In Stephanie Perkins’ latest young-adult novel, “There’s Someone Inside Your House” (Dutton Children’s Books, $17.99), teen romance and grisly murders crawl into the back seat of the car for a make-out session, producing a read that is as eerie as it is delightful.
Makani Young has yet to fall in love with her new life in Nebraska with her grandmother. Though she’s made a few friends, she still misses the food, the waves and the weather of Hawaii. The good news is that nobody in her new school knows who she is or what she did last year. The bad news is that a serial killer is busy targeting the students of Osborne High. As the body count and panic rise, Makani; her two best friends, Alex and Darby; and new love interest, Ollie Larsson (a boy classmates are side-eyeing with suspicion), try to piece together a connection between the victims. They also work on staying alive.
Multifaceted characters and fresh dialogue add texture, while the teetering status of Makani and Ollie’s relationship combined with the hunt for the killer creates suspense from all angles. Perkins has a knack for the unnerving. Frightened teens stumble upon hair-raising oddities: rearranged furniture, a set of keys in the vegetable crisper, an egg timer positioned atop a welcome mat. She also overlays her work with a flair of carnival sideshow, weaving in sinister humor amid the horror.