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Screams You Hear

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Murder and madness infect a small town

For sixteen-year-old Ruthie Stroud, life on tiny Hemlock Island in the Pacific Northwest is an endless sea of boring green, in a place where everybody knows everybody’s business and nothing ever happens. Then her world is ripped apart when her parents divorce and a new man enters her mother’s life. But worse is yet to come.

When she drifts ashore on the mainland, hideously burned, Ruthie has a harrowing tale to tell. It begins with the murder of a family. It ends with her being the sole survivor of a cataclysm that sweeps her little island. As a detective attempts to unravel Ruthie’s story of murder and madness, only one horrifying conclusion can be drawn: whatever was isolated on remote Hemlock Island may now have come to the mainland. Is Ruthie safe? Is anyone?

275 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 8, 2018

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About the author

James Morris

6 books141 followers
James Morris is a former television writer who now works in digital media. When not writing, you can find him scoping out the latest sushi spot, watching 'House Hunters Renovation', or trying new recipes in the kitchen. He lives with his wife and dog in Los Angeles.

Readers, if you enjoyed one of my books, please feel free to leave a review!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 44 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa.
545 reviews799 followers
January 4, 2019
Wow. I’m speechless. This book is awesomely awesome (yep, I said it). This is an action-packed story sure to keep you glued to the book until the very end (and that ending!).

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jay G.
1,197 reviews465 followers
May 7, 2018
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!

4.5/5 Stars!

16 year old Ruthie Stroud lives on Hemlock island, a small island isolated from the main lands. Her world turns upside down when her parents divorce and her mom starts seeing another man. One day, she washes up on shore of the mainlands severely burned, the only survivor of a catastrophic event back on the island. As a detective tries to unravel her story, things aren't exactly what they seem.

HOLY SHIT, I did not expect to like this book as much as I did! It was addictive and EXTREMELY hard to put down! I was constantly thinking about it if I had to put it down, needing to know what happened next in the story! The story is so action packed and thrilling, right from the first page, I was invested in the story 100%. The story is told in the past back on the island where everything happened as well as the present when the detective is questioning Ruthie. The best part is that I DID NOT SEE THAT ENDING COMING! I thought I had it all figured out then BOOM, I was totally wrong.

This is definitely an underrated book and I HIGHLY recommend you pick it up if given the chance! Honestly, this would make SUCH A GREAT MOVIE - Producers, get on it.
Profile Image for The Behrg.
Author 15 books147 followers
April 10, 2018
James Morris excels at finding the right voice when it comes to a YA narrator, and I've been a fan of his work for awhile now. "Screams You Hear" is a step into a much darker pool for Morris, and this novel is layered with moments that will have even the most jaded reader needing a moment to come up for air.

The concept is great, a young high school girl living on a small island off the Pacific Coast uncovers what could be a pathological outbreak resulting in extreme violence from those infected. What's worse, only adults seem to be the ones who come down with the disease. The novel is interwoven with Ruthie being back on the mainland, horrifically burned as possibly one of the only survivors, then retelling her tale as we're transported into the past and the events that unravel. The back and forth work extremely well even as we begin to question Ruthie's telling of the story, and provides for some twists that wouldn't work any other way.

As per usual with Morris's writing, the setting is fantastic and used to full effect, heightening the drama of the bizarre outbreak that occurs. Combine that with some excellent character moments and some jaw dropping scenes to create a story you won't find anywhere else. The one issue I have with the book is I felt it didn't know what it wanted to be. At times it felt YA suspense, at times it entered into the darkest caverns of horror, but the juxtaposition didn't fully mesh and left me a little uncertain as to what it was trying to accomplish. Of course that could be part of the point, the extreme moments meant to crush your ideas of a relatively safe young adult themed world.

Surprising and fresh, this was definitely worth the read, and it's fun seeing Morris flex his muscles and redefine the boundaries of your normal genres.
Profile Image for Shannon.
301 reviews30 followers
May 7, 2018
You MUST read this terror-ific book by James Morris!

After reading his survival story, Feel Me Fall last year, I just knew this one was going to be fantastic and I was right! I loved everything about it and the twist at the end? Holy unexpected Batman!

Like Feel Me Fall, this one starts in the present and flashes back and forth between now and a few days prior. As a new fan, of James’ work, I find that he has a distinct writing style and is particularly skilled at writing flashback type storylines without losing any of the intense build-up created by the plot.

I also really enjoyed the characters and their dynamic with each other. They are the most unlikely of friends forced together by extreme circumstances and it’s fantastic.

Honestly, there isn’t much I didn’t like about this book. It was thrilling, scary and a whole lot of fun! I look forward to the author’s next book and if you haven’t read anything by James Morris yet, I promise you’ll be an instant fan just like me.

Rating… A
Profile Image for Denise Spicer.
Author 13 books57 followers
January 31, 2018
Gripping and ultimately horrifying. Ruthie and her best friend Max face some strange and terrifying happenings in a small island community in the Pacific Northwest. Well-written with interesting characters and setting this story of teen angst is however, depressing in what it says about relationships -- between parents and kids -- and between all individuals. The effects of divorce and the lack of trust between kids and adults and, in fact between all the characters leads ultimately to feelings of total alienation. Some graphic violence and a surprise twist at the end will appeal to horror fans but the story is perhaps too intense for some.
Profile Image for Didi Oviatt.
Author 19 books189 followers
April 30, 2018
Hold onto your seats with this one. The pace is fast and the twists WILL dump you on your rear, and quick!!! Every single page of this book is splattered with jaw dropping content. It's the kind of horrifying scenario that every teen/kid (or anyone really) who lives on a secluded island should have nightmares about.
It starts out with Ruthie waking up in the burn unit of a hospital. The island she's from has literally been completely wiped out in population... all except for her. She's the sole survivor of an insanely morbid series of events. She's being questioned by the law enforcement who's trying to figure out what exactly took place. Her recollection is detailed, overflowing with adrenaline, and just flat out bloody terrifying!
So, the story bounced in time, back and forth between the now and the previous few days as the odd events play out. I loved this approach here, and I usually don't. Most books that bounce around leave me a little confused and irritated, but with Screams You Hear it worked out perfectly. The character development was perfect. I especially loved Max her best friend, and Theo her brother. They each bring about their own story and personality dynamics, that in my opinion polish the story over, making it well rounded and actually realistic.
It's hard to explain any details without throwing any spoilers in the mix. So, I'll just give a short and very broad outlook. Basically, the adults in the community snap. Ruthie has her suspicions on what's causing it, which makes total sense. No matter the scientific backdrop, it's murderous, its nasty, its ruthless, and utterly heartless what they do to the kids here. It has a feel of a survival story, more so than anything else, as its coming from Ruthie's point of view.
I debated between 4 and 5 stars for some time. The writing is exquisite, and the story is definitely one of a kind horrifying... But at the same time, because the kids aren't mentally sick the way that the adults are... a few of the scenes were a little too hard for me to stomach.
All in all I enjoyed the read, and will most definitely be reading more from this author!

Profile Image for Misty's Book Space.
679 reviews36 followers
July 22, 2018

Wow!! This is the first book I've read by this author and I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did. It's very addicting and hooks you from the very first chapter.

This book switches back and forth between the past and the present which is done very well might I add and it doesn't ever lose the build up. I would have liked a little more info on what was causing these things to happen. As it is it just seems like a 16 year old said this is why this is happening and pretty much everyone agreed. I would have liked that aspect to be explained a little bit more.

Screams you hear is action packed with an ending that most won't see coming. I say most because if you are like me and read some reviews before you've even finished the book (which I usually don't do) you will read that statement and all of a sudden you will have all kinds of scenarios running through your head. Now I will say that I didn't picture this particular ending but I knew something was off.

Overall I was really into this book I would have just liked to have more of that edge of your seat kind of feeling. I do recommend this book but a word of warning if you have a weak stomach some of the scenes might be a little difficult for you to read. I definitely want to look into the other books he has written.

I want to thank R&R Book Tours and the author James Morris for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Robyn.
420 reviews97 followers
May 23, 2018
Ruthie Stroud, horribly burned and lone survivor, washes up on shore of the mainland. While in the burn unit, she tells a horrifying tale about what happened on her tiny island of Hemlock Cove. Hemlock Cove, population 600, is a small island in the Pacific Northwest. Not much goes on here and everyone knows everyone. Her life has been turned upside down with the divorce of her parents and Ruthie is not happy living in the home of her mother’s current boyfriend. Ruthie feels alone and hurt by her mother’s actions. The only other person Ruthie is close to is her best friend, Max. While on the way home from school one day, they witness a brutal scene. A local family has been murdered. This sets off a chain of events in their tiny island community that rocks their entire world. Why is Ruthie the only survivor?

Screams You Hear switches from past to present as Ruthie recounts the last few days on Hemlock Cove to a detective tasked with finding out what happened. It is not an easy tale to tell and at times it is downright frightening. James Morris really has a knack for infusing a YA story with a strong horror/mystery that even I had trouble figuring out. The twists were pretty shocking and really help the story move along as the suspense builds even more. I found myself glued to the pages needing to know what happens next. Scenes are action packed and there is a lot of violence which led to me feeling the direness of the situation.

Character development is really strong in this story. I feel that we really got to know Ruthie and her thoughts and feelings along with some of the other teens relevant to the story. Ruthie is a sympathetic character and I felt for what she was going through in her home life with the divorce of her parents, which many young teens go through when their family is split up. It also shows that through all of the chaos how a group of teens bonded together, scared, but determined to stay alive. I found myself really feeling sorry for Ruthie as she lays their, burned and in pain, giving a detailed play by play of the events that have changed her life.

James Morris really has a way with words while describing Hemlock Cove with such vivid imagery. It is almost as if I can picture the tiny island in my mind, the lush grass, the clffs, the white capped water, all so clearly. Although isolated for the most part, it sounded like such a beautiful place until it all turned sour.

I really enjoyed Screams You Hear. it had all of the main things I look for in a story. It was gripping, full of angst, and most times downright terrifying. I had a hard time dragging myself away from the story and as the action and suspense builds, I needed to find out what happened next. Set aside some time and be thoroughly engrossed in a tale filled with emotion, horror and a mystery that needs to be solved. Ride along through all of the shocking twists to a conclusion that will leave you utterly speechless.
Profile Image for shane.
83 reviews7 followers
March 30, 2018
4.5 stars for Screams You Hear by James Morris!

Many thanks to the author, Mr. Morris, for providing me a copy through a fellow book blogger, Karina of Afire Pages!

Wow, that was one hell of a ride, to be honest.

Screams You Hear was ultimately gripping, terrifying, and full of suspense. This was a quick read for me, and I simply adored it. I loved the overlapping of the past and present perspectives, as well as the writing. Everything was very detailed and clear that I didn't find it confusing at all. The story itself was absolutely fantastic!

I've read a lot of novels and rarely get fooled by plot twists since I usually expect see them coming, but I totally didn't expect the twist from Screams You Hear! It left me wide eyed in shock and screaming!

I definitely think that this novel is underrated and recommend all Young Adult, Suspense, and Horror readers to pick this up!
Profile Image for April Teesdale.
Author 7 books8 followers
August 12, 2019
Wow…. okay.  I couldn’t wait to write this review. I was only able to read it at night before bed, so some nights I ended up fighting sleep just to get to the end of the chapter.  Even then, I didn't want to put the book down, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that made me turn pages this fast, I kept wanting to read "one more chapter".  Every chapter had some type of action in it as well, and the way the chapters ended, I had to know what was coming next, so, I had to keep reading, no matter how tired I became.  

The author was able to become the character in a way that made me think that maybe it really was a sixteen-year-old girl who wrote this.  Everything seemed genuine, down to the emotions, relationships, and interactions especially with the mother. There were times during the day when I would look at people around me and think about what some of the people in this book did and wonder, could that really happen, could it happen here?  I felt like I was on my guard sometimes, I didn't know whether to feel excited that a book could make me feel like that or scared that I let a book affect me in that way. 

The main character Ruthie was badly burned in an accident that destroyed the entire island.  The story she tells shifts back and forth from present to past as she explains what happened to herself and the people there.  

When I started reading this book, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a supernatural horror story, or some type of creature feature, or a good old-fashioned serial killing, but one thing is for sure, I was not expecting the outcome. I LOVED this book!

If you want a true page-turner with a plot twist that will make you say “NO WAY!” this is your next read.   

If you want a book that you can’t put down, this is your next read.
I received this book from https://rrbooktours.com/ in exchange for an honest review. This is it.
@jmorriswriter @shanannigans81 @aprilteesdale
Profile Image for Ronald Keeler.
846 reviews32 followers
January 17, 2018
I was surprised that Screams You Hear by James Morris was ranked as #7 in the genre Teen & Young Adult > Horror on the Amazon Kindle website. On the one hand, I suspected as much as I began to read the unusual setting of the novel. It is set on Hemlock Island, population 600, and is told from the perspective of Ruthie Stroud, a teenager. On the other hand, the graphic depictions of horror (but no sex) would get a huge “Censor” stamp from many parents. This may illustrate a point that many parents do not read, at least not enough to monitor what their children read.

Going straight to the graphic horror descriptions, the book opens with Ruthie Stroud in a burn ward coming to consciousness and wondering about her appearance, among other things. The entire novel will play out as a story Ruthie tells Detective Perez of the Washington State Police. Lots of people, almost the entire population of Hemlock Island are dead. Most were killed in horribly violent and graphically described situations. Most of the ones that survived killings or murders were burned alive in the fire that Ruthie barely escaped. Reader imagination can run wild here as to the appearance of the victims. For me, a death by fire is almost as bad as it gets. The other part, maybe worse, is surviving death by fire followed by years of disfigurement while attempting rehabilitation. The fiery deaths are the least of the graphically described deaths in this novel.

An island of 600 cannot be much of an exciting place to live. Ruthie doesn’t think so and continually seeks a sign or an event that will signal her real life is beginning, one that will probably take place off the island. She has an older brother who she wouldn’t mind being closer to, but he has a girlfriend, Sasha. Dad had left the family, there was a divorce because mom was having an affair, evidence of which was witnessed by Ruthie. She missed Dad and would have preferred to live with him. Ruthie had a friend, Max, who was as much a social outcast as Ruthie. It was not that Ruthie and Max were shunned by others, they just had no common interest with most students. The two were sad about their lives; Ruthie because of her parent’s divorce which she did not feel responsible for, and Max because of the death of his younger brother, which Max felt guilty about. Ruthie felt bad about the loss of her best friend, Sasha, an event that occurred soon after Sasha became the girlfriend of brother Theo. There is a lot of familial negativity here.

And then the killings begin. First, the Solomon family, a family which lived off the land with no modern technological aid, like electricity, was killed in its entirety. Then a former neighbor of Ruthie’s had two wards disappear. Ruthie noticed the woman had blood on her face and clothes and did not want to answer Ruthie’s questions. Then Ruthie witnessed the sheriff shoot a person in the head for no apparent reason. A common theme seemed to be developing. Adults were killing children. Why would this be? Ruthie had a theory. There had been an oil spill. The company responsible cleaned it with a new type of unproven cleanser that introduced infectious material into the water surrounding Hemlock Island. Somehow, it only affected adults. Bad news for children.

Character development in this novel focuses on the teenage angst that can result from growing up in either isolation or in an area where absolutely everybody knows everybody else. There can be no secrets in such a stifling environment, every family flaw or anomaly will be known by the entire populace. Ruthie’s character is extremely well developed to illustrate this. Max, the hesitant might-be boyfriend is also well developed. Most adult characters are placeholders, present only to move the adolescent characters along. This does not distract from the story.

Morris uses beautiful, detailed language to describe physical settings, such as the forest and the ocean. There is literally a cliff-hanger scene that is very well done. I found this a very entertaining read but only gave it four Amazon stars because of the graphic violence. It is rare that I read a YA novel that I do not want my son to read. And then there is the ending. Quite a shock. If you like to be shocked, read this one.

Profile Image for Kaila.
67 reviews48 followers
April 15, 2018
When parents make mistakes, worlds shift.

This is the second time I've been unnecessarily thrown when a book takes a sharp left turn toward the horror genre (which is completely on me, diving in after reading just the blurb and not the genre tags). Maybe I need to start seeking out that genre more actively, though? Because this is also the second time I've thoroughly enjoyed a horror novel.

Screams You Hear definitely took me by surprise. It's such a strong, action-packed work of young adult fiction, and I devoured it in just two sittings. When a catastrophe on the small island Ruthie Stroud calls home leaves her as the sole survivor, she must convince the mainland of the horrors from which she barely escaped. The tale is told in two threads, one in the present where Ruthie haltingly shares her story with a mainland detective, and one starting five days in the past on Hemlock Island when the murder of a family acts as a catalyst for the terrors about to unfold.

There's not much I can say about the plot itself without risking spoilers, but you're thrown into the deep end quick. Morris's background in television writing is so clear in his cinematic style. The plot is expertly paced, with suspense and tension always thrumming in the background, and the action scenes are incredibly well-executed; it's like watching a horror movie play out in front of you.

Another strength in the novel is the character development. I especially enjoyed getting to know Ruthie and watching her mend and redefine her relationships with those important to her, even as their world was falling to pieces. She finds a ragtag group of allies in her best friend, her brother, her brother's girlfriend, and even a school bully, and I loved watching them develop the sharper edges necessary to survive. There's plenty of focus on the murderous chaos that has overrun Hemlock Island, but there's also plenty of time to zero in on more poignant moments between a gang of young adults desperate to stay alive.

I had a blast reading this book. It kept me on my toes the whole way through, and the ending sent chills through my whole body. I'm definitely going to be keeping up with Morris's work - fans of YA suspense and horror will definitely want to give Screams You Hear a shot!

Warm thanks to James Morris and Reads & Reels for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Donna (BookDragonGirl).
844 reviews5 followers
April 5, 2018
Guys, I had myself a shoutout on Twitter about this book. But I lost control! I had to yell at ya’ll to READ THIS BOOK!!! But, I realize no one is going to listen to a screaming lunatic. So I’ve calmed down now and I’m all zen and whatever. I’m ready to calmly talk about this lovely, little book.

This is such awesomeness in horror! In my opinion, anyway! This is my first James Morris book, and he is so good at coming up with the most creepy, crazy concept in a book. I found the whole thing terrifying! I will warn you that it is somewhat graphic, but graphic in a book never bothers me as much. But it does add to the horror aspect of the book!! I’m not going to go into the what, who, where, when, how and why of the book....that’s just not right. I want you to experience the book the way I did...KNOWING NOTHING!!! I avoid reading too much into reviews. I’ll read a little, bit if they start retelling the story I stop. I really just want to know how the book made them feel. Did it do what it was supposed to? Did they love it? So my answers to those questions? YES! I LOVED IT! YES! It did EXACTLY what it was supposed to do, and some!!! It made me feel like I didn’t want to put the book down. I was freaked out by the whole concept!! I was shocked by things, saddened by things, horrified by things!! Does that help?

Profile Image for Darque  Dreamer .
360 reviews47 followers
June 7, 2018
Screams You Hear is thrilling! This one is full of terror and mayhem! If you are looking for a heart pounding, page turner, look no further, and prepare to be shocked!

Morris is now two for two with his books for me! I absolutely loved this one and devoured it in one sitting, just like Feel Me Fall! It was intense and highly entertaining!

Screams You Hear was incredibly well written. It had horror, emotion, and unpredictable twists. Just when I thought I knew what was going to happen, bam, I was hit with a surprise! The story had a fair amount of predictability, and cheese factor, to it so that the twists and turns were all the more wildly shocking when they hit. It was fantastically gripping!

I could not put it down. It reminded me a little of the Netflix show, Between, and I really loved that. It had a fair amount of horror movie type humor, along with strong, realistically developed characters, and a terrifying, thought provoking plot. By time I realized I had made it to the end, I was wanting more!
Profile Image for Kim.
584 reviews4 followers
March 4, 2019
I'm just going to start out by saing: called it. Called all of it. Though for one of the twists I did need a hint before being able to call it.

Now you might think that you're supposed to see it as something negative that I was able to "call" the events that happen at the end of the book but that is not what I was going for because I really really loved this book! I was more going for "I'm a genius because there is no way in hell anyone so that one coming" (okay, maybe some people did see it coming, but still I will crown myself super book detective from now on). When I picked this up I was thinking: "sounds interesting. Will probably be a 3 star read, with some luck a 4 star" But no! It was a solid 5 star book for me. I liked the constant tension and having to find out what has happened and what to do about it. I also liked that from the start you know most of the outcome of the story since it starts with the main character badly burned in a hospital who is retelling the events to a detective. For some reason this writing style always keeps me on my toes and makes me want to find out everything even faster than where the story told in chronological order.

This book is seriously underrated (or at least underread because the average rating score seems to corroborate my review) and more people should hear about it.
Profile Image for Jackie.
501 reviews58 followers
November 30, 2018
What the hell did I just read?

Those are the words that came out of my mouth as I put the book down after I finished it.

This is one of the most shocking and twisted books that I've ever read. The story caught my attention from the first page. It starts out during present time and then after that we switch back and forth between the past few days and then what's happening now. Even though a lot of the book is told through the past, the story flowed really well and the suspense built throughout the whole book. I didn't want to put the book down because I needed to know what happened! I was fascinated, shocked, and appalled and what was going on on Hemlock Island.

I have kind of mixed feelings about the characters. I like some of them more than others. One thing that stood out to me is that, no matter how the characters felt about each other, in the end they fought together against the evil that was happening around them. I really felt sorry for the children in this book. I can't say how I feel right now, after I've finished reading, without spoilers, so I'll leave that out.

I read Feel Me Fall by James Morris last year so, going off of that book, I kind of expected this book to have a huge twist at the end. I think that made this even more suspenseful for me because I was just waiting on it to happen. The twist we were given though? I did not expect THAT at all! Holy crap. That completely blindsided me and left me with my mouth hanging open.

This was a really fast, suspenseful read. I definitely recommend this book if you want to read something shocking. I'm still in disbelief.
Profile Image for Jessica Bronder.
2,013 reviews21 followers
May 15, 2018
This story starts out with sixteen year old Ruthie Stroud on the mainland horribly burned. She is taken to hospital and the police are interviewing her to find out what happened. Ruthie is from the little Hemlock Island in the Pacific Northwest. Her life was going well until her parents divorced in which she blamed her mother. Another man enters her mother’s life and Ruthie is not adjusting well. Then something happens on the island and all the adults go insane and start killing off the children. What follows is a back and forth between the present day in the hospital and what Ruthie had gone through in the last couple days.

Oh my goodness, where to start?!? Ruthie is badly burned and has to relive the last couple days from hell. Life is not perfect on Hemlock Island with it being so small that everyone knows your business and there is nothing to do. But then things go sideways as the adults go into rages and start killing the kids. What follows is a narration into insanity as you follow along with the story and try to figure out where this is all going.

This story starts out with a bang and doesn’t let you go. I could turn the pages fast enough to find out what was going to happen next. It is a bloody trip to a completely shocking ending that I didn’t expect. This is a great thriller/horror story that kept me on the edge of my seat. I can’t wait to read more from James Morris.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
Profile Image for Jessica.
578 reviews29 followers
December 15, 2019
All my reviews can be found at: http://jessicasreadingroom.com
This review will be on my site on December 19, 2019
4.5 Stars
There is nothing to really say about Screams You Hear other than I was astonished by it!

Ruthie is our narrator and tells us her tale of living through pure terror on the island she lives on. The story takes place in the present but starts at just four days previously, and the chapters go back and forth until everything combines together in a horrific way.

Ruthie’s story is one of unimaginable terror. This is a story about extreme violence against teens.This novel will not be for everyone, but if it is for you, then you will not want to put it down! Screams goes full throttle all the way up to that ending.

The only negative I can say about Screams is that I figured out the ending, so it lost some of its shock value for me. I was still left open mouthed at the ending, but not quite like most others who have read it.

Another thing to say: Once you finish it you will want to go back and read it again!
This is a novel to read in one sitting if possible to get its full effect: I wish I had been able to read it that way!

I cannot praise Screams enough and will definitely read more by James Morris. If you enjoy thrillers/horror then run and go get this one now!
Profile Image for Cassandra **The Bibliophagist**.
155 reviews20 followers
June 6, 2018
Let me begin by saying this is a secret gem! Get your hands on a copy and enjoy it as soon as you can. Screams You Hear switches between the present in the hospital and the past on Hemlock Island. Ruthie Stroud is merely a teenager but has lived through one of the most horrifying events I have read about in a long time. Told from her point of view, we learn exactly what occurred on that small island, population 600. This novel is full of suspenseful horror, but no sex that would give it a category title of any other than young adult. I read my first Stephen King novel before I was even a teenager. This runs along the lines of his work, an edge of your seat gripping and terrifying.

The reader is thrown into the story right away. Ruthie is conscious in the hospital, covered in bandages. She desperately battles the urge to see herself after these horrifying events. She tells her story to Detective Perez of the Washington Police and it unfolds in front of the reader effortlessly. The descriptive details in this novel were amazing. The traumatizing events are recanted with extreme graphic detail. I felt I was with Ruthie, experiencing these events as they were recanted to the Detective.

The character development here relies heavily upon teenage angst, giving many young adult readers something to relate to. The feeling of isolation and lack of control in life is common among many teens, but pair that with living in a small town where everyone knows everything about everyone else...that is an entirely new layer of isolation and lack of control. I grew up like that, in a small town...we had more cows than people. I could relate to these characters and feel why Ruthie felt trapped and only wanted to escape Hemlock Island.

Since the story takes place in modern times, there is no need for extreme world building. There is, however, a wonderful pace to this plot. This is a book that will keep you up late at night, turning pages, yearning to discover what really happened on Hemlock Island. There is a huge, and I mean really huge, plot twist at the end of the book. I never saw it coming. I actually said "Oh my God!!" out loud when I read about it. It is a shocking turn of events.

This was my first time reading James Morris' work and it will not be my last. He now has a new fan! Grab yourself a copy fo this hidden horror gem. I am grateful to have been given a free copy to review, I not only read a great book but discovered an amazing author in the process.
Profile Image for Ash.
189 reviews12 followers
July 16, 2018
I do all of my reviews in the form of questions

What made me pick this book up:
I read a review about it on another blog and it sounded awesome.

What did I like about the cover:
I love the creepiness of it. I think it fits the book so well!

What made me read this book:
Like I said, I read a review on it and I just had to read it.

What did I like the most:
Oh man where do I even start with this one?

Literally from the moment I started this book it drug me in. I didn't want to put it down.

The story is really good and unique. I can't think of many other books where the adults all go crazy and start killing the kids.

It's terrifying and creepy and just all around horrific. And that right there is what makes this book so worth it.

The author does a really great job at making everything so realistic, and graphic that it's believable and you can actually picture it. But it wasn't over the top and gross.
There was a few cringe worthy parts. But like I said, it's not over the top.

He also does such a great job painting the scene, for everything. I actually felt like I was watching it in front of me at times.

This book made me feel so many things. Fear, surprise, disgust, sadness.

The characters are really well written and likable. It surprised me how they learned to survive.

And the ending. Oh my God that ending! I can't go into details because spoilers. But holy cow.

What didn't I like:
I can't really say there's anything I don't like. It's really amazing.

Would I read the rest of the series/more from this author?
Yes! So much yes!

A really great horror book that just draws you in from the beginning.

Cover: *****
Story: *****
Pace: *****
Writing: *****
Characters: ****
World Building: ****
Ending: *****

“She nods and closes her notebook. "You were very brave."
"I wouldn't call what we did brave."
"What then?"
I think a while and say the only thing that makes sense.
― James Morris, Screams You Hear
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,817 reviews85 followers
October 9, 2021
Fairly quick read although very in-depth and deep. I did struggle with this one quite a bit, namely because of the main character Ruthie. Heard the expression, 'Beyond his/her/their years'? That's how Ruthie felt for much of this book and then at times like a typical confused teen. I just found it a bit whiplashish. I have 3 daughters and a son (15-21 in age) and none of my children acted or sounded like Ruthie either.

The story has a good pace and for a book I went into blind it kept me interested. I just found other characters like Ruthie's friend Max and her brother more interesting and captivating which is sad really when Ruthie drove this story (With it being told from her POV).

I do love a good thriller though and this book had some great twists and turns plus was told in past and present. You will be wondering as you read it how in the start Ruthie ended up like she did and how on earth any of it could have all happened. A solid 3.5 stars, perfect thriller for those who enjoy YA fiction..
Profile Image for Henri Moreaux.
1,001 reviews33 followers
November 25, 2019
I didn't have any particular expectations for this, but rather was just after something short whilst I decided on what I was going to read next.

Pleasantly, it was quite the excellent book, it starts out with a bit of a mystery with a girl in hospital badly burned talking to a cop about what's happened. Slowly the story unfolds, first with a decent amount of background so you have a good feel for circumstances, then the main plot commences. The whole time it flicks between past and present in a fluid and easily absorbed manner, as things progress you can't help but feel sorry for the poor girl thrust into such circumstances and how messed up things are. Then shazam, there's an awesomely timed twist at the end that changes everything you thought you knew about things.

A very good book, just would have liked more of it.
Profile Image for Sheila.
308 reviews2 followers
March 16, 2018
I really liked this creepy little book. It begins with Ruthie waking up in the hospital - she's in the burn unit. She has apparently survived some horrific events. She is the only survivor. Most of the book is her telling of the events that happened leading up to her stay in the burn unit. It's got some serious violence in it, but it's a pretty good book. It has an awesome twist that really surprised me.
Profile Image for Suleika Santana -All About Books .
611 reviews22 followers
January 26, 2019
My first top read for this year!!! This book is brilliant. Incredibly good and kept me guessing all the time. The ending is incredible. I still cannot believe it, so clever what the author did there. This is another book that I will read again because of how good it is. Will definitely recommend to all my friends.
Profile Image for Michelle Willms.
514 reviews43 followers
January 26, 2018
Well-written thriller

I loved that this book was so well-written and beautifully edited, allowing the story to truly shine. A quiet island is shaken to its core by a brutal family murder. This first act of violence is followed by people and animals acting strangely. A great read!
38 reviews1 follower
March 14, 2018
I must admit I struggle to read the whole book. In the beginning this book did not appeal to me. But I kept reading and I'm glad. The ending took me by surprise. I would read more books by James Morris. Keep up the writing. 😊
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