Review: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

This is probably the cringiest book I’ve read all year. I picked this up due to a glowing mention on Sarah Enni’s First Draft podcast, but man, this did not live up to expectations. The book promises horror, but the first half of the book is extremely lacking in this department, choosing to focus instead on the MC’s romance. Is this why the cover is pink, perhaps? A promise of horror, with a love story nobody wants tangled within?

Here are the main things I struggled with in the book:

  • 3rd person POV that does not feel anchored to the MC. This is especially noticeable in any sections when the MC is hanging out with her friends.
  • Politically progressive details thrown in for brownie points. (Token transgender friend, gamer who regrets all the troll comments he’s sent to women, etc.)
  • A villain who is extremely bland
  • Oodles of tell not show, especially in the ending wrap-up of the killer’s motives
  • MC backstory that is hyped to an alarming degree and kept from the readers until far too deep into the book. The backstory is extremely tame, and the author is clearly trying to craft a trivial and forgivable event into something very dramatic, with the intention of making the MC both interesting, while at the same time protecting the MC from being truly “bad.”
  • Cringey, throwaway details to make us think the killer’s random victims are interesting. (Take especial note of the Tamora Pierce author insert detail on page 266… This was the point when my two-star review got cut in half.)

Let me expand on that last point about throwaway details. For context, Chapter Eleven is from the POV of one of the killer’s soon-to-be victims–a gamer nerd called Rodrigo. The details in this chapter are outright lazy. OF COURSE Rodrigo will pepper his internal monologue with random Spanish. (“If his sisters had heard it, they would have kicked him in the cojones.”) OF COURSE he’ll randomly have a thought about this company of all-female game developers, and how it’s so, so ridiculous that they’re getting crazy flack from the gaming community. (Internal monologue virtue signaling–gag me now.) OF COURSE he’s drinking a Mountain Dew competitor and eating pizza. OF COURSE he’s texting his friends about Linux distros and only anime a thirty-year-old author would have watched. Now NONE of these things would be bad on their own–it’s just that they are so liberally peppered throughout the short chapter that you’re just waiting for the next one. Detail supplants actual character development, leaving everything feeling hollow.

Perhaps you will like it… But I cannot in good faith recommend this book.

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