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Book Review: The Nightmare Dilemma by Mindee Arnett

The Nightmare Dilemma was one of my most anticipated sequels of 2014, so I was delighted and worried about reading it early. I had such high expectations…and wow, were they exceeded.

Book Review: The Nightmare Dilemma by Mindee Arnett

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The Nightmare Dilemma mindee arnett book review

Title & Author: The Nightmare Dilemma (Arkwell Academy) by Mindee Arnett

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy – Magic, Paranormal

Release Date: March 4, 2014

Series: The Arkwell Academy #2

Publisher: Tor Teen

How I Got the Book: ARC via Publisher


“The second in a thrilling new fantastical mystery series

Dusty Everhart might be able to predict the future through the dreams of her crush, Eli Booker, but that doesn’t make her life even remotely easy. When one of her mermaid friends is viciously assaulted and left for dead, and the school’s jokester, Lance Rathbone, is accused of the crime, Dusty’s as shocked as everybody else. Lance needs Dusty to prove his innocence by finding the real attacker, but that’s easier asked than done. Eli’s dreams are no help, more nightmares than prophecies.

To make matters worse, Dusty’s ex-boyfriend has just been acquitted of conspiracy and is now back at school, reminding Dusty of why she fell for him in the first place. The Magi Senate needs Dusty to get close to him, to discover his real motives. But this order infuriates Eli, who has started his own campaign for Dusty’s heart.

As Dusty takes on both cases, she begins to suspect they’re connected to something bigger. And there’s something very wrong with Eli’s dreams, signs that point to a darker plot than they could have ever imagined.”

Better Than Ever Before

I rarely ever say this, but, I think I might have loved The Nightmare Dilemma more than The Nightmare Affair. Which is crazy talk because…well…that never happens.

And, I’m so thankful for it because Lord knows I can’t stomach another terrible sequel. Mindee Arnett is quickly becoming a new favorite and must-read-everything-she-writes author.

On to the The Nightmare Dilemma thoughts: I absolutely 100 want to live in or at least visit the world Arnett created in this story. The Arkwell Academy is one of the only stories beside Harry Potter that describes interesting magical classes and shows what students are learning and experiencing.

In fact, in The Nightmare Dilemma, even more is revealed about what Dusty is studying and how her powers are progressing. To me, this added SO MUCH to the life of the book – so much character and individuality.

I always talk about things like “romantic tension” when I describe a couple who wants to be together yet can’t somehow. Although Dusty and Eli totally fit the bill, there’s more to it in the sequel. Arnett isn’t afraid to make things awkward. Like…mega awkward.

Which only added more feeling and reality to the whole situation. I loved the conflict they feel and the total confusion on Dusty’s part – cuz Eli is just acting crazy and isn’t make any explanations.

And There’s More Where That Came From

What I loved the most about The Nightmare Dilemma was knowing that there’s more to go. When you finish a sequel and think “well, other than this cliffhanger, what else can possibly happen?” that’s a bad sign.

With this series, I’m wondering how everything will be contained to only three books (just assumming, there could be more than a trilogy planned). There’s A LOT here.

There’s the whole political side to things – how different magickinds are being (mis)treated – and the whole dream walking thing, not to mention the whole I’m a teenager confused with my complicated emotions thing.

To top it all off, The Nightmare Dilemma is just a solid piece of fiction. There are so many twists and turns, I dare you to keep up. Dusty is just as saucy as ever, and even more endearing. Plus other characters are looked at bit more closely and add to the story’s depth.


If you haven’t started The Arkwell Academy series, you really should. It’s fun, magical and highly addicting. The Nightmare Dilemma is actually better than the first book, and you KNOW I don’t say that lightly – a truly excellent novel!

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.