There's Someone Inside Your House

Book review by
Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media
There's Someone Inside Your House Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Exciting serial-killer tale blends gore, suspense, romance.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 10 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

References to musicals Sweeney Todd and Peter Pan. Discussions of the geographical and cultural differences between Nebraska and Hawaii. Information on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in football players. Barrel racing explained.

Positive Messages

Good friends are honest with each other, especially when something's hard to discuss. Reach out and try to help people who are alone. Many people are fighting battles you don't know about, so don't make assumptions. Don't keep secrets; the people in your life are more understanding than you think.

Positive Role Models & Representations

All the main characters are positive role models. Makani is a good friend and tries to see beyond a person's surface. Grandma Young is a much-needed loving and supportive adult in Makani's life. Alex and Darby are good friends who share their concerns with Makani, even though she doesn't want to hear them at first. Ollie is misunderstood as a scary loner, but he has good qualities. Chris is a good big brother who's trying his hardest to be Ollie's parent figure.


Multiple grisly murders and attacks by a serial killer: deaths, wounds, mutilated bodies, and crime scenes described in detail. Scenes of violent struggles. Video game violence. Bullying and school fight. Dangerous high school sports team hazing.


Teen romances figure prominently into the plot. Kids discuss their crushes and sex. Kissing, heavy make-out sessions, and sex. Adult has talk with teens about using condoms.


Characters swear occasionally in the book, including "s--t" and variations, "f--k" and variations, "bitch," "God," "Jesus," "a--hole," "d--k," "butt," "ass," "Christ," "dickweed," "piss," "hell," "slut," "nympho," "whore," "c--t," and "bastard."


Products and media are mentioned mostly for scene setting, including Miracle Whip, Pokémon, Pixar, Netflix, Scandal, Rolling Stone, Sonic, iPhone, Kindle, Advil, CNN, Pop-Tarts, Toyota, Jeep, and Ford Fiesta, Focus, and Taurus.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Portrayals of alcohol and drugs used as cautionary tales. At a sports team hazing, teens are forced to drink vodka until they're sick. A high school student smokes pot. One character talks about a low point in his life when he drank and smoked pot. Drunken college students party in town.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Stephanie PerkinsThere'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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byFarie January 21, 2019

Amazing read:just don’t read alone at night

As a 10th grader, I’m fine with the cursing and the talking about sex and the sex scene, but it is a well written horror book that made me scared to sleep at ni... Continue reading
Adult Written byMP223 January 30, 2020

Cool just a little graphic

I am the guardian/parent of a young set of twins who just read this book and I had to give it a go. I am just going to say the storyline was THE BEST THING EVER... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old March 9, 2019

Overall Pretty Good!

Right from the start DO NOT READ THIS BOOK IF YOU DON´T LIKE GORY VIOLENCE! This book is very descriptive in the killing scenes. I don´t mind violence so I did... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byjsapres July 22, 2019

Good Book

This book is very interesting, but the deaths are very gruesome. The sex scenes aren’t so bad, it barely even goes into details. If you like a good horror this... Continue reading

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?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrillers

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