Thanks to Edelweiss and Balzer & Bray for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: 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 goodbye for good. But the unthinkable happens—Dario gets sucked back into the twisted world of Moldavia and the horrors, 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?
“This is a house full of misfits, everyone unmoored from the world outside these gates. They don’t belong out there. They live in a constantly moving dreamworld of imagined horrors, spurts of gore, skulking monsters—creatures more aberrant than themselves. After all, it takes true misfits to make believable monsters.”
Where do I start? Scream All Night is one of the most creative and original, yet totally bonkers books, I’ve come across in a long time. I read it last summer, yet I still remember it like it was yesterday. As the book opens, seventeen-year-old Dario (named after Italian giallo-horror director Dario Argento), finds himself reluctantly back in the bizarre world of Moldavia Studios after having legally emancipated himself from his parents. His mother is in a mental institution and his brilliant but abusive father has planned a live funeral for which attendance is mandatory. Dario has some extremely mixed feelings regarding his childhood and family, so once he returns to deal with some of these larger than life characters, he also has to deal with both the wonderful and the traumatic memories that he escaped from.
“That’s when I learned that with beauty comes a little bit of terror. That pretty much sums up my childhood here: something cool would happen, immediately followed by something traumatic. I could never come to terms with those knee-jerk jumps.”
What ensues is a darkly comedic coming-of-age story that will have you laughing out loud one moment and tearing up the next. It’s a zany mix combining the moving story of a young man facing his childhood demons, with the ludicrous, over-the-top antics of his family. The creepy setting of a castle where B horror movies are made just makes it all even more nuts.
“The spiders will always hatch out of the flowers. But now I like to think of the moments before, when they’re just flowers, blooming and they can be pinched closed so that all that prettiness lasts a little longer before the inevitable horror comes.
Scream All Night is a YA book that I highly recommend to adults who don’t normally read books for teens. It’s quirky and heart wrenching, and you’re bound to fall in love with Dario. Derek Milman’s flawless writing has made me a fan and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!