Stephanie Perkins is by far one of my favor authors. The basic concepts of her Anna and the French Kiss series are nothing unique – it’s her execution of these premises that sets her apart. Her books have intricate characters, tangible chemistry, and an atmospheric vibe that is matched by few. Needless to say, I was beyond excited to read her latest book, There’s Someone Inside Your House. Sadly, it fell a bit short of my expectations.
There’s Someone Inside Your House takes place in a rural town in Nebraska where someone is picking off high school students one by one. Each murder is more gruesome than the last and there is no discernible pattern between the victims – anyone could be next. New to town, Makani mostly keeps her head down, and wants desperately to keep her sordid past a secret. With the growing terror and her growing feelings for Ollie (the resident bad boy and suspect in the murders), it’s only a matter of time before her past catches up with her.
I wish there had been more exploration of Makani’s relationship with her parents. They basically abandoned her during their messy divorce, but it’s only brought up once or twice. In terms of side characters, Makani’s friends (Darby and Alex) really just existed to doubt Ollie. Their friendship with Makani felt forced and trivial – they didn’t appear in the book a lot, and there was no real friend chemistry between them and Makani. Makani and Ollie were also pretty one dimensional. They were both bland and lacked development in their theoretically interesting background stories. Also, there really wasn’t much chemistry between them, making them a not very believable couple.
One thing I did like was having chapters set in the point of view of the murder victims. It added a level of tension and emotional investment that was otherwise void in this book. Overall, that’s what was lacking in this book: tension and emotional investment. In the final scene of the book, one of the major characters is murdered – it should be a gut wrenching raw moment, but to me it just felt skimmed over. I felt more empathy for the earlier victims who had chapters in their POV. The thriller plot felt fairly by the numbers – there was little suspense. It’s kind of like watching an episode of CSI that you’ve seen a million times before – still entertaining, but not thrilling.
While it’s not a bad book by any means, it’s just lackluster. The lack of tension and emotional investment in the characters prevented it from being the heart-pounding, tense, slasher thriller it could have been. I’d give it a solid 3/5.