Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Nightmare Hall #1 - The Silent Scream

Ok so this one isn't a Fear Street, but it's the first book in the Nightmare Hall series, which is very similar, written by Dianne Hoh. Instead of Shadyside, we have Nightingale Hall, nicknamed Nightmare Hall, an off campus dorm which is Salem University's answer to Fear Street.

I LOVE the covers to the Nightmare Hall series! Each one features a brick building with the window in the middle, and through the window you see an image relevant to the book. This one for example has a broken rope hanging from above viewable through the window. But that's not the best part. When you open the cover, there's another cover page featuring the whole image that you can only see a snippet of through the window. When you open this one you see a girl lying face down on the floor beneath the frayed rope, probably dead, in a spacious room with her school books scattered around her.
Aah I love it! Anyway lets read on!

The prologue opens with the housemother of Nightingale Hall, Isobel Coates, finding student resident Giselle McKendrick hanging from the lighting fixture in her bedroom. Wow shit got heavy real quick. The room is super cold despite the sunny weather. Weird.
Giselle's outfit matches the girls outfit on the cover, so it's obviously her. But on the cover the rope is broken AND almost reaches the floor so there's no way Giselle hung herself with that. I'm confused. Miscommunication between the writer and cover artist, or a completely different scene I haven't read yet? Let's read on.
The 5 other students living in the house all leave for the summer, vowing to never return to Nightmare Hall. Giselle's death was ruled an "apparent suicide", which makes sense to no one who knew her.
The house mother also leaves for the summer, hoping to forget about the tragedy.
Chapter one now and we meet our protagonist, Jessica Vogt, who's just travelled via bus to Twin Falls, the town where Salem University resides. Dropped off at Nightingale Hall, which apparently is a house and not a dorm so to speak, she meets the five other residents. Ian, who would be too good looking if not for his hooked nose, Jon, who is too good looking and knows it, Linda, who Jess pegs as a swimmer bc her yellow hair is tinged with green (coo0000ooOOoOool?), Cath, who would be pretty if she didn't look so tense and anxious, and Milo, who has long hair, a beard, and glasses. Sounds sexy. Not really. There's also a handyman there named Trucker (really? That's your name? Ok) who apparently is desperately needed bc the house is so run down and shambled. The housemother is in town, but had mailed Jess, the house monitor, a key, so they head inside.
The freshmen explore the huge, spacious house before going to their rooms. Naturally, Jess's new room belonged to Giselle, which we figure out quickly bc it's so00oOOOoo0o0 cold in there. But Jess isn't too bothered bc she has her own room for once, not to mention the size of it! It seems like a minor problem in comparison. She'll deal with it!
They have a porch party (it's just the six of them though.... exciting!) that night to get to know each other better. Jon, the attractive arrogant one, seems interested in Cath. Linda seems interested in Milo. Jess seems interested in Ian. He has a gap tooth which is suuuuuuper cute! I personally don't like them but each to their own! But yay, there's a boy for each of the girls to get their greasy mitts on!
Linda and Ian are living off campus bc they're swimming and baseball scholarships respectively didn't cover the room and board. Cath's parents are strict and want her to have no fun as they value education very highly! Poor girl. Jess is also too poor to live on campus and it's not specified why Jon, who is clearly rich, is living there all though Jess reckons he'll move into a frat house soon enough!
Ian ends up informing them all of Giselle's death the previous spring and Jess is horrified to find out it happened in her own room!They quickly lose their partying moods and clean up.
Inside, Mrs Coates is standing at the top of the stairs when suddenly she falls! She's taken to the hospital for a dislocated hip and will be kept there for a while. Before she goes though, she tells the group they can't stay there alone and must call her friend Maddie to come watch them. Maddie never picks up, so the group decides they'll manage by themselves. Trucker, who lives in an apartment above the garage, tells them Maddie is a bitch and will refuse anyway, so they'll be alone anyway.
After discussing the idea of a ghost in the house, The lights go out in the kitchen but are fine upstairs, so the group heads to bed.
That night Jess is awakened by a scream, but when she asks around the next day no one else heard anything suss so Jess think she dreamed it. NO JESS NO THAT PLACE IS HAUNTED I JUST KNOW IT.
They head to the campus to get registered where they learn that Giselle's death was an "apparent" suicide, not a proven one. Spooky! And they find out that her body was found by old Mrs Coates hanging from the lighting fixture.
When they get home that afternoon Jess calls Maddie and is delighted that she's not keen on babysitting but will pop in from time to time. Yay. I bet they'll have lots of porch parties now! Jess is flicking through her secondhand text books she'd just bought because she enjoys the smell of them (ok?) when she realises her new Lit book was owned by none other than Giselle McKendrick of Nightingale Hall! What a coincidence! Jess thinks it's maybe a bit more than that, too. Twinnyyyyy! Gee whiz. I like Jess.
That night the gang, excluding Milo who would rather go night fishing at the creek (loser) much to Linda's dismay, and including Trucker, much to Cath's dismay ("but he's the handyman!" She says. Well I say shut up bitch handymen are people too!), who is also a student now that he's registered for night classes, hit the town of Twin Falls to check out the local hangouts.
Nightingale Hall ideally happens to be located between the town and the campus, with a 15 and 10 minute walking time respectively. Luckyyyy! Anyway they head into Duffys and find a photo booth! Ian and Jess go first, and when they check out the photos the whole group is shocked to find that along with Jess and Ian, there's a second girl in the photo! Her image is a bit cloudy but you can make out a sad expression and her pale hair! It's gotta be Giselle! Yay ghosts! No one else agrees with me though as Ian decides it must be double exposure from the person who last used the booth. But Jess isn't so sure and can't stop thinking about the girl.
The next week flies by with the gang keeping themselves entertained as well as studying heaps. Except Cath who has no fun because all she does is study. And Milo who does no studying because all he does is fish. He annoys me.
Anyway on one particular night Cath comes screaming hysterically at Jess's door to be let in like she's about to be murdered only to reveal her Lit paper, which is due the next day, is MISSING! She'll get a C if she doesn't hand it in on time! A C! A FUCKING C! Fuck you Cath. I was always proud of my C's in high school.
She accuses Milo of stealing it because he's in the same class and hasn't even done an outline for the paper! Get your shit together Milo! Hurricane Cath tears apart Milo's room but comes up with nothing. She retires to her room to rewrite it while the others have a popcorn break down in the kitchen. Golly what fun!
Jess isn't so sure about Milo, who keeps to himself so none of them know that much about him. And she's super scared of the look he gave Cath when she accused him of theft. Oooooh. I reckon ghost Giselle took it the cheeky bitch.
The next day Avery McKendrick, Giselle's brother, comes to pick up a trunk of his sisters stuff. It took so long for him to come because he'd been stationed in the Philippines through the army. The gang is shocked when Avery greets Milo like an old friend and we find out that he and Giselle were close friends up until high school, but not the reason why the friendship ended. Milo mentions that Giselle had had a boyfriend from out of town. We also find out that everyone else except for Jess had been at Salem university for orientation. I feel like this may be important later.
Anyway trucker and Milo go get the trunk of Giselle's things from the cellar but Milo sends Trucker upstairs for a bit to get him a drink. Ok? Seems important.
Jess returns home after her classes that day to an empty house. Upstairs she finds a trail of muddy footprints that start in the middle of the hallway and end in her room. They literally just start in the middle of the floor. Weird. Linda comes home but has to hurry out, assuring Jess that it was just someone who put muddy shoes on in the hall and took them off again when they realised the mess they were making. As Jess cleans it all up, the footprints start to fade by themselves. Spooky!
Jess is awakened from a nap that evening to find a shadow on her wall of a body swinging back and forth from the lighting fixture. I think I'd literally shit my pants if I was Jess. But she manages to control her bowels.
When Linda, Ian and Milo barge in to investigate, the shadow disappears. The trio decides she just had a nightmare, even when Jess tells them about the scream she heard that first night. But Jess knows it was Giselle, but is easily convinced it was a dream. Idiot.
Jess and some of the others head to a party that night where Jess meets Beth, who tells her the day before Giselle's death, she'd seen her being beaten around by a guy on campus. She didn't recognise the guy who had longish dark hair.
Hmm. Ian has long dark hair! And Milo has long hair that I imagine is dark although it's not specified. These boys are suss.
Jess really likes Ian btw and they finally kiss before going to bed. But she's disappointed because he hasn't asked her to the ball which will be coming up soon! Crud! #teenagegirlproblems.
Anyway the next day after school Linda discovers that her swimsuit has been cut into ribbons, and right before a swim meet! But who could have done it? Naturally she blames Cath, who she suspects wanted to get back at her for sticking up for Milo when the paper was stolen. Cath defends herself but also says Linda should be happy it was ruined because it's an ugly swimsuit, "even on people with good figures!" Hahahahahaha go Cath.
No one had seen Cath out in the hall so Linda reckons she climbed the fire escape and went through the window (why would anyone bother Linda you ninny!) as their rooms are right next to eachother. Cath claims her window wouldn't open the night before or this morning, despite her best efforts because her room is like an oven. When Trucker (the live in handyman) investigates he easily slides it open! Cath is super surprised so I believe her.
The next day Jess returns home from campus, excited to change from her sweatshirt into a tshirt bc it's soOOoo00 hot. But her her tshirt drawer is all messed up, her col weather shirts are all messy and at the top of the drawer when her warm weather shirts should be! Wtf? As she fiddles around in the drawer looking for a shirt, she pulls her arm out then she feels something weird to find it covered in WORMS!!! Wtf? How do worms cover your arm like it's not like the can attach themselves. I bet she's just exaggerating and there's probably like 3 on the top of her arm.
Jess literally carries on like it's a drawer full of fucking snakes and screams until Trucker and Ian come rescue her. When they arrive she's rocking back and forth on the floor. PLEAAAAASE Jess you're actually stupid it's fucking wooooorrrrmmmmmmsssss ffs I hate you right now.
The boys empty the drawer of the worms and clean it out and stuff and then Jess and Ian decide to go out to dinner (Trucker is not blind to their blooming love and rejects their offer to come) but all their friends from campus are there too so they're only alone on the walk back home and they kiss before going inside. Ooh la la.
By the way they leave the restaurant because some girl said the word "worm" and that made Jess uncomfortable and I'm screaming inside because that's so fucking dumb Jess seriously grow up you're 18 years old. I honestly can't deal with her reaction to these worms like I'm so angry about it.
I get way too into these books, God I'm lame.
But anyway to recap, all three girls of Nightingale Hall have had something go wrong in their rooms now. Will the boys be next? Let's find out hehe!
Also Ian keeps calling Jess "kid" and "kiddo" and idk about you guys but if my love interested used that as a pet name for me my penis would literally invert I'd be that turned off.
After dinner the next night Jess is in Linda's room while Linda gets ready for a library date with Milo. Linda wants to look super hot for her library date but Jess isn't so sure Milo sees this as an actual date. Anyway Giselle committing suicide is mentioned. And then Linda's mirror explodes! Whaaaaaaaat. Ok. My theory is that ghost Giselle is agro that her reputation is being slandered by the prospect of suicide when we all should know by now that the poor girl did not take her own life! Glass flies everywhere bc of the huge force it explodes with, even tearing Linda's pillows and stuff. Jess and Linda are basically unharmed, although Jess is right in the line of fire so I don't get that.
Everyone else comes to investigate and the gang deduce that someone threw something in through the window or something hit the mirror to shatter it. That doesn't explain how that sent glass flying to the other side of the room but ok we can go with that. They search for any object that could have done it but come up short.
Jess realises that every time Giselle's suicide is brought up, something strange happens in the house! Example one, the night Ian told the gang about it at their porch party, a window slammed shut. Example two, they'd continued the conversation in the kitchen right before the lights had gone out. And now this!
Giselle cut the crap and just appear to the gang so they can help you or something instead of being a bitch and creeping then out!
Anyway Trucker, Cath, Jess and Ian go see a movie and then to Vinnie's for pizza where they see Jon on a date with a blonde girl who Jess had overheard him on the phone to a few days prior, while Linda and Milo go ahead with their library date. That night Jess finds among her belongings (that had dropped under her chest of drawers to be retrieved by Ian when the drawer of worms was replaced) a photo of the blue eyed blonde Giselle McKendrick, however a big black slash has been scribbled on her face!
Now I'm going to speculate here so bare with me. In the phone conversation Jess overheard between Jon and his date the other night, he'd told the girl on the other end how he loves blondes with blue eyes. We know Giselle had been physically fought with a mysterious guy the day before her death. SO WHAT IF JON WAS THAT GUY? Hmm?! I'm suspicious. And I don't like Milo so I'm going to suspect him as well just because he knew Giselle.
Anyway Jess realises Giselle is the girl who was in the photo of her and Ian from the photo booth! Omg!
Jess also finds a letter addressed to Giselle which also must have been under the drawers.
The letter tells Giselle how whoever wrote it is coming to take her away and won't take no for an answer. Jess thinks about this and grasps the concept that Giselle's death was probably made to look like a suicide. FINALLY. What we've all known from the first time we saw "apparent", as in "apparent suicide"! The next day at breakfast Jess shows the gang the photo and letter and announces she's going to search for the other letters that this one mentions. Ian seems to get annoyed, question why she wants to play Sherlock Holmes. This rankles Jess. For those unfamiliar with the word, as I was, it basically means annoy. Thanks Dianne for increasing my vocabulary!
Anyway Jess ponders why he's so angry about it and points out to herself why all three of her male housemates could be suspected of killing Giselle. Which are all things I pointed out earlier but sadly I couldn't notify Jess of my suspicions so I'm glad she realises herself even if it takes her a bit longer.
She remembers that Giselle was seen fighting with a guy with long hair (Milo and Ian), had blue eyes and blonde hair (which Jon goes weak at the knees for) and that all three boys were there last June to check the campus out. And Milo also knew Giselle previously, maybe he was obsessed?!
Anyway the rest of the gang seem to think the letter and photo were empty threats and Cath says something about suicide again which results ghost Giselle slamming a door in a tantrum.
That night they're all in the living room by the fire when Cath's stolen essay falls out of Milo's notebook as Linda flicks through it. Awkwaaaaarddd. Milo still defends himself and I still believe him, as does Linda. Of course she does because she wants his peen. Gross.
Ian fiiiinally asks Jess to the Fall Ball, so now she'll stop complaining about it I guess. Milo still hasn't asked Linda, probably bc she's a clingy bitch.
Jess finally gets a chance to search for Giselle's other letters the next night when the gang goes off to a frat party. She feigns a headache and begins her search as soon as they leave. Just as she sees a yellow light head towards the cellar doors through her window, the power in the house goes off. Ohhhhh shit. Jess thinks that maybe the light she saw was Trucker who possibly didn't go to the party. She heads through the darkness down to the cellar to investigate.
At the top of the cellar stairs she calls for trucker, too scared to go down there, and gets no reply. She's about to close the door when she's shoved down the stairs and locked inside. Come on Giselle this girl is trying to help you! I really hope ghost Giselle is in this otherwise I sound stupid. Yolo?
When Jess comes to she realises there's a gas leak from the furnace! She eventually finds a valve and shuts it off, then locates a small dirty window and smashed her way to freedom.
Then she realises someone is standing above her! Whoever it is pins her to the ground by pressing their weight onto her back with one foot. Jess can't identify the attacker's voice bc he's whispering, but we know it's one of the boys of Nightingale Hall bc they mention knowing she was faking her headache. They also mention that Giselle promised to marry him but had to die because she was lying and just said that so he'd let her go to college. Aww shit Jess. She manages to slice at him with a broken piece of glass from the window before he can strangle her. Then a car pulls up in the driveway and scares him off, but it's just a car turning around. Jess falls back into unconsciousness. Dumb girl.
The gang comes home and finds her and she tells them what happened. She remembers the bit of fabric she's found on a nail in the cellar that she'd used to cover her mouth and nose and pulled it from her pocket, recognising it from one of Milo's jackets. Then the gang drops the bombshell that Milo didn't go to the party with them! Oh shiiit. She points out that milo had been down in the cellar the day that Avery arrived bc he'd sent trucker to get him a drink! Linda can't believe what Jess is getting at bc she's so in love with Milo. Jess and the gang go to Milo's room to search for evidence. They find other letters addressed to Giselle, which had all been in the trunk previously. Each letter is signed "your forever love" just like the one Jess found! Linda still doesn't believe this massive amount of evidence, saying that Jon and Ian had both left the party for a while so they could have attacked Jess!
Then milo appears wearing a jacket with a tear in it. OHHH shit. Jess interrogates him but of course he denies everything, saying he was in the library studying, and that the jacket he was now wearing had appeared on his chair suddenly after going missing for 2 weeks. He leaves, knowing they can't go to the police because there's no concrete proof he killed Giselle or that he attacked Jess.
A week later they find a typewriter in his room while they pack up his things, and when they type on the ancient thing, the letter 'o'is filled in and the G is a bit broken, so they know it's the same one that wrote the letters. It finally gets through Linda's thick skull who Milo really was. But it's just too obvious that the killer is Milo, so it can't be him, surely! He was framed I tell you!!
Ian doesn't want to take this new evidence to the police because it still isn't concrete evidence (so I think he's the killer, naturally), but says they can at least try in Monday.
That night they go to the Fall Ball and have a splendid time!
Afterwards, everyone goes to get food except Jess and Ian who walk back to the house. They decide to sit outside for a while but Ian goes inside to get Jess a jacket bc it's cold.
Then a car pulls up and a girl gets out. She's returning Milo's jacket after he loaned it to her the previous week at the library so she could be warm on her travels home. MILO WAS TELLING THE TRUTH, HE REALLY WAS AT THE LIBRARY! The girl was helping him type up his essay because he can't use a typewriter and the teacher had said he can't hand in another handwritten one. Crud! He was telling the truth! I always believed in you Milo!
The girl leaves an Jess hears a voice urgently calling to her from the creek. When she arrives she finds a photo of Giselle in the water, and Trucker there, who says he saw Milo put it there and run away while calling for
Jess so she would find it. But Jess knows better than that. But not well enough to realise he's the killer until she sees the fresh slash on his neck, obviously made the week before from the broken glass.
Trucker realises Jess knows he's the culprit and tells her Ian is tied up and out like a light so he can't help her. He tells her about how he'd given Giselle all the attention she'd needed while her dad was by her terminally ill mother's hospital bed, but then her father finally started taking an interest in her and encouraged a college education. Giselle had told Trucker she's go just for a year then come back, but she never did. So he came to Nightingale Hall and strangled her in a fit and made it look like a suicide.
As he lunges towards Jess with a wire necklace for her (I'm sure it will match the velvet ball dress!), the photo of Giselle rises up from the water and plasters itself to Trucker's face, suffocating him. Ok? When he falls to the ground his head hits a rock.
Milo and the rest of the gang show up, and milo tells them how he suspected a Trucker and decided to go back home and investigate him. Then when he got back to the house to clear his name to his roommates, he found Ian in a closet. The others showed up then and they found Jess and Trucker by the creek. Giselle's photograph rises up again and drifts off into the wind. The girl is finally at piece.

I really liked this book, although it seems like there was a lot of unnecessary page fillers that were unimportant to the book. Lots of character development too which is always nice!
I'm glad Ghost Giselle wasn't evil too!
I don't understand why it's called The Silent Scream though. Maybe bc Jess is stunned into silence over the worm incident. Or maybe bc you can't make a sound when you're hanging from a rope. Ooh. Deep.

8 rankled Jess's out of 11!

No comments:

Post a Comment