In this, the spookiest of months, I’ve got some historical gothic and YA horror as well as the next in the Hogarth Shakespeare series and some distinctive short books. As usual, links to longer reviews from the titles.
There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins – A hugely enjoyable YA horror/thriller novel with a biracial protagonist. Perfect for teens and adults wanting to relive Point Horror and similar books.
Dunbar by Edward St Aubyn – I have mixed feelings about Aubyn’s Hogarth Shakespeare novel (andabout its source text, King Lear), but the darkly comic tone will appeal to some and it is interesting to see which elements have been kept and changed.
All The Dirty Parts by Daniel Handler – Raucous and blunt, the Series of Unfortunate Events author takes on the teenage boy’s mind in this short novel.
The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott – A character-focused novel about Irish American Catholics in New York, sure to delight fans of that kind of narrative.
The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell – This historical gothic tale about a widow staying in her husband’s old house is eerie and the titular silent companions will haunt you long after the final page.
The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler – A non-fiction treat to dip into, in which Fowler provides snappy short chapters on a range of forgotten authors, including crime, mystery, and more general works.
Is there somebody lurking inside your home?: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
There’s Someone Inside Your House is a young adult thriller that makes for an exhilarating read. Makani Young moved from her Hawaiian home to her grandma’s house in small town Nebraska, escaping her parents’ divorce and her own secrets. After a year, she has two best friends—a Goth girl and a trans guy—and a crush on a school loner, though she still misses Hawaiian food and the sea. Her senior year is not going to be quiet, though, as students in her high school start to be the victims of gruesome murders. Soon, Makani has to balance the fear of who will be next with her own past, her fledgling romance, and looking after her grandmother.
Perkins’ novel is very recognisable as a YA thriller/horror book, with a classic combination of school cliques, town rumours and secrets, and teenage drama alongside narrative threat. Makani is a stand-out protagonist, a biracial girl far from home who is dealing with issues from her past and how out of place she feels in her new town. Her friends are also outsiders, but though the book uses teen cliques and popularity contests, it also emphasises that people can be better than they seem, regardless of social status. The inclusion of small elements such as internet trolling and rural internet and phone signal stop the location from feeling backward, but instead just another town that teenagers dream of leaving.
The novel is a page turner that will be enjoyable to adults who remember devouring Point Horror novels as well as teenagers. The characters are varied and likeable and the book does not shy away from real danger and high stakes amidst teenage rebellion and small town life.