"There's Someone Inside Your House" by Stephanie Perkins
Do you like scary movies? Like, the classic, slasher kind where people make stupid mistakes and end up meeting the business end of some very disgruntled individual’s knife?
Then you’ll like There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins.
Horror isn’t really my genre. I am way too big a wimp (as previously established) to read these types of books on the regular. Nevertheless, as the leaves started to lose their green and the air took on a decidedly crisper feel, I felt an almost irresistible compulsion to willingly scare the hell out of myself via literature.
And so I picked up this book.
Despite what the title may suggest, this book doesn’t really take place in a creepy house on a creepy night. Instead, the events described occur in and around a Podunk town in rural Nebraska.
First, a popular drama club member is gruesomely killed, then a star football player meets an equally cringe-inducing end…and so it continues.
The main character in this novel, Makani, is a recent transplant to this town. She previously called the sandy shores of Hawaii home, but, after a traumatic event, she’s moved to Nebraska to live with her maternal grandmother. What this event is…and, really, the make-up of Makani’s character...remains in question for a large portion of the book.
There is also a love interest – because, like any classic slasher film, this book has some...relatively graphic, for YA…sex.
As the book opens and people start to die, Makani rekindles her summer romance (and, by romance, I mean they made out once a week in the alley behind the grocery store and once had sex in a car) with Ollie, an edgy boy who sets her heart aflutter.
Enough with the plot. What you’re probably wondering is, “Is this book good?”
In this case, there isn’t really a definitive answer.
Best I can manage is – it depends.
What does it depend on?
Well, how you feel about horror.
Here’s the thing. Horror can be exceptionally, eye-rollingly, frustratingly stupid – but in the best kind of way.
And this book was no exception.
Perkins’ novel had all the same tropes of classic horror films.
Like the ending
As it finally looks like good is going to win out, Makani's friend Darby insists that the killer is dead despite the fact that the killer was merely hit in the head with a shovel.
Bitch, please! He's not fucking dead.
I've seen Scream. And I Know What You Did Last Summer. And Halloween. And Halloween 2. And Halloween H20. And Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers.
Anyways you got my point.
But, the thing is, at some point you just have to embrace the stupidity.
Or stop reading, I guess.
Yes the characters made really fucking bad choices.
But that's kind of the fun of it.
I’m not sure why it’s fun. Maybe it's just because you get to sit in your ivory tower and look down at these characters chasing after a homicidal classmate who is armed with a comically large butcher knife when they don’t even so much as bring pepper spray.
I don't know.
At the end of the day, this book made me wince and cringe and really regret my choice of reading material in the best possible way.
It made me carry my cat downstairs in the morning because I was scared to face the dark hallway myself and was somehow sure that my docile, 6-pound Siamese was going to provide some kind of protection.
It provided the kind of scares that I want when I pick up a horror book or turn on a horror film.
Which, really, is what I signed up for.
One thing that I did find exceptionally effective in this book was Perkins’ choice of “costume” for the killer – an oversized hoodie.
In horror, the costume makes all the difference. Even though it's been, what, 20-something years since Scream came out I still have to force myself to act like a responsible 35-year-old and not run screaming from a child who happens to wear a Scream mask.
Hoodies are so much more ubiquitous.
How many teenagers do you see in an oversized hoodie daily? I could toss a dime right now and hit, like, three hoodie-clad teens.
And now I’ll be terrified of all of them.
So, thanks for that Stephanie Perkins.
All things considered, I would recommend this book.
But only to people who actually like the horror genre.
If you’re the type of person who watches a slasher flick and spends the entire time thinking how stupid and unrealistic it is, this just isn’t the book for you.
If, on the other hand, you know it’s stupid and unrealistic, but love it all the same, you should definitely add this book to your to be read list.
I give it a solid 3 out of 5 cocktails.
How do you feel about horror? Tell us about it in the comments, below.
Another day, another book. Check out my next read…or see how I’m doing on my Goodreads challenge…here.