There’s Someone Inside Your House

by

Stephanie Perkins

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There’s Someone Inside Your House: Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Haley Whitehall returns home to find an egg-shaped egg timer lying on the welcome mat. Nobody’s home, and she wonders who could’ve left it there. Haley’s phone rings. It’s her best friend Brooke. They gossip and complain about their high school’s musical, Sweeney Todd. Ms. Colfax, their high school’s music director, is an ambitious woman who demands a lot from her students. Haley is starring in the musical and isn’t looking forward to being covered in corn syrup. Meanwhile, Brooke is the stage manager and has to deal with Shayna, the erratic costume designer, and the challenge of blood-removal for this particularly gory production.
Sweeney Todd, a musical about a murderous butcher who starts feeding humans through his meat grinder, perhaps foreshadows the onset of future violence. Stephanie Perkins modeled There’s Someone Inside Your House after her favorite slasher/thriller movies. Since the genre creates interest through tense and suspenseful situations, it’s important to note moments in the book that build tension and alert the reader that something isn’t quite right. The egg-shaped timer on the welcome mat seems to be one of these moments, but Haley ignores her instinct that something is wrong, too swept up in her gossip with Brooke to listen to her gut.
Themes
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
Brooke asks Haley if Jonathan, Shayna’s boyfriend, is doing any better today. Jonathan is playing Sweeney opposite Haley, who is playing Mrs. Lovett. Even though Haley is only a junior, her talent has earned her lead roles in school productions for the past two years. Jonathan, on the other hand, has been struggling to learn his part for weeks. Brooke commiserates with Haley’s complaints about Jonathan. Haley admits to being a bit short with Jonathan in rehearsal earlier that day. Brooke tells her that it’s not her fault Jonathan hasn’t learned his part.
Readers learn that Haley has earned lead roles in her high school’s musical productions for years, even though she isn’t an upper-level student. This shows that she’s a talented, notable performer who stands out among her peers. Though Haley is talented, she’s humble and self-aware. She exhibits these traits in her apparent hesitancy to gossip about Jonathan’s lack of talent, even though it seems like there’s no doubt that Jonathan really is wholly untalented.
Themes
Inner Change  Theme Icon
As Brooke complains about her stage manager duties, Haley eats a sandwich in the kitchen and stares out the window at the cornfields surrounding her house. Her cell connection goes in and out, so half of what Brooke is saying is static. Haley makes sympathetic sounds to pretend she can hear. When she places her dirty dishes in the dishwasher, the only thing inside is a butter knife. She notices the sink is empty, too, and she suddenly feels nervous. As she turns to head upstairs, her foot sends the egg timer spinning across the floor. Haley freezes—hadn’t she placed it on the counter top when she first got home? She tries to shrug it off and decides that she must have dropped the timer on the floor and forgotten about it.  
The cornfields that surround Haley’s house establish the novel’s setting. It seems to be a rural place, sparsely populated and consisting of mostly farmland as opposed to suburban sprawl. The pensiveness with which Haley assesses the surrounding cornfields shows the reader, perhaps, that corn has special meaning to the book’s characters. It’s impossible to know what Haley is thinking as she gazes into the corn. But readers do know that she’s a talented, stand-out kid, so perhaps she’s longing for something more than her rural, isolated town can offer her. The egg timer reappears, creating further tension. In the horror and thriller genres, characters whose intuitions tell them something is off tend to be correct, so the reader may guess that something bad will happen to Haley if she continues to ignore the timer. 
Themes
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
Inner Change  Theme Icon
Brooke accuses Haley of not listening to her. Haley mumbles an apology and makes an excuse about being tired to hang up with Brooke. Alone in her house, Haley can’t help but feel uneasy about the egg timer, but she can’t say why. Nevertheless, she walks upstairs, collapses into her bed, and immediately falls asleep. Sometime later, Haley awakens with a start to the sound of ticking. She looks at the nightstand beside her bed. Her phone is gone, and in its place rests the egg timer.
Haley’s unease distracts and alienates her from her friend. Once more, though, Haley pushes her gut feeling that there’s something off about the egg timer aside. When the timer appears inexplicably beside her bed, it creates additional tension. Who placed it there, and who took Haley’s phone? The scene ends abruptly, before the reader can witness whatever happens to Haley, but the tension the narrative has built up to this point implies something bad and possibly violent happens to Haley once she awakens and sees the timer.
Themes
Guilt, Shame, and Redemption  Theme Icon
Alienation  Theme Icon
Gossip vs. Communication Theme Icon
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