Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee is a young adult novel of two girls about to graduate from high school, but it’s not a high school book. Nor is it about finding your tribe—they’ve found their tribe. It’s about what happens when your tribe has to transition. Are endings always new beginnings or are they sometimes just endings? Is leaving always a betrayal? What happens when your original motivation changes? What if you ask the big questions: Why did you leave? Do I really want to do this?
Rayne and Delilah are screen names for Josie and Delia, respectively. They’ve been hosting a weekly horror movie show on cable access TV for a year and half; it’s syndicated in six markets. They got together because Josie wanted to go into TV as a career and Delia loved cheesy horror movies and the equally cheesy hosts who introduced them. Those movies and hosts are her remaining connection to the father who left when she was 7. Delia hopes that he’ll see the show, wherever he is, and feel both guilty and proud.
Josie and Delilah are true friends. They work hard on their show, and it’s delightful to watch their creative process with Arliss, the curmudgeon who works at the studio. And they are genuinely, laugh-out-loud funny. Their humor, while often sarcastic, isn’t mean. Well, unless you’re a middle-aged man creeping on two teenage girls, then they let the creative insults fly.
But the future brings complications to the show and their friendship. Josie has an offer for a TV internship in another city. A famous producer of horror movie TV shows meets with them about the future of their show. Delilah has located her father. And Josie seems to be falling in love.
Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee reminded me how much is going on under the surface of even the simplest-seeming decisions about the future. It increased my compassion for anyone making a life-level leap—all while making me laugh. This is a great read for teens and adults both. (Penguin Random House)