As I've mentioned too many times to count on this blog and in my everyday life, I am obsessed with slashers. Regardless of format (movie or book), I'm a sucker for the genre. Something about watching people make horribly dumb choices while running from a knife-wielding maniac is so entrancing. I love to shout clues at the characters, warn them of their inevitable demise, and make guesses as to who the killer is. Stephanie Perkins' There's Someone Inside Your House made me do all of those things.
Makani Young came to live with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska, and she's still adjusting to her new life. And still haunted by her past in Hawaii.
Then, one by one, the students of her small town high school begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, Makani will be forced to confront her own dark secrets.
The opening chapter began in the perspective of a character who was not Makani (similar to how most slasher films open with a scene containing one or more characters whose only purpose in the entire story is to die in the opening scene), and I immediately knew this book was going to be a fun read. And I was right! I began reading it just before 10 PM and stayed up until 1 AM reading. Then, I woke up at 8 AM and read for two more hours until I finished. I was hooked. I needed to know who would live and die, and which character/s was deranged enough to commit these gruesome murders.
Now, this book being a fun, quick read I could not put down does not mean it didn't have its faults. For one, it felt like Perkins was writing two separate books. On one hand, you have a burgeoning romance between two characters with dark, mysterious pasts. On the other, you have a psychopathic serial killer murdering teenagers. A lot of horror movies/slashers have these two elements, but typically they mesh a little better than they did here. In this book, it constantly felt like either the romance was detracting from the slasher or the slasher was detracting from the romance. Rarely did the two story threads find a good balance.
Second, Makani's two best friends were incredibly under utilized. I blame this mostly on the fact that when the story wasn't focused on the serial killer, it was entirely focused on Makani's romantic life, her friends being almost all but forgotten. Part of the fun in any slasher is to get to know the main character and their friends and watch as they all try to solve the case together, all while you are wondering which of them will die by the killer's hand. Perkins tried to do this at times, but it fell pretty flat. Because we didn't see much of the friends, the story lost a lot of it's heart. The characters being stalked and murdered were, for the most part, no-name side characters, and while that is great news for Makani and her friends, it was pretty bad news for the tension.
Now, my next critique is a bit spoilery. I won't say who the killer is or reveal any major details about the plot or anything like that, but if you want to read this book and be pulled all the way to the last page with a curious suspense, then read no further. I will simply leave you with this: I really enjoyed this read, despite it's issues, and I'd recommend it to anyone who digs YA and slashers/horror. Now, go to the comments and tell me your favorite slasher movie/book! I hope my review was helpful!
Okay, for everyone who wanted to read the only slightly spoilery bit, this next paragraph is just for you. *I repeat, the next paragraph contains slightly spoilery information.*
Any slasher fan knows that any slasher worth its weight in fake blood has a twist. The twist is so common in a slasher that the real twist would be not having a twist. So, in that regards, There's Someone Inside Your House threw me for one heck of a loop. About two-thirds of the way through the book, the killer is "revealed." I use quotes around that because I was certain there was going to be more to the reveal. It was going to have been a big misunderstanding or there would be multiple killers or something along those lines. Nope. That was it. The killer was revealed. So, I spent the last third of the book looking for clues as to who the real killer/killers would be, only to be left rather disappointed when I realized there was no twist. The killer Perkins revealed was it. No twist. I repeat, there was no twist. It was shocking. But, like, in a bad way.
Like I said above, overall, I enjoyed this book. I had a really fun time reading it and it definitely kept me entertained. However, if you are looking for a slasher book that will blow your mind, redefine the genre, and blow every slasher before it out of the water, this book is most definitely not for you. My advice would be to pick up this book knowing that it will be an incredibly fast, fun read, but keep your expectations for the story a little low.
What is your favorite slasher movie/book? Do you plan to read There's Someone Inside Your House? Or have you already read it? Let me know your thoughts!