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The Nightmare Affair

(The Arkwell Academy #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  7,695 ratings  ·  898 reviews
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, wh
Hardcover, 367 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Tor Teen
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Ash Burry Yup. There is a love interest throughout the book, but there is another guy, Eli, who she mentions as “hot” and feels uncomfortable around him feeling…moreYup. There is a love interest throughout the book, but there is another guy, Eli, who she mentions as “hot” and feels uncomfortable around him feeling an attraction. (less)
Miriam Robarts I would have said, "mild swearing" or "minor bad language" as well.

re: "definition of mild": I can't remember for sure (which specific words) but it …more
I would have said, "mild swearing" or "minor bad language" as well.

re: "definition of mild": I can't remember for sure (which specific words) but it had stuff like Sh**, Da**, & blasphemy, but I don't think there were any of the more "shocking" or "offensive" words like the F-word. I do remember characters flipping people off, though (as well as a dishwasher).

There wasn't a ton of it, but enough for me to notice. It was used in frustration, rather than in an offensive / demeaning way toward another person as far as I remember.

There are sexual references (you know people are sexually active--or want to be). But no descriptive scenes. There is kissing / making out (& checking out shirtless guys).

I would rate it PG13. It had a light tone, like a chick-flick.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  7,695 ratings  ·  898 reviews

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Start your review of The Nightmare Affair (The Arkwell Academy, #1)
For a book that initially sounded so original, I hate to say that I found The Nightmare Affair to be helplessly average. Enjoyable? Yes--hence my three star rating. I did have fun reading The Nightmare Affair, and, overall, I did enjoy it, but as a whole I found it to be an ultimately familiar read.

The paranormal lore aspect to The Nightmare Affair is for the most part fresh, bringing new and fun ideas to the table, and the world-building is somewhat thorough and interesting, albeit not entirel
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies

I'm so happy to have read this book after the glut of horrible, unoriginal YA paranormal I've been encountering lately. I love the concept, premise, and execution. The characters are well-balanced and believable, the mystery is well thought out, and even if it's not terribly difficult to figure out whodunnit, this is one of the far better YA books I've read in awhile.

The summary: Dusty (Destiny) is a Nightmare, one of the only ones left in the world, attending Arkwell school. She's rather inf
Oct 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook, arc
Nightmares! We all know what they are, we've all gotten them, but for Dusty, this is a little more literal than you would think. She IS a Nightmare, meaning she "feeds" by hopping into people's dreams. However she soon learns that that's not all there is to it--especially in her case.

For the lore and originality, this book gets all its points. I enjoyed learning about all the different paranormal beings in this book. While some are not what you would consider original--werewolves and faeries ar
shady boots
This review is also available over at my blog.


This was a very fun read!

Obviously what first lured me into wanting to read this book was the Nightmare concept, which I thought was very interesting, and I'm always intrigued when an author creates their own species of paranormal creatures. Nightmares feed on dreams, and the stuff that dreams are made of, called fictus. But Dusty isn't just any Nightmare. She's also a dream-seer, which means she can see the future through drea
Jul 30, 2012 rated it liked it
EDIT 30/07/2012:
"He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing."

No way!!!


This one sounds like an amazing mystery and the main character, Dusty is a nightmare, so cool!
Wendy Darling
3.5 stars Dusty is a girl who is literally a nightmare. Reading the synopsis about this girl who feeds off bad dreams (based on mythical mares in folklore), I didn't expect to find that this story would have a more lighthearted tone. The overall feel of the book is pretty humorous and the story is fast-paced, and both the writing style and the set-up of a school for magical creatures reminded me quite a bit of Rachel Hawkins' Hex Hall series.

I have to admit that while I enjoyed the story while
Rating: 2 Stars/DNF

From first glance, Arnett's debut seems to have a lot going for it. An eye-catching cover? Check. Gorgeous title fonts and imagery? Check. A fascinating new idea? Check. Unfortunately, however, The Nightmare Affair is - no pun intended - a nightmare to read. While it starts off promising enough with a unique premises, it soon deteriorates into nothing more than a stereotypical paranormal mystery, riddled with a Hogwarts-eque boarding school and topped off with silly, unrealis
This was a pretty great read! I'm surprised at how much I enjoyed it because I haven't heard much about it. I remember being drawn to the cover because I liked it so much. I had no idea it was going to be a paranormal mystery set in a boarding school. Knowing my love for boarding school reads, I think I would have read this sooner. Sad that I had the e-ARC and only read it just now. So glad I bought a finished copy because I enjoyed it immensely.

Dusty is one hilariously witty main character. Of
Sep 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I believe my first words were, "I want to have this book's babies." And I stand by them. ...more
Joshee Kun (조수아)
In my honest opinion, this underrated book is the love child of Harry Potter and Nancy Drew (or even Sherlock Holmes). Filled with the delights of magic, mystery, adventure and friendship, The Nightmare Affair has integrated the best of both worlds.

However, I will not be hasty and categorize it as fan fiction, for it has shown originality in its own special way. Otherwise, I bet our beloved Marissa Meyer wouldn't have blurbed it. I dare you to contradict me, or her for that matter. Hahaha. For m
Victoria Scott
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR is a fast-paced paranormal mystery with flesh and blood characters and intrigue galore. Arnett has a fresh, witty voice that keeps you turning pages with lightening speed.

Eli was my favorite character (and not just because he's smoking hot), and every time he and Dusty shared a dream I couldn't help holding my breath. What I really loved about this book is the way it wrapped up so neatly, but left you wanting MORE. There's definitely enough world-building to have multiple b
Christina (Ensconced in Lit)
Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I've seen the Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett around and the premise was enticing enough for me to pick it up. Dusty is a Nightmare in the most literal sense, and she has to feed on dreams of people for energy/magic/fictus. She feeds one night on a hot guy from her old school, Eli, but he notices her in the dream and forcefully wakes them up. Turns out they are a Dream-Seer duo, and now both attend a magical school. From ther
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
A copy of The Nightmare Affair was provided to me by Tor Teen/Netgalley for review purposes.

Mare or Nightmare
1. an evil spirit or goblin in Germanic folklore which rides on people's chests while they sleep, bringing on bad dreams (or "nightmares").

Dusty is a relatively normal 16 year-old girl, except for that whole "my mother is a Nightmare". In the most literal sense. Literal meaning she's a mythical creature that feeds on what dreams are made of. One night while Du
Maryam Dinzly
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I got this book at a book sale for a very very cheap price and I am SO glad that I bought it because this is one of those books that you guys have to read. It's totally underrated, but come on, I'm telling you to pick up this book so you'd better do so. NOW.

Her name is Dusty Everheart and she breaks into people's houses in the middle of the night because she is a Nightmare. Literally. She needs to feed on people's dreams and give them nightmares. I personally think that this is VERY VERY cool an
Lindsay Cummings
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
awesome book! such a FRESH concept!! Love the main character, love the writing style...totally enjoyed it! fun read for sure, and thanks to the author for letting me read it early!!!
Sierra the Nerdgirl
3.5 Stars. I really enjoyed this book. Sometimes a book doesn't need to be award worthy to be entertaining and good.

So this isn't going to be a very in-depth or thought out review because it's not the type of book that needs one, if that makes sense. Starting off the book, I had a really hard time getting into it, and I think that had more to do with my mood and the stress of my summer program than the actual book itself. But once I had time and I actually really started it, I was sucked in. A
I Eat Words
Nov 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
AH. This was So. Good. Magic, romance, mystery, suspense--I was on my toes the whole time! This is definitely one to pick up if you liked Hex Hall, Paranormalcy, or Harry Potter. :)
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Three and a half stars: A fun introduction to a magical series featuring a unique protagonist!

Dusty sneaks through the window, anxious to get her dream feeding over so she can return to her dorm. She tries to ignore the boy's sexy, half naked body as she straddles his chest and prepares to walk into his dreams. You see, Dusty is not exactly an ordinary girl, she recently came into her magical abilities and learned that she was a Nightmare. As a Nightmare, she feeds off others' dreams. As Dusty e
Nov 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is truly an adorable gem. If you're look for a paranormal private investigators type book for a young adult audience, this would be your pick in a heartbeat. Keep in mind it is not for little kids because there are some sexual innuendos. I mean, Dusty has to kneel on a guys chest to feed of of his dreams! Even she refers to the positioning as awkwardly kinky!

I don't know about you guys, but I love magical schools. The Arkwell Academy is ranked up there with Hex Hall if you ask me, thou
3.5 stars

It's hard being 16 years old, but it's even harder when you just came into your powers and start to crave the 'fictus' that is needed to replenish magic. So, that's why we begin this story with Destiny (Dusty) Everhart breaking into a house ready to sit on her subjects chest and enter his dreams. See, she's a Nightmare. Literally, and needs to dream-feed to live. Only she wasn't thrilled with the idea when she learned that the subject is no other then Elijah Booker, the really cute popu
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
I received this book as an ARC. I was so excited to get it. I have been counting down the days until its release. I am sure if time and family would have allowed, I would have read it all in a day or 2 at the most. It was such a fun read. I loved the murder/mystery aspect of the story. It wasn't at all what I was expecting. I liked the different take on Magickind. I loved that the author focused on magic characters that are usually in the background. She brought secondary magickind creatures to ...more
This book was absolutely amazzzzzzzzing!

Go to my blog ...On The Shelf to read my full review.

With this book, I didn't feel as if the author was reaching or even using recycled cliches to tell the story. Arnett's characters felt fresh. The story line drives you to keep reading even when you think you know who the killer maybe. Dusty's character is also relatable in the fact that, even though readers may not have magical powers, they may have experienced feeling like an outsider before, a feelin
Oct 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
The main heroine here had some good moments, but mostly it was your typical paranormal YA drivel, complete with a predictable plot, insecure but oh-so-special MC (her powers are super-special), silly adults, drooling-at-first-sight and standard flat characters. There was a lot of pointing out how 'hot' the male lead was, and - drumroll - the evil bitchy popular girl. Every school just HAS to have one of those, right? ...more
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
I had no idea why this was in my to-read list, but it was, and honestly, from the blurb, it did sound orignal. But I was wary of it because most of the early 2010's ya novels are total shit, but I wanted to try this, bexause idea of nightmares as humans sounds really interesting, but unfortunately, this turned out to be very fucking boring. Here are few of the things which made this book a total shit:

● Lazy writing. The writing was extremely mediocre and childish. It was so fucking emotionless.
Sharon Mariampillai
Thank you Sharon J for recommending this series to me. This was an incredible read. The story was a fast-paced paranormal mystery. The world was intriguing and different. The dreams were really creatively done and beautifully written. I thought that the characters were fantastic. Dusty is 16-year-old, who breaks into houses at night, and is a dream-seer aka a Nightmare. She attends Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for the magickind, and is the only Nightmare in the school. Eli is another favou ...more
Rashika (is tired)
I spend my Valentines with The Nightmare Affair, get it? (It's lame I know.. just go along with me :P)

This review is also posted on my blog

“Imagination is magic.”

This was such a fun read!!!

Like most people, what intrigued me about this book was the nightmare concept. There aren’t a lot of books written about actual nightmares or anything close to that for that matter. I always love it when I discover a whole new type of paranormal species or a whole new idea of paranormal. Basically Nightmares s
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
INT Giveaway on the blog! http://somelikeitparanormall.blogspot...

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 tak
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Devyani by: Read-along with Zemira.

I would be cheating myself and this book if I didn't say that I enjoyed this book.

I actually quite liked the whole concept of this book. For me, it was something I hadn't about or read before. So it was really refreshing. It was fast-paced and didn't have a single dull moment. I flew through the entire book and it was really fun.

The pretty cover and the synopsis of the book had attracted me to it almost instantly as soon as I saw it. Hello, we have a nightmare in the house? How much m
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

One of my most anticipated reads of 2013, this book didn't disappoint. While it didn't blow me away, I still enjoyed it quite a lot.

There were just a few issues I had with it. The story is built around a lot of mystery and suspense but I found it to be really predictable. I worked it out almost from the beginning and found that the character that I suspected was bland uninteresting and there seemed to be no other reason for him to be there, but for him to be the bad guy when it came to
Natalie (Never trust a duck)
That was quite an adventure. I kinda need the now.

So we've got our main character, Dusty (her full name is Destiny but she isn't the biggest fan of that so she goes by Dusty), is about as sarcastic and hilarious as you can get. She is a redhead (as am I, so I have a right to say this next part) and since we're getting out of that phase where literally ALL of the authors were penning redheaded characters, I was alright with it. I called that time the Weasley Epidemic, but back to th
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YA Author of THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR, a contemporary fantasy coming March 5, 2013 from Tor Teen (Macmillan) and AVALON, a YA sci-fi thriller coming Winter 2014 from Balzer+Bray (HarperCollins). Represented by the fabulous Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary. Addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic, the macabre, and outer space.

Other books in the series

The Arkwell Academy (3 books)
  • The Nightmare Dilemma (The Arkwell Academy, #2)
  • The Nightmare Charade (The Arkwell Academy, #3)

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