Stephanie Perkins is (apparently) the Queen of young adult contemporary novels. I say apparently because I haven’t read her contemporary work. So when she released the premise of her new novel: There’s Someone Inside Your House, I was instantly intrigued. Perkins had left the world of gushy, cheesy, romantic, contemporary and delved into the world of thriller, murder and mystery.
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.
There’s a very quick way to sum up this book: the first half was ok, the second half was much, much better.
The first half of this novel was very character driven. It was more contemporary than thriller and you can tell that Perkins is trying to find her footing within this new genre. The first half represented the contemporary world that Perkins was familiar with; it was pure romance and relationship building, trying to come to terms with you who are…
“It was sad that people only got along when everybody was unhappy.”
― Stephanie Perkins,
One of the things that I actually really liked about this book was that Makani was a biracial main character. I cannot say whether the representation was perfect or not because I am not biracial. But it did not come across as problematic. There was also a side trans character who didn’t have a tragic backstory. Again, I cannot say whether the representation was brilliant or not but it did not come across as problematic. I know that you could argue that – again – diverse characters are being sidelined and put as side characters, and I get your frustration about that, but let’s just take the small wins where we can get them for now: positive representation.
I also really like the murders? No, I’m not a psychopath. Albeit, there wasn’t much murder in the first half of the book, and if my memory serves me correctly, it’s only the very first chapter that is a murdery, stabby bit in the first half of the novel. I thought that the murders were very well written and genuinely scared me.
So now we move on to the negative things…
The reveal of the killer and the killer’s motive was a complete let-down. They just didn’t have a brilliant reason to kill the people that they did. I mean… I know that it’s never a good thing to kill someone, but in a work of fiction, the character has to have a good motive, and there wasn’t that here, which was disappointing.
This book also lacked suspense because of the first half the book and this is due to a tone problem. I recognise that Perkins has been a contemporary writer for years and years, and I know that it’s hard to delve into a new genre and not convey parts of your old writing. But the toning of this book was a huge problem. The whole of the first half was contemporary. There was no suspense being built at all and like I said before, the only murder that happened (if my memory serves me correctly) was at the beginning of the book. Then, you get into the second half of the novel and BAM! There are people dying all of the time and there is blood and gore on every page. (I did like the second half a lot more!)
“People live through such pain only once; pain comes again, but it finds a tougher surface.”
― Stephanie Perkins,
One more thing and I will stop moaning. Throughout the whole of this novel, the reader knows that Makani is hiding something. She has this massive secret that she’s scared to tell anyone because she thinks that they will judge her and disown her, that everyone will hate her. Please… that secret was ridiculous and not bad at all. I’m pretty sure I’ve done worse things that what Makani did, like… staying in bed til noon. That. Secret. Was. STUPID.
So, as you can probably tell, there are a couple of good things about this book and things that definitely let it down. The second half of the novel is the better half as it’s fast-paced and actual murder happens. I wonder if Perkins will try her hand at thriller again? If she does, I’m intrigued…
Disclaimer: this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review