There’s Someone Inside Your House
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Young Adult | Thriller | Romance
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5 out of 5 stars – This is a perfect slasher thriller, managing to fulfil every desire that I had when reading it. I managed to read this in basically one sitting because the pacing was great, the characters were interesting to read, and I enjoyed the gory aspects of the story. The little interludes with the victims were amusing, and Perkins really played to the stereotypes of the genre, which was funny, and really enjoyable for someone who loves horror movies. I wish there was more.
It is Halloween and a killer begins to terrorise the unsuspecting high school students of a small town in rural America. Students are being picked off one by one and no one can figure out why. Makani and her friends are attempting to find out what is happening to the people around them, but when Ollie and Makani grow closer, her friends become suspicious. And there are secrets, secrets that Makani is not telling.
“Sacrificial pumpkins sat on porch steps, waiting to be carved.”
It all starts at Halloween. If that does not make a thriller novel perfect, then the fact that the setting is Halloween does. To top it off, there is no overt, over the top Halloween murder feel to it, until the very end – and I enjoyed that. No discussion of costumes, no massive focus on the fact that this has just occurred at Halloween, just the casual mentions of Pumpkins. So I love the time setting, and the place seemed to fit this too.
Okay, a 5 rating from me means that this novel ticked basically every box. So let’s get into the reasons why. Firstly, the characterisation. I really liked Makani and Ollie, they were good protagonists and both were interesting to read about. I got them, and I loved their story, both individually, and together. I also liked the way their personal drama unfolded. I thought that Perkins did a good job at making their backstory effective, without making it overly tragic and predictable. I even laughed a little at the way Makani’s was presented, but I’m not going to spoil that for you.
Secondly, the pacing of the story. Okay, this is when I do have to admit, there may be something ever so slightly off with this novel. It begins perfectly, the pacing is fantastic at the first section, with a good balance of backstory, characterisation and creepiness; however, by the time we hit the middle of the novel, the pacing begins to slow, drastically. The romance ramps up, we get a plot twist that seems to slow things down, and not quite enough happens. In the middle of a slasher movie/thriller, this is not really a good thing, but for this book, I didn’t really mind it, because I enjoyed the characters so much. But, the ending picks up again, and for me, is a really high note of the novel.
Thirdly, the horror movie clichés and stereotypes. You would think that Perkins should avoid these, right? But that isn’t true. If you love horror movies the way that I do, it can be really fun to notice the clichés and laugh at them. And when these are presented and then flouted, even better. For me, Perkins balances these two aspects very well. There is enough that I would recognise, cringe at, and enjoy, and enough that makes me smile because it is noted but is then changed.
Finally, one of the reasons I like this book most is because of the diversity and the way interesting, natural way that Perkins has included it within this novel. The main character is black, there is a character that is transgender, and really – no one cares. There is a brief mention of the way that the town handles a transgender teen, and another discussion about how people initially approach Makani and ask her not entirely appropriate questions relating to her race, but ultimately, this is so unimportant in the text, that it makes it incredibly natural. I love this portrayal of diversity, as nothing more than every day. These things could happen to anyone, and they do. (Well, in a horror movie anyway)
After finishing this book, I handed it straight to Wayne, then, I suggested it to the YA book club, and pretty much anyone else that I thought would read it. I am now recommending it to you.
If you liked this…
I would recommend The Girl With All The Gifts by M R Carey. It is a different take on the zombie apocalypse novel, playing with the stereotypes and offering fantastic characterisation for the reader. While it doesn’t have the same pace as a slasher movie, I think it’s a must for horror fans.