottie and I loved seeing the way his and Dusty's relationship grew from hate, to friends, to more, and how protective he was of her. The secondary characters were just as entertaining, and there were quite a few, all of which were well written and fun to get to know. The Nightmare Affair has magic, mystery, conspiracy, danger, fun, and romance. This combination sets the stage for an entertaining and captivating read, which I thoroughly enjoyed and would definitely more
by Ellen Gault
There are several reasons why I was drawn to this book. First, look at that gorgeous cover. Second, the summary that reminded me of Hex Hall, which I enjoyed a lot. And last-and most important- how often do you see nightmares featured in YA paranormal lit? That's right, never. Million coolness points for originality in that department. I clearly remember when my granny told me about the folk tale that, if you sleep on your back and leave the window open, the Nightmare comes to sit on your chest and suffocates you. Creepy much? I don't remember having nightmares until after she told me that...but I digress. I assumed that the Nightmare in this book would have at least some of the creepiness of the folk tales. I did like Dusty for her sarcasm and imperfections, but I was largely underwhelmed by the paranormal aspect of it. I found the whole story to be rather predictable and unexciting. The appearance of a certain mythical persona was a nice touch...but sadly, too little too late. Another problem I had were the characters. Dusty and her mother aside, they lacked depth and dynamics. I appreciated that the focus was not on the romance. There was a budding love triangle, none of it that I really felt due to the above mentioned lacking character development. Now, before you assume I didn't like this book, let me say that I did. It was great entertainment for a rainy evening and I never felt the urge to pick up something else or stop reading altogether. It's just that many things were too flat to make this book stand out or to make it memorable. If you're looking for an easy and quick read, The Nightmare Affair is definitely a book you should check more
by Ivana
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