Scream All Night
Author: Derek Milman
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: July 24, 2018
A darkly hilarious contemporary realistic young adult novel about growing up and finding your place in the world, perfect for fans of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Running With Scissors.Dario Heyward knows one thing: He’s never going back to Moldavia Studios, the iconic castle that served as the set, studio, and home to the cast and crew of dozens of cult classic B-horror movies. It’s been three years since Dario’s even seen the place, after getting legally emancipated from his father, the infamous director of Moldavia’s creature features.But then Dario’s brother invites him home to a mysterious ceremony involving his father and a tribute to his first film—The Curse of the Mummy’s Tongue. Dario swears his homecoming will be a one-time visit. A way for him to get closure on his past—and reunite with Hayley, his first love and costar of Zombie Children of the Harvest Sun, a production fraught with real-life tragedy—and say good-bye for good. But the unthinkable happens—Dario gets sucked back into the twisted world of Moldavia and the horrors, both real and imagined, he’s left there.
With only months to rescue the sinking studio and everyone who has built their lives there, Dario must confront the demons of his past—and the uncertainties of his future. But can he escape the place that’s haunted him his whole life?
Hello, friends and followers of Brooke-Reports! My name is Tom, and I happen to be married to the one and only Brooke of Brooke-Reports! When she originally got Scream All Night in the mail, I had thought it looked interesting, but YA isn’t my typical area of expertise.
A little bit of background on me, I spent my teens and early 20s binge watching hours of cheesy creature features and gruesome low budget horror films, so, when I read the synopsis for Derek Milman’s debut, I knew I had to read it.
Though set in the world of schlock horror, with many homages to horror film masters, there was very little actual horror in this book. However, there were scenes that were gut wrenching and horrifying. Dario, the main character, is subjected to horrible mental and physical abuse at the hands of his obsessive film making father, as well as neglect and abandonment by his mentally decaying mother.
The main strength of Scream All Night, by far, had to be its characters. They are full of depth and incredibly intriguing. There are no real werewolves, vampires, or zombies in this book, every monster is human—but every monster also has their own pain and trauma—every character has a thin thread of light no matter how deep their inner darkness. I cared about each and every person until the end.
Among this cavalcade of characters are Jude, the best friend and brother Dario never had, whose emotional and physical scars rival Dario’s. Oren, the eccentric, manipulative, and much older brother Dario did have. Finally, there is Hayley, Dario’s love interest. She is kind, yet shrewd and fiery.
The ending brings us to my biggest issue with the novel. Within the last hundred pages I knew Scream All Night was going to be at least 100 pages too short. The author spent the first three hundred pages building a beautifully compelling world inside the walls of Moldavia, complete with rich characters and dark secrets. It seemed as though the last 80 pages were spent trying to close the story arcs so the it could just end.
I felt that I lost the sense of urgency that had been built around saving the studio from financial ruin. Also, the journey Dario went through was cut short before real change and growth could be affected. I feel the biggest missed opportunity, was the relationship between Dario and Hayley. I felt the author made the relationship work very well, but there was so much more he could’ve explored. There needed to be more drama and potential for failure and heartache. In the end the fate of the relationship was left far too open ended. The fate of everything important to the story was left too open ended.
All in all, I loved the characters and the premise, I loved the connection to a highly underrated film genre. I cannot however get over the feeling that the end of the book left a lot to be desired, but if there is ever a sequel I will be first in line to read it. In fact, in order to feel completely satisfied with this story I need a sequel.
~Tom, Brooke's Hubs