First Impressions

I have always judged books by their covers so it was no surprise to me that Stephanie Perkins’s There’s Someone Inside Your House was an instant YES.

There’s a lot I love about this cover, but my hearteyes were first sewn to three things:

  • That hint-of-late-eighties neon pink projection lettering.
  • How some of the words are broken across the stairs and railing (why do those creeps in the movies always go upstairs when they’re alone? Constant disappointment. My fellow screenwriters could know better. You don’t go upstairs. You wait for the glass shattering to stop, sob-call the cops, crawl across the street to your neighbor’s house because they are a retired FBI agent–plus, they have good snacks–and your parents won’t be home until after midnight but even if it was just a handful of birds with a window-based death wish your fear was very real. Hashtag true story.)

    Close up of THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE book cover

    The ‘E’.

  • The ‘E’ that turns with the corner. Why is it aimed at me?
  • THE TITLE IS A WHOLE SENTENCE.

I love whole-sentence titles.

However, I really love when said whole-sentence titles are whole freaking grammatically correct sentences that make me question everything I think I know about this book based on a first impression of the cover. Who is telling me this? How do they know? How do they know that I don’t know? Why are they telling me?

This is simply one of the best covers I’ve seen in a while. It’s clear. It makes me want to know more. IT’S ALL CAPS NEON PINK.

Plot

But the story itself?

*Chef’s kiss*.

I was legitimately hooked in the first paragraph.

book cover: Lois Duncan's DON'T LOOK BEHIND YOU

Lois Duncan’s DON’T LOOK BEHIND YOU

It’s moody without being dark, it’s gory without making me squeamish, and it’s clever without being complicated.

And the voice?

Oh, that voice. It’s no wonder I don’t finish half of the books I buy. They’re not written like this. Perkins has one of the clearest voices I’ve read in a long while. I haven’t been drawn in to a story this quickly since Lois Duncan’s Don’t Look Behind You.

A Drawback

The only drawback is the number of main characters. It feels like there are a crapload of them.

While this is less of a flaw in Perkins’s craft as it is a pet-peeve of mine, a crowded character list is like a flashing neon sign screaming There’s Very Likely a Twist Up Ahead So Don’t Get Too Attached To Any Of These Creepers Who Won’t Stop Going Up Stairs Alone.

As familiar as I am with the horror genre, not much genuinely surprises me anymore, so I crave it–the jump scares. The unexpected twists. The goosebumps.

But Perkins has gotten me more than a few times now and I’m only just past the midpoint.

Closing Thoughts

Perkins makes me care about these three-dimensional, alibi-wielding, doubt-giving creepers. I even kind of want to reach out to the main character, Makani, and bring her a blanket and soup or something.

And a few very special shout outs to the cover designer: Lindsey Andrews and cover artist Sean Freeman.

So, yes, I love this book.

However, you don’t have to take my word for it.

But you will.


Erica is a developmental editor and crafter. Her current WIP is a middle grade horror with a long sentence for a title. She welcomes connections via twitter.