TSIYS has a great premise, however its execution leaves a lot to be desired.
Instead of being a murder/thriller type book, what I found it to be was a contemporary romance novel with a murder thrown in at certain moments. It’s like the book would forget it was supposed to be about a killer being on the loose, and would focus on the boring romance between our main character and the town’s “tortured bad boy”.
First of all, I couldn’t bring myself to care about what was going on. The story starts off by a character getting murdered, but I as a reader, didn’t know a single thing about the person who died, so their death was pretty inconsequential. Since the story is narrated in 3rd person from Makani, the main character’s perspective, we pretty much only see what she sees. This is a problem, as Makani only ever interacts with about 3 or 4 people in the book at most, and her story focuses more on the romance than anything else. We don’t get a chance to form our own suspicions as to who may be killing or who may be killed next, because Makani is a new student, so she doesn’t really know a lot of people inside the school. We only ever learn about the people who get murdered after the fact, and even then, it’s not really enough to make an impact.
The romance was another thing that hindered my enjoyment of the book. It was boring and predictable. New girl meets boy who everyone says is bad news, but she looks into his eyes and realizes there’s more to him than meets the eye… and the rest is history. Owen is a quiet reserved type, and he and Makani’s romance is the dullest romance I’ve seen in a while. They make-out, talk about random stuff, make-out some more, and… that’s about it? I don’t really remember anything worthwhile about their romance, which is unfortunate because it takes up most of the book.
The book wastes more time trying to build up a relationship than it does trying to build up the supposed terror and horror that it promised in the summary. The truly horrifying parts were the murders and those were way too rare. Those were described in excruciatingly gory detail, which would suck me in to the story at once, however then the book would go back to it’s normal plot and all would be forgotten until the killer wanted to kill again.
The book has this habit of creating a lot of build-up to then have it fizzle into nothing. Makani is supposed to carry this deep, dark, devastating secret that is alluded to throughout the story, but once we find out what it is, it’s so ridiculously underwhelming that it annoyed me and made me wish she would be murdered next.
Uncovering the killer should’ve been the saving grace of this book, but the killer is revealed at about 50% of the story, and then…. that’s it. The reveal was anticlimactic for a multitude of reasons,[spoiler] (mainly because the killer turns out to be this completely random person)[/spoiler], but also because after we find out who it is, the story doesn’t really change in any significant way. The book keeps on with the same predictable formula: a couple of chapters focusing on Makani with a murder in between. Even the killer’s reasoning is terribly underwhelming and completely ridiculous once it’s revealed. It makes no sense story-wise or character-wise, and had I been watching this as a movie, I would’ve thrown my popcorn at the screen and walked out.
As for diversity, our main character Makani is Black/Native Hawaiian. I can’t speak for the representation (as this is not an #ownvoices novel), but know that there were mentions of traditional Hawaiian food and Makani would talk about her home sometimes. There’s a secondary trans character, but I can’t say anything about the representation either because they weren’t featured that much in the story. I will say though, that in my review copy the character is deadnamed in once instance, and purposefully misgendered by another student in the other. I believe the author addressed this but I’m not sure if it’s a thing that will be changed in the finished copy.
Overall, There’s Someone Inside Your House promised a spark, but delivered a fizzle. It read more like a YA romance than it did a YA horror novel. It’s a shame, too, because the bits of horror written in were immensely enjoyable, and the book itself is so short that it could have been read in one sitting had it not been for the lackluster romance and flat plot. I recommend this book only if you’re looking for a quick read, or something that reads like a bad Lifetime made-for-tv “horror” movie.