Stephanie Perkins, author of beloved young adult romance novels, is back again…with a horror-slasher-romance? Yet somehow it works. This book is full of diversions and distractions from the real issue at hand, and the real killer, but the murders are gruesome and stressful, the gas lighting aspect is fascinating, and overall, it’s a good, quick read.
Teens in Osborne, Nebraska are being brutally murdered inside their own homes, and police don’t know who is the culprit. Is it a parent? An angry lover? An out-of-town serial killer passing through? Makani doesn’t know either, but she’s too busy being distracted by her blooming new relationship with former fling, Ollie. Both of them are outsiders at school, on the edge of a lot of social groups, and ultimately, when the murders escalate, they get drawn into the bubble as well. There’s Someone Inside Your House follows Makani as she tries to navigate this new relationship with Ollie, escape her dark past in Hawaii, and stay alive as a murderer runs free.
This book had a lot of interesting features that kept me reading. You never knew who was going to be murdered next, because the killer’s motive wasn’t revealed into the final pages. You wanted to discover what Makani’s dark past was and how it might be impacting her life in Nebraska. You wanted to see her relationship with Ollie develop. Ultimately, it kept me reading and I was satisfied with the book overall, but it had some big problems too.
My biggest problem is that the Makani-Ollie love story seemed like a distraction to the murder-mystery plot and full of intentionally misleading details meant to make you think one of them might be involved with the murders. At some points, that helped create the suspense, but frankly, Makani’s “dark past” was a ridiculous hyperbole of what a grown woman thinks happens at actual high schools and not at all important to the actual plot of the story. Having it teased so much, and then portrayed in a very strange, out of character way for the novel really ruined what I was expecting from that plot nugget.
Ultimately, I think the killer’s explanation of his motives was interesting and a reasonable reason, but the way it was explained was not narratively well done. It was explained wholly without the killer saying it themselves. How do we get this information? Was it in a manifesto or something? If not, how does Makani, the third person limited narrator, have all this information? It just wasn’t well thought out.
Ultimately, I think this book was a fascinating read, especially if you love YA horror novels, but it’s not the most expertly crafted novel. If you’re a fan of Perkins’ other work, you’re going to be in for a world of shock this one, but it’s ultimately a quick and thrilling read.