Stephanie Perkins is famous for her contemporary books, which I never felt the desire to read, because…
Talk about some gringe-inducing titles
But I digress. A few months ago she published her first mystery/thriller, There is someone inside your house, and it went exactly in the direction that someone would expect from an author of fluffy romances.
Good thrillers are created from psychological tension, which can be developed in different ways, like making the readers fear for the characters’ lives by putting them in dangerous situations, or through atmospheric writing, like Gillian Flynn’s Sharp objects (God, I love that book). But There is someone inside your house doesn’t care for either, and instead tells a story with no suspense, focusing on the life of a teenage girl as she deals with angst and a hot boy.
I cannot stress how much this book lacks psychological tension and fails to inspire real fear. The opening scene, which is supposed to introduce the mistery and make you frightened and immersed in story, centers around an egg timer. Every attempt to create a sense of unease is done with either these sort of laughable scenes, or really gory deaths, which only occur to random side characters we barely get to know, so there’s no real concern for the protagonists. In addition, the killer was revealed halfway through, his motivations were ridiculous and had absolutely no logic behind them.
The so-called mystery is only used as a background for Makani’s romance and family issues, but the book doesn’t even work as a guilty pleasure silly story. Makani is incredibly angsty and most of her interactions with her family and her newly found boyfriend who quickly falls in love in one chapter were unrealistic, cheesy and cringeworthy. It was like every stereotype of a teenager combined, even worse, a misunderstood teenager.
My philosophy when it comes to deciding wether to give a book I don’t like 1 or 2 stars can usually be summarized by: If it’s offensive, 1 star. If I don’t like it but can see the appeal it might have to others, 2 stars. Then comes this book, which is not really an offensive story (unless you count offensively bad), but I can’t for the life of me think of one positive aspect about it (I mean, maybe representation because Makani is biracial, but I don’t think it’s enough), nor come up with the reasons why someone might like it.