Old Reviews

Novel Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

You by Caroline Kepnes
Series: You #1 

Adult ∴ Horror > Thriller ∴ Contemporary ∴ TW: abuse, stalking
Published September 30th 2014 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Hardback ∴ 432 pages

Amazon Barnes & Noble ∴ B.A.M. ∴ Goodreads

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

I could write a 15 page anaysis on this book. Not because I loved it, but there’s so much to analyze and sift through. I mean, Joe, our stalker friend, mentions the Woody Allen movie Hannah and her Sisters more than 10 times (yeah, I counted). WHY?! I’ve seen that movie, it’s nothing special and I can’t think of any reason why he would be so obsessed with it. Beck has some severe daddy issues, and that could be another 10 pages.

For the first third of the book, I was really unsettled and every time I put the book down, I was left with an uneasy feeling. But, after a while, it was less scary and more frustrating. Joe is a typical misogynist; everything You (Beck) do that is “wrong,” Joe blames you. He tosses whore, slut, and bitch around anytime she pisses him off. He also spends most of the book complaining about his sad life and he does little to fix it. He’s a walking, murderous stalker pity party. Man, I really want to analyze this…

The thing that drew me to this book is the writing style. I’ve never read anything like it before. Kepnes writes in first and second person. You read from inside Joe’s mind, and you are the object of his obsession, Beck. That’s where I found myself to be the most uncomfortable. For a while, I felt watched, which I assume is the point. But after the first 150 pages, it got boring. I stopped seeing myself as the target and it read like any other first person narrative. I don’t know if it was because the tone never changed or I stopped being surprised.

–spoiler ahead–

I get that Kepnes tries to make Joe sympathetic, by having him only kill people who seemingly deserve it. And I agree, the people he kills suck. The druggie ex-boyfriend who barely cares about Beck, and her aggressive lesbian girlfriend who is nearly as obsessed with Beck as Joe is. I feel terrible for Beck because she’s got so many nut jobs around her, she has no one to confide in. Yeah, Beck has her own problems, but none so deplorable as the others.

I give You 3 stars, 2 because the plot got boring and it became too easy to guess what was coming next. The extra star is for the unique and creative writing, but I don’t think I’ll be reading the sequel.

Would I recommend: Yes, if you’re not a fan of true horror or you like thrillers or you like the Lifetime Movie Network. But if you’re expecting something to keep you up all night for the whole book, this isn’t is (at least not for me, it isn’t).

∴ 3* stars ∴

*for creativity

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