Moving from Hawaii to Nebraska was supposed to give high school senior Makani Young a chance to start over. Her past is full of dark secrets, and she’d like to keep it that way. She’s found friends and has started dating Ollie Larson, but just when she thinks things might start to go her way, her classmates start getting murdered in really gruesome ways. Can Makani confront her past and maybe save some lives at the same time? Or is she next?
Perkins takes a sharp turn out of the YA romance genre to explore YA horror with a bloody, fast-paced slasher story. While Perkins doesn’t shy away from the violence in this one (seriously, it’s super, super gory) and it’s clear that she has a love of horror movies, her talents at writing budding love stories still manage to shine through here. This overshadows the slasher storyline significantly.
Makani’s burgeoning relationship with Ollie is sweet, compelling, and believable. They have a nice rapport and chemistry that jumps off the page. Perkins works hard to not reveal Makani’s secrets nor the killer’s identity in an attempt to ramp up the tension, it’s the two teen’s relationship that allows readers to feel any connection to the characters. The result is a mixed bag: it’s not a scary read, but it is a bloody one.
The novel’s very bloody end wraps things up, providing the killer’s identity as well as their motivations, but it feels like almost too little too late. While teens are likely to gobble this one up quickly, there’s not a lot of substance here, and it could have been a lot scarier than it was. Still, it’s an interesting direction for Perkins to go, and it will be equally interesting to see what she does next.
There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. Dutton Books for Young Readers: 2017. Library copy.