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

Author: Mindee Arnett

Publisher: Tor Teen

Release date: March 5, 2013

Rating: 4 stars – I REALLY ENJOYED IT!

Purchase from Amazon | Barnes & Noble


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


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.


Dusty Everhart is a Nightmare, a magical being who feeds off of dreams in order to sustain her magic. Sort of like a succubus, but she’s not evil. Not one bit. When Dusty breaks into Eli Booker’s bedroom and goes into his dream, she is confused. Eli is dreaming about a murder, of a girl that Dusty knows goes to her school. Things get even more complicated when Eli touches Dusty in the dream and thrusts her out.

No one has ever done that before and all Dusty can do is run.

When the dream of the murder becomes true, Eli and Dusty join together, following the clues hidden in Eli’s dreams as well as around them. With her motley crew, Dusty sets out to find the killer before another body is found.

Dusty Everhart is spunky and has no filter. Her voice throughout the story is what drives the novel. She is also very sarcastic and unapologetic. I really liked that about her because she’s not afraid to be who she is. People have a disdain for her because she’s a Nightmare, but she doesn’t let it affect her entirely to the point that she’s an outcast. Dusty is also a fighter and stands up firmly for what she believes in.

Then there is Eli. Dusty has a connection with Eli that I absolutely loved! Eli is this unbelievably attractive, brooding, and sweet guy. At first, he doesn’t know what to think of Dusty. I mean, the first time he meets her she’s feeding off of his dream! That would put any guy at arm’s length. He soon begins to care about Dusty and her well-being. He’s even a little bit jealous (at least in my opinion) when another guy becomes part of her life. It’s glaringly obvious that Eli more than cares about Dusty and others know it, except for Dusty herself.

Eli is also an all around great guy. He sticks up for the underdogs, and doesn’t stand behind bullying. He’s his own person and I really liked that he didn’t fit the typical hot guy persona. You know, the one where the guy follows the crowd but inside he’s a great guy? Well, Eli is a great guy and he projects that inside and out.

I also liked the supporting characters. They each attributed something for the cause. Plus, it was nice getting to know Dusty’s best friend, Selene and her potential love interest, even though I was rooting for Eli FTW.

As for the story itself, the first three chapters were a bit hard to get into as the author uses them to paint Dusty’s world in our mind, which was creatively written! But after baring through those chapters, I was instantly hooked with Dusty’s story. The novel was very fast-paced afterwards as Dusty got closer and closer to figuring out the cause for the murders. Yes, murders as in plural. It was like a detective story, where Dusty and her friends try to figure out what in the world is going on. They also single-handedly do what the police cannot: find the cause for the murders and the killer.

The ending is a complete 180. I did not see it coming whatsoever. When I was sure who the killer was, I was proven wrong. It’s the person you least expect it to be.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Nightmare Affair. It was fast paced, quirky, and full of mystery. It’s sets up the series rather nicely and I cannot wait to see what else Arnett has in store for Dusty, Eli, and Selene!

I received an eARC copy of this novel via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


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  1. theskepticalreader

     /  May 3, 2013

    A nightmare? Intriguing. 🙂

  2. I ordered this book and Let the Sky Fall… can’t wait to read them!

  1. The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett | Therine is dying to read...

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