A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Stephanie Perkins' There's Someone Inside Your House is a gory, suspenseful story about a serial killer targeting teens in a small Nebraska town. With her parents' marriage falling apart, Makani Young is sent from Hawaii to Nebraska to live with her grandmother. She's afraid a mysterious incident from her past could make her a suspect in the killings -- or the killer's next victim. Teen romance figures heavily into the plot, with a handful of scenes of teens making out and having sex. The violence is intense and graphic and not for young or sensitive readers. There's little drug or alcohol use, and characters swear occasionally, including "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole." Perkins is inclusive with her characters: Makani's half-black, half-Hawaiian; her grandmother is black; and her friend Darby is transgender. High school cliques and small-town gossip provide good discussion topics.
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What's the story?
THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE finds Makani Young trying to figure out life in the town of Osborne, Nebraska. She moved to the small farm town from Hawaii to live with her grandmother, leaving behind family turmoil and a shameful, dark secret. She has a few close friends, a quiet life with her grandma, and a crush on a boy at her high school. The usual calm of Osborne is thrown into chaos when a serial killer starts targeting students at the high school. No one can figure out the pattern, so no one knows who's next. Adding to the suspense is that the killer is likely someone they all know. Makani worries that the secret, troubling incident from her past will make her a victim or a suspect. Her inner turmoil is heightened by her longing for a loner boy named Ollie. People at her school love to gossip about him, and she risks getting to know him better, against the advice of her closest friends. As the killings increase in viciousness and frequency, everyone in town feels the terror pressing in on them. Anyone could be next.
Is it any good?
Gruesome murders, high school cliques, dark secrets, and teen romance abound in this suspenseful page turner. The action in There's Someone Inside Your House kicks in right away and keeps up at a good pace throughout the book. The story never lags, but it has enough fun and sweet scenes to give the reader a breather. Otherwise, the murders and gore would be too much to handle. Perkins has an excellent ear for teen dialogue. The characters feel like smart, funny, real teens you might know. The serial killer suspense is fun, if that's the right word for gory murder and dismemberment. Without giving away spoilers, one murder is given short shrift, and the killer's reveal and motive are unsatisfying. The story is great on most fronts -- the mysteries, friendships, and romance -- but the ending could have tied things up better. An epilogue would have been a perfect addition and would have rounded out the story well.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of gory books and movies like There's Someone Inside Your House. Why do you think they're so popular?
Do you ever judge people based on appearances or gossip you've heard about them? Has there been a time when you got to know someone and found out he or she was different from what you first thought?
How honest are you with your family and friends about important things going on in your life? Where do you think the line is between regular privacy and keeping secrets?
- Author: Stephanie Perkins
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Dutton Books
- Publication date: September 26, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 304
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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