I don’t know why, but even though I can’t make it through a horror movie without covering my eyes, I’m weirdly intrigued by scary stories. For a long time, I listened to a podcast called Lore, which will soon be a TV show on Amazon. (I didn’t stop listening for any particular reason, other than the fact that I’m just terrible at keeping up with podcasts. 😅) I’ve read several books about the paranormal, and when Lorraine Warren — a paranormal investigator made more famous by the popular Conjuring films — visited my college campus to talk to students about cases that she and her late husband, Ed, worked on, I jumped at the chance to go. Maybe it’s a visual thing. Whatever it is, though, it’s what inspired me to pre-order Stephanie Perkins’ There’s Someone Inside Your House. Known for Anna and the French Kiss and its two sequels — Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After — Perkins has only written YA contemporary romance up to this point, so I was eager to see what her first YA horror novel would be like.
This book wasn’t on my September TBR, but if you want to read a short synopsis, click here. 🙂
Also, there are very minor spoilers in this review. If you have not yet read this book and want to remain totally in the dark (mwahaha… 😉), stop reading now!
What I Liked: When it comes to horror, I’m freaked out by everything, whether it’s gore or thrills. Lucky for me, this book had both! But I think the most terrifying thing was the mind-fuckery, for lack of a better term. Right from the get-go, we learn that the killer likes to go into people’s houses and move things around. Mostly small, innocuous items, but — as we see later — also larger objects. The idea of someone entering a home and familiarizing themselves with another person’s belongings has a certain wrongness to it, and the moments throughout the book where characters begin to question their own actions and sanity as a result of the misplaced items… 😨 It’s times like these when I’m glad I live in a small apartment! While I appreciated the psychological scares, I did have some trouble with the believability and logistics of some of them. (I’ll discuss this more later.) I liked Makani as a protagonist, and — possibly even more so — I liked Alex and Darby. I think Perkins did a great job of establishing their individual personalities and quirks. I also really appreciated the representation among the characters, and it wasn’t heavy-handed. This book was a quick read, too; I finished it in a little more than twenty-four hours. If you’re looking for a fast, creepy Halloween read, this book is worth checking out. 🎃👻
What I Disliked: There are a few things I struggled with as I read the book and even after I had finished it.
- I’m not sure I was a huge fan of the killer’s identity being revealed so early in the book. True, it happened after the halfway point, so it wasn’t too early. But even so, I think I went into this expecting to have to wait until the end, or that, if they were unmasked sooner, there would be some sort of game-changing twist. There really wasn’t, though. 🙁 I also didn’t find the killer’s motivation to be very satisfying.
- Some parts of the book were more believable than others. When the killer moved objects around, sometimes his victim had just left the room, only to return a minute later. How did they manage it so quickly, without being seen or heard? Even though they’re later described as “quiet” and even slight in build, they’re not a ninja. As much as I liked the idea of the killer messing with his victims’ minds before finally striking, I just had a difficult time figuring out how they accomplished what they did without being caught. 🤔 (Also, we find out how they got into the grocery store (with a stolen key) and one victim’s house (through a basement window), but how did they get into the other victims’ houses? Was it always through a window? Did they have other stolen — or even duplicate — keys? How did they seem to know each house inside and out? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.)
- I didn’t think the romance plot was necessary, but I can see it from both sides. For Makani and Ollie, it’s a distraction from what’s going on around them, and depending on your point of view, that can be good or bad. Personally, while I can understand wanting comfort and support during a frightening period of time, I know I wouldn’t be feeling sexy vibes while random classmates are getting stabbed and dismembered… But I appreciate that they both communicated their desires, had consensual sex, and seemed to genuinely care for one another. There’s a reason so many people like Anna and the French Kiss — Perkins knows how to write a good romance. I just didn’t think this book needed it.
- Finally, I thought the ending was way too abrupt. We didn’t get any closure whatsoever, and although not everything in life — or literature — has a clear, satisfying conclusion, I expected to see an epilogue that caught up with everyone in the aftermath that surely followed. I knew it wouldn’t be a happy ending — or at least not a completely happy ending — but it still would have been an ending. I honestly found this to be the most disappointing thing about the book. ☹️
Overall, I think this was a fun, fast-paced read. But if you’re a big horror fan and you’re looking for maximum blood and terror — or at least a killer that strikes a little more fear in the hearts of readers — it may be best to look elsewhere… Although there were parts of this book I liked — and clearly I was invested enough to not DNF it — I think it could have been much better executed. (No pun intended!)