Many of Osborne’s teenagers feel stuck or dissatisfied with life in small-town America. They dream of one day leaving Osborne to seek out more diverse cultural experiences and opportunities for personal growth. Ollie obsessively reads travelogues that transport him to foreign lands. Makani feels homesick for the landscape and cuisine of her native Hawaii. But leaving a place like Osborne is no easy feat; within the world of the novel, it’s hard to abandon the place where one’s family has lived for generations. As Makani aptly observes, “it t[akes] a person with extraordinary drive and ambition to break from the pattern.” Moreover, it’s easy for those lacking the ambition and financial resources to leave Osborne to become jealous of the lucky few who manage to escape. David Ware, who’s ultimately revealed to be the Osborne Slayer, is an unremarkable boy who lacks the ambition and resources to leave town. He resents his peers who are more ambitious, memorable, and privileged than he is, so much so that he plans and executes a murderous rampage targeting students with plans to move on to bigger and better places. Not only does David covet the infamy and attention that being a serial killer brings, but he also sees being caught and sent to the prison outside of town as his best chance at leaving Osborne. But David’s theory that fame or a change of scenery will improve his life ignores the role he plays in perpetuating his unhappiness. Similarly, when Makani first moved to Nebraska, she thought that starting over in a new town would allow her to forget her past trauma. However, she soon realizes that the shame and guilt she feels over her participation in a cruel hazing ritual has followed her to Nebraska. Ultimately, Makani can only make peace with her past through her inner desire to change and with the support of her friends and community. There’s Someone Inside Your House suggests that real change comes from within. It takes time, inner work, and dedication to find fulfillment and become the person one wants to be, not simply a change of scenery.
Inner Change ThemeTracker
Inner Change Quotes in There’s Someone Inside Your House
As usual, there was no word from back home. At least the messages of hate had long stopped. No one there was looking for her, and the only people who still cared about it—the incident, as she self-censored that night on the beach—were people like Jasmine. The only people who mattered. Makani would have never guessed that her friends’ permanent silence would be infinitely more painful than those weeks when thousands of uninformed, condescending, misogynistic strangers had spewed vitriol at her. It was.
It had been so long since Makani had felt any amount of genuine, unadulterated happiness that she’d forgotten that sometimes it could hurt as much as sadness. His declaration pierced through the muscle of her heart like a skillfully thrown knife. It was the kind of pain that made her feel alive.
Meanwhile, Makani pretended to be upset for the same reasons as her classmates. She pretended that the local news van, parked near the flag at half-mast, hadn’t broken her into a sweat. She pretended that she was cold when she put up the hood of her hoodie and angled her face away from the cameras. She pretended to belong.
The dry tassels reached for the open sky while the dead silks pointed down to the muddy earth. Slowly, ever so slowly, the wind strengthened and changed course, and the fields swayed as a single element, rippling outward in a current of mesmerizing waves. Something hidden inside Makani lifted its head and blossomed. The sensation was sublime. Makani often complained that she was drowning in corn, but she wasn’t gasping below the water. She was perched on the edge of the horizon.
Makani was grateful that she didn’t believe in ghosts; she only believed in the ghostlike quality of painful memories. And she was sure this house had plenty.
She had to believe that the mistakes of Ollie’s past didn’t guarantee that he would make even worse mistakes in his future. She had to believe that every mistake was still a choice. She had to believe that Ollie was a good person, because she had to believe it about herself.
The summer clothes were her old clothes. In Hawaii, the warmest items she’d needed were jeans and a hoodie. Here, she’d had to ask her grandmother to buy her a coat, hat, scarf, gloves, and sweaters. They’d made a special trip to a mall in Omaha, and she’d selected everything in black. She couldn’t explain why except that when she wore it, she felt a bit more protected. A bit more hardened.
The serial killers in her imagination, the fictional centerpieces of innumerable movies and television shows, were colorful and fascinating and impossible to keep her eyes off of. But her eyes had always glossed over David. Who do you think did it? She’d looked past him, even when he’d asked her. She’d looked past him, even when he’d been sitting right in front of her.
Darby stepped in front of Alex to block her from Makani’s view. “You’re right. But I know what it’s like to be angry—to think that everyone has it easier than you. Or that everyone is against you. And if you don’t deal with those feelings, they don’t go away on their own. They keep building and building until they force their way out.”
Ollie stopped. His expression was serious. He waited to speak until she stopped, too. “Everybody has at least one moment they deeply regret, but that one moment . . . it doesn’t define all of you.”
That was it. The news rehashed the story from the top. David kept climbing into the truck, and it kept making a right turn. The killer kept going home.
David didn’t know her, but Makani knew herself. And neither of them was a monster. She was a human who had made a terrible mistake. He was a human who had planned his terrible actions.
Running away from home didn’t change the fact that a person still had to live with themselves. Makani had learned this, though perhaps her mother never had. Change came from within, over a long period of time, and with a lot of help from people who loved you. Osborne wasn’t David’s problem. For Makani, Osborne had even been restorative. Being a psychopath was David’s problem. David was David’s problem.