Thursday, October 19, 2017

There's Someone Inside Your House

There's Someone Inside Your House

Stephanie Perkins isn't known for writing horror, generally speaking, but she makes a game effort here. This was a highly awaited book in YA circles, and after seeing some mixed reviews I wasn't sure what to expect. It's a YA slash-em-up book and sometimes you just want something quick and easy to read. I'm not a fan of slasher stories normally, but the description of "Scream meets YA" was enough for me to give it a shot. And while I'm not exactly a convert after reading it, it was good mindless fun for a few hours. And just creepy enough that you don't want to read it alone at home after dark. 

In a lot of ways this is about the relationship between the two main characters as much as it is a slasher story, at least for the first half of the book, Makani is a recent transplant to rural Nebraska after something happened in Hawaii, where she's from- she has a secret that is not revealed until  later in the story. Did she kill someone herself? There are hints that she did. She refers to herself as the only brown- skinned kid in the high school, and has a fling with Ollie, a similarly out-of-place kid who dyed his hair pink. Needless to say he's the only guy with pink hair at their school. 

Makani and Ollie develop a relationship after initially just having sex, and even though brutal murders are occurring, I felt like the focus was on Makani and Ollie. And that was part of my problem, as I wasn't feeling Ollie at all. Makani was okay, no complaints there really, although she didn't wow me. She just was. Her friends Alex and Darby were the best part of the book for me. Darby is a trans who has identified as male, and you can probably imagine how well that goes over in the rural Nebraska town. But there was humor to leaven the stress a bit, and Alex was kind of a riot. 

Speaking of the diversity elements, I feel like Perkins was trying to explore the different experiences one can have in modern society, depending on where you are. For example, Makani is a biracial girl raised in liberal Hawaii, who has a really hard time with the conservative ethos of Nebraska. She even muses about how not everyone lives the way people there live- she's truly a fish out of water. I just don't think it was that effective and it definitely seemed to reflect a certain viewpoint, which may work for some readers but not others. Mainly I just wanted to get on with the slashing. 

As far as tension goes, it was a little creepy. The killer is pretty twisted, I'll say that. Not sure it's very scary, but there are tense and thrilling moments. I kinda liked the end, improbable as it was- that definitely could be a movie scene. And it's set in October so feels very seasonal at that time. All in all this was solid but not spectacular, I'd say a three star read- not essential but worth a read if you like Perkins or just want a YA slasher tale. 

43 comments:

  1. This might be a fun Hallowe'en read but it doesn't sound one for me. I like the cover though :-)

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    1. See I'm not sold on the cover although it does have that lurid purple thing going, which kinda fits? It does make a good October read though, I agree! But yeah. Not essential. :)

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  2. I stay away from creepy reads these days, and the title alone is enough to scare me. I'm glad you enjoyed it though. Hugs...RO

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    1. That is a pretty scary title, isn't it?

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  3. Just the title makes this a good read for me. Sounds brilliantly scary. :)

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  4. Ah hmm... I've been looking forward to this one, but I think I may have the same reaction as you. Especially where I've read a few YA suspense/thrillers in a row... Maybe I'll hold off a bit on this one.

    Wonderful review!!

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    1. Thanks Erica! And yeah this is not essential reading by any means- I mean, it was okay but not memorable, you know? It's a safe pass. :)

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  5. I've never read anything by Perkins and I've seen very mixed reviews on this one. Not sure if I'll give it a go or not. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts about the book. I always appreciate a heads-up!

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    1. Thanks Susan! Yeah I think it's safe to skip this one, it's a pretty standard slasher tale. I'm curious to see what stephanie Perkins' other books are like.

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  6. You just made me decide to take this one off my tbr. Sounds like the author was trying for a politically correct book and threw in some slashing. Too much going on. Why didn’t she just focus on one or the other? Sigh!

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    1. Politically correct could be one way to characterize it, definitely. Like I said, some people will like it, others will be turned off maybe just a bit- I mean, it's not HUGE but it's there maybe? I wanted slashing. :)

      But yeah I never like turning someone off from a book, but seriously it's not great or anything so you're probably not missing a lot.

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  7. This is pretty much what everyone I know has said about this book. I haven't loved all her books anyway so I was already going to take a pass. Although I was intrigued by the horror/romance mashup.

    For What It's Worth

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    1. Definitely a horror/ romance mashup! That could have been my whole review right there! But yeah I've been seeing those reviews too, and I was curious if I would feel the same. Sadly, I mostly do.

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  8. Creepy killer and tense moods, sounds good

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    1. Way creepy killer! And it gets tense a bit.

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  9. You explained this so well. I've seen a lot of people not be able to identify what exactly they didn't like about it but I'm guessing it's exactly what you described. If you don't really connect with your main characters it definitely makes it hard to like the book, even if there are some good aspects to it. I'm like you and probably would have just rather it be focused on the slashing haha. I was curious to see what you thought about this. I applaud Perkins for wanting to step out of her typical contemporary YA home and try something different. Maybe her next thriller will be better!

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    1. I definitely applaud her for trying something new. And it's not a bad book, just nothing exceptional. YA is focusing a lot on diversity and people's experiences, which is great, but it almost didn't work in the context of a slasher story for me? And Ollie I think I was SUPPOSED to like, but I just didn't. So yeah it was strictly average.

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  10. I've never read this author before, but I definitely want to try this one. Great review, Greg!

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    1. Thanks Lauren! This was a first Perkins for me also...

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  11. Yes, I agree. Loved the fish out of water set up. But I think the horror got in the way of the romance and vice versa. The kissy stuff kind of dampened the suspense and all the murders killed (ha!) the romantic mood. I wish the book had gone one way or the other!
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen Ryland

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    1. Definitely. I think a focus one way or the other would have been ideal.

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  12. I keep waffling back and forth about whether or not to read this book. I think I'd have an issue with not being able to connect with the main characters, but then the creepy/thriller aspect of it just sounds so good. I'll still probably give it a go but I don't think it will be a priority read. Great review!

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    1. That's a good way to do it, read it if you want but not as a priority. I don't think it's an essential read, I've read a lot of YA with better romances and the killing is just... average, I suppose. It's okay, a 3 star all the way around.

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  13. I liked the concept because it reminded me of the old Babysitter RL Stine and Christopher Pike books that used to scare me silly when I was a preteen but I don't think I'm on board with all the other stuff. If I'm reading a slasher book I want slashing - not introspection on diversity and how different people live! That needs to happen but shouldn't be a focus in a slasher book.

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    1. Ha ha what is it about being scared? And yes slashing. Except for a few moments I thought th whole first half of the book was all about the romance, and it didn't do a lot for me?

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  14. Not sure trying to tackle/include gender issues and racial issues while doing a romance/slasher type story is the way to go. And all happening in rural Nebraska? Yeah, that doesn't seem very realistic. Sounds like it was trying a little too hard? Great review, Greg! :) I think this is a pass for me.

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    1. Yeah she's trying to raise some issues while doing a slasher story, and I'm not sure it worked. You're not really missing anything.

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  15. I really enjoyed this one. It's not scary, no, but I'm not really sure those teen slasher films are terribly scary either. LOL

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I'm glad you liked. I liked things about it. Alex cracked me up?? And I thought it wasn't scary per se but there were a few scary moments, kinda creepy stuff?

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  16. So... what if it's like.... you own it but you don't really care if you ever read it? Still worth bothering? Quick enough to cross a book off my Goodreads Challenge? Like- I just can't decide if I care. I mean- I can't really buy a romance that takes more focus than murder, tbh. Because sure, romance sounds lovely, but I'm probably going to focus on all the killing first? So that makes it unbelievable too. And then if the characters are "meh"... why do I care if someone kills them anyway? Humor is good, though. Sorry this was a bit underwhelming for you. But great review, you highlighted a lot of great stuff that I hadn't read on anyone else's reviews!

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    1. Skip. No seriously- it's okay. I don't consider it essential reading, but it's not BAD. The romance DID take up a lot of the book, I thought, maybe all slashing all the time would get old, but I wasn't feeling the romance. I did care though when some certain characters were in danger, so it's not all bad.

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  17. Ironically, I hadn't heard of this book until this morning. I was looking through audiobooks from my library and this popped up as a recommended read. I've enjoyed her books in the past, when I'm looking for something quirky and light, and I was surprised to see this. It was so random I added it to my list. I had meant to look at reviews later, but then I saw your post! I wasn't OMGIHAVETOREADTHIS about it, but it seemed interesting enough. After reading your review, I think I'll save it for when I'm cleaning and doing housework--daylight and multitasking. This was super helpful! :)

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    1. I've heard good things about her books! And since I don't read a lot of relationship type contemps I thought I'd start with this one. I suspect I might actually like her other books maybe more? And thanks- glad it helped. I definitely think it would be a good audio to listen to while doing other stuff- it's not super deep.

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  18. I've had those issues with the characters of the Anna and the French Kiss trilogy. They were okay but that was it. I was excited for this book but now I don't know. It seems like the kind of book I'd forget a month after reading it.

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    1. Have you? That's interesting. Maybe I wouldn't gel with her chars much then...and that's a good observation, this was okay but not something that will stick with me where I remember it fondly.

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  19. I've read other books by Stephanie Perkins but I've not been aware of this book. She's a good writer. I hope you enjoy it. My quotes are from Turtles All the Way Down

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  20. I'm not big on slasher stuff so this probably isnt one for me, but I do want to read some of her other stuff. Great review!

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  21. I liked Alex and Darby too, and yeah, Ollie wasn't great. I didn't like him at all. And yes, that ending would be so great in a movie!! Haha good point there.

    Brilliant review, Greg.

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  22. I want to read it just for the title alone. That's a really great title.

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  23. I am not the biggest fan of all Perkins's writing but I do still want to read this one despite the mixed reviews. I am looking for a Halloween read so this is probably fitting for that. I don't think it's going to be groundbreaking but I am hoping to have vaguely interesting characters, and it seems like there might at least be a couple so that's good.

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  24. I like the diversity! and just the title gives me the creeps! No one wants to hear "There's Someone Inside Your House!" LOL

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  25. Nice review! I am hoping to read this before the end of the month for a quick, Halloween type read.

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