A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
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
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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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."
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Products & Purchases
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.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.