The only way I can properly describe Scream All Night by Derek Milman, his debut novel, is this: whatever you think should never happen in reality, actually, somehow, happens. It is fantastically chaotic, confusing and hilarious. Scream All Night narrates the story of Dario Heyward, who had made the promise to himself at age eleven, that he was to never set foot in Moldavia Studios ever again. Moldavia Studios is Dario’s family estate and business. He grew up there with his director father, Lucien Heyward and his mother, Isabella Moldavia. Moldavia Studios is a B-horror movie production company who have been responsible for creating the fictional cult horror classics, such as The Curse of the Mummy’s Tongue and Zombie Children of the Harvest Sun. The premise of the story surrounds Dario having to go back to his childhood home for the ‘funeral’ of his father (which, I will not spoil anything for you, but this scene was one of the most hilarious scenes I have ever read), which he decided to go to as a result of his own feelings of guilt and remorse.
Derek Milman writes an engaging story which, although extremely amusing, touches on significant issues concerning mental health and child abuse. Though the narrative itself concentrates on Dario’s mission to save Moldavia Studios in six months, Milman ensures that Dario’s mental health issues and his PTSD surrounding his father and mother, are treated with respect and integrity – his mental health is never sugarcoated, but is represented as real and raw as it needs to be, especially in YA. Dario himself shows incredible strength and courage in going back to the place that was such a traumatic experience for him. I won’t go into detail, but reading it broke my heart into pieces, literally shattered my soul. Milman’s ability to write such raw scenes speaks to his masterful ability to weave such depth of emotion into what are ordinary scenes. In this sense, Scream All Night was more about personal growth and redemption than a romance novel which was intrinsically refreshing for a novel in the Young Adult genre. There is a romantic relationship, but that plotline between Hayley and Dario is more in the background since it does not overtake the overall narrative, which was exactly what made this novel as intriguing and darkly humorous as it was.
I wish I could say all the things I want to say, but honestly, a lot of what I want to say involves spoilers, so I will not write about it. However, I need to spend at least a little time discussing Dario’s brother, Oren. Oren is the most eccentric a person could possibly be. He has his own issues as a result of his past and his relationship (or non-relationship, really) with his father, but he is so impossibly insane in the best possible way. Case in point, Oren’s movie idea to help save Moldavia Studios is the script that he wrote called The Ciller Cauliflowers. It is as terrible and hilarious as you think. Honestly, Milman wrote some of the dialogue of the script as a part of the narrative and it cured me of all my stresses. Though Dario and Oren have significant issues between them as a result of past abuse and trauma, there is a moment in Scream All Night when the past is brought back in the present with a bang (which results in another type of bang, when you read it, you’ll understand), it provides a sort of redemptive arc for Oren and a new beginning for the brothers’ relationship.
I would have to say, though, that my main and only critique of this novel, is the fact that at times, the story itself moved fast. Scenes jumped and thus, time moved forward and I found that it took me a few moments to understand how many months passed and orient myself back to the story itself. It does not detract from the story, but it was the only aspect which slightly annoyed me. However, I do understand why it was needed, if the story detailed every single moment of the process of saving Moldavia Studios and thus, filming the comeback sequel to resurrect Moldavia Studios, the novel would end up being three times its size. So I completely get it from that standpoint, but it was the only thing that I can critique from Scream All Night.
Overall, I would then rate Scream All Night by Derek Milman a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend all readers who love YA or who love anything to do with B-horror films, the behind-the-scenes of movie production – you will be a fan of this novel. Although it is constantly hilarious, it deals with dark and traumatic events and significant mental health illnesses. At its core, it is a beautiful story with an ending as hopeful and wonderful as the characters themselves. Scream All Night will be released on the 24th of July, 2018 – so today! Be sure to check it out, friends!
That’s all for this review, friends! Until next time, happy reading!
About the Author: Derek Milman
Derek Milman has worked as a playwright, screenwriter, film school
teacher, DJ, and underground humour magazine publisher. A
classically trained actor, he has performed on stages across the
country and appeared in numerous TV shows, commercials, and
films. Derek currently resides in Brooklyn, where he writes full
time. Scream All Night is his debut YA novel. Night Flight, coming in
2019, will be his second novel for young adults.
I received a free e-book ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest and un-bias review. I also want to express my sincere thanks to Mindbuck Media Book Publicity for their patience and allowing me to receive a review copy of Scream All Night by Derek Milman.