Nightmare Hall: Silent Scream by Diane Hoh Recap & #BookReview

Saturday, June 16 2018

Nightmare Hall: Silent Scream by Diane Hoh Recap & #BookReview

Nightmare Hall: Silent Scream by Diane Hoh Recap & #BookReview Posted on: Last updated on: June 16, 2018 Title: Silent Scream | Author: Diane Hoh | Series: Nightmare Hall, Book 1 | Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. | Pub. Date: 07/10/1993 | ISBN13: 9780590488266 | Genre: Teen Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Presumed suicide | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Self-Purchased Nightmare Hall: Silent Scream Jess is eager to start school . . . until she learns a girl killed herself in Jess’s room. And she’s not entirely gone . . . Since most of these books came out during my not-so-glorious tween years I was an absolute nut for them. I ate them up like candy and still have many of my favorites in physical copies. But it’s been awhile since I’ve read them. I can’t wait to see if they hold up, are dated or any other issues that might come up with them. The Nightmare Hall series by Diane Hoh was a natural starting point. I remember loving the series and Diane Hoh’s other books as well. The first in the series is Silent Scream. As the above synopsis states, Jess is starting out at college in an off-campus dorm named Nightingale Hall. Over time it will become dubbed Nightmare Hall due to all of the spooooky happenings there. It will be a little more spoilery than your typical review so…yeah, Spoilers! This review is to test the waters a bit. If the interest is there we may move to full-on snark-tastic recaps. I will let you, dear readers, decide if you’re interested in seeing them weekly (or perhaps monthly, we haven’t really settled on a schedule yet). Nightmare Hall: Silent Scream Review Nightmare Hall: Silent Scream starts out pretty well. There is a pretty grisly scene in the beginning to which some people might be sensitive to. A female student is found hanging in her dorm room by the housemother. It’s described quite well. That sounds insensitive but what I meant was that it wasn’t written for shock value and it was treated quite seriously. The new dormies are a group of freshmen that haven’t heard what happened. Jess is the main character and she’s pretty well-rounded. Definitely not a Mary Sue. The others are presented with stereotypes intact but their personalities grow as the story goes on. There’s Linda the Swimmer, Cath the Uber-Serious Parentally Pressured Overachiever, Milo the Poet, Ian the All-Around Good Guy, Jon the Ladies Man and Jess, All-Around Good Girl. There’s also Trucker, the handyman. His name made me laugh a bit and I couldn’t help but feel like the author was reaching for the most blue-collar name she could find. They learn about Nightingale Hall’s recent history fairly quickly and (surprise, surprise) it turns out that Jess has the room where Giselle apparently committed suicide. I say apparently because pretty soon Jess finds out some information that casts doubt on what happened. A series of fairly consequential ‘pranks’ start happening around the house. First the housemother suffers an injury, leaving them without adult supervision in the off-campus dorm. Cath’s important literature paper goes missing. For some reason she blames Milo, even going so far as to toss his room. She ends up rewriting the whole thing so if he did steal it to turn in it’s useless to him. Linda’s team swim suit is shredded. Linda suspects Cath did it in retaliation for defending Milo. Cath is indignant because she hasn’t left her room. When Linda points out the fire escape Cath retorts that her window won’t open. In fact, she thought someone (Milo) had glued it down for revenge. Trucker opens it easily, making Cath look like a liar. Milo says he actually does believe her but it’s not fun being unfairly accused. They also learn during this time that Milo had known Giselle in high school but didn’t mention it to them. Jess finds this a bit suspicious. Jess has been having other strange happening going on. Her room is freezing cold, somehow she ended up buying Giselle McKendrick’s old English textbook, she hears a scream in the night, some photo booth pictures taken with just her and Ian show a sad girl in them. Ian brushes it off as some kind of double exposure but Jess isn’t buying it. The same night that Cath’s paper is stolen she sees the shadow of a figure swinging in her room. They try to convince her it was a nightmare. A girl at a party tells Jess about a fight that Giselle had with someone the day before she died. The girl couldn’t identify who Giselle was fighting with but it seemed beyond a regular argument. It was a fight . Curiously the girl didn’t think it important enough to report to the police. Through all of the drama going on Jess has tried to be the reasonable peace-maker. The next event at the house is directed at her, however. In her shirt drawer she finds the bottom covered with worms. Which she seems to overreact to just a bit. She never wants to wear what was in the drawer ever again. But she can’t afford a new wardrobe so she’ll just have to suck it up, wash them and wear them. It’s not an important school paper or an expensive swimsuit. They’re just worms. Other, more serious things start happening. During a heart-to-heart between Jess and Linda the minute they mention the suicide the mirror explodes. Jess is unharmed, as is Linda. But Linda was only saved because she bent over to buckle her shoe. If she hadn’t the glass would have hit her dead on. Each time the subject has come up something has happened. The first night while talking about it a window slammed with everyone outside and shortly after a light went out. Later that evening Jess finds the papers that Ian had pulled from under the dresser when they took the worms out. One ends up being a Polaroid of Giselle with a thick black slash across it. Jess realizes that it was the same face from the photo booth. She also finds a note giving Giselle a threat of coming to get her and take her back…somewhere. It’s signed with Your Loving but conveniently has no name. This leads Jess to suspect that Giselle’s death may have been a murder. Jess shows them to everyone. Ian seems annoyed and Jess thinks about what the blonde girl had said. She realizes that Trucker, Ian, Jon and Milo were all on the campus when Giselle was fighting with someone. Again, she mostly fixates on Milo. But the person said they couldn’t even tell if it was a male or a female. Cath again mentions Giselle taking her own life and a door slams open. More things happen. Cath’s paper turns up in Milo’s book. They fight again. Ian has been acting weird about the letters. It all culminates in Jess being knocked out and thrown into a cellar full of gas. She escapes but lands right at the killer’s feet. Ooops. Then we get the monologue (no good villain should be without one!) . He says that Giselle had promised to come back after a year to marry him but never did. He almost kills Jess but is scared off. They again suspect Milo because he wasn’t with them and a swatch Jess found matches a coat he owns. Only Linda disbelieves it. I have to say the evidence is pretty slim. The letters were in Milo’s room but could easily have been planted, the coat…same thing. I suspect Trucker. Anyway, Milo is ticked and leaves telling them not to touch his stuff or they’ll be sorry. Jess freaks and doesn’t want him to leave but they have no real proof. They find the typewriter used on the letters in Milo’s closet so now Jess is convinced and so is Linda. Ian says they’ll take it to the police the next day but right now they have a dance to go to! Because Dance trumps murder every time. After the dance Milo is cleared by random girl and Jess feels really bad about judging him unfairly. Trucker tries one last frame-up of Milo and attacks Jess only to be thwarted by Giselle’s ghost. Trucker dies and Nightingale Hall feels like home again. I actually got into reading Nightmare Hall: Silent Scream . Some of the references were a bit dated and made me laugh. Such as Ian and Jess casually mentioning Gone with the Wind like every twenty year old reads it. Also Jon mentions a pretty girl dumping him by sending him a cassette tape with “that song about all the ways to leave your lover” and a note that said, “Get it?” (which is a little mean but also a bit clever). I got the reference but I’m curious how many teens would today. The story and the mystery were interesting although the author tried so hard to make Milo out to be the bad guy that it obviously wasn’t. All in all a fun series that I’ll probably continue with if you guys are interested. Mixed in with other nineties horror it should be a blast! Pass It On: