Makani Young has recently made her new home in Osborne, leaving behind her life in Hawaii for good. Thinking that her past was long gone, she makes new friends and even has eyes on the local mystery boy. But then students begin dying, and Makani thinks it might have something to do with her past.
Why this book?: I read There’s Someone Inside Your House simply because I wanted to see how bad it was. That’s it. That’s the tweet.
I read There’s Someone Inside Your House simply because I wanted to see how bad it was, as I said before. That might not sound fair, as I’m not giving the book a fair chance. But, in all honesty, I have given this book a fair chance—I just stopped reading after I realized 95% of the book was going to be a romance. After I got over that hurdle, I decided to pick it back up just to see how far the infamous romance author Stephanie Perkins would go with this story, and if it would actually be the promised slasher horror book it says it is. And I will say, she did deliver on the slasher horror aspect. I just don’t think she knew how to incorporate everything together into one cohesive story.
Now, I’m totally open to horror books crossing genres; I personally adore SF/F horror or horror-comedy. Blending genres with horror can come up with some truly interesting and terrifying concepts. However, if you’re going to put a romance into a slasher horror story, please remember to actually make the murders and events make sense. If you don’t, it’s literally just a romance story with some murders happening in the background that the protagonists just so happen to be around for. But, let me get into my various issues with this story in more detail, rather than just complaining about the romance.
First and foremost, like I said 95% of this story is focused on the budding romance between Makani and Ollie. Apparently they had a history before the book even started, but had drifted apart due to some presumptions on both of their parts. Along with this, Makani stresses constantly that her horrible past is going to catch up to her and ruin the relationships she has carefully crafted during her time in Osborne. Except, when you finally learn what horrible thing happened in Makani’s past, you suddenly realize that Stephanie Perkins is truly making this shit up on the fly. And then we get to see Makani and Ollie bond over their shared trauma, showing us that the several pages of her freaking out over this event was pointless. It really felt like a huge build up for no reason, other than to make you question the murderer’s motives (which, also, didn’t really make sense.)
Going more into the actual horror parts of the story, it’s obvious that Perkins had good ideas for the actual murders and knew what was going to happen. However, everything didn’t work well together because it was so blasé about the murders. We would get a chapter or two focusing on the murder, talking about the effects and the search, and then it would go right back to the romance! I struggle to even call this book horror because it felt like Perkins just laid two completely different stories on top of each other and then mangled a few words together to connect them where necessary.
The pacing was also absolutely horrendous. The first 25% of the book went by with the single murder that happened at the very beginning, only to transition to Makani and Ollie making up and getting back together. Then we get another murder thrown in at around 30%, got a couple additional clues, more romance, and then the killer was revealed before the 50% mark! And to those of you who said you predicted who the murderer was–HOW??? They had like one sentence and a brief introduction before being revealed, they honestly felt so random and disconnected that I was expecting there to be a twist and the guy to NOT actually be the murderer but a copycat or being blackmailed. The second half of the book was so random too, with just the characters going back and forth between locations, not really doing much besides talking. Then we get the final “killing spree” and I just. I just couldn’t find it in me to care. We weren’t introduced to any of these characters, we didn’t know them before they were killed, and if we did, we maybe got a sentence or two mentioning them.
And then we get to the end, with the killer’s motive being revealed and a lot of ableist language being used to basically say he had “mental issues.” A character we knew was killed and we didn’t even get a full sentence on them, compared to the full chapters we got for the other victims that we didn’t know.
And then it just ended.
Final Rating: ★★☆☆☆
When I read something to see how bad it is, I usually hope that, in some ways, the hilarity of it would give it some sort of redemption. I’ve read plenty of books where I would say that are genuinely bad books, but I adored them because it was hilariously bad.
There’s Someone Inside Your House was not one of those books. The two aspects of the book felt hugely disconnected, the pacing was horrible, and other parts of it just didn’t work well. There’s also a trans character that was treated … well, the representation wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t good either.
Overall, I think Stephanie Perkins should stick to her general romance books. I feel like this was a decent attempt, but if she is to jump into a different genre, it seems that she struggles with separating what she knows (romance) and what she is trying to do (horror). It makes me wonder if the attempt would go better had she just tried to avoid romance all together.
Would I Recommend?
… I feel like the answer to this question is fairly obvious. But, for what it’s worth.
Published: September 26th, 2017
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 287
Genre: Horror/Young Adult
Synopsis: via Goodreads
Makani Young thought she’d left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She’s found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn’t far behind.
Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.