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You by Caroline Kepnes
“[A] beautifully crafted thriller that will give you chills.” (People magazine)
From debut author Caroline Kepnes comes You, one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Books of 2014, and a brilliant and terrifying novel for the social media age.
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.
A terrifying exploration of how vulnerable we all are to stalking and manipulation, debut author Caroline Kepnes delivers a razor-sharp novel for our hyper-connected digital age. You is a compulsively readable page-turner that’s being compared to Gone Girl, American Psycho, and Stephen King’s Misery.
Series: You #1
Length: 11 hours and 8 minutes
Narrator: Santino Fontana
When I first read about You, it was when the trailer for the TV show on Lifetime first premiered. Now, I just so happen to be a pretty big fan of Penn Badgley, so I was immediately excited to see he was acting again and knew I wanted to watch it, regardless of the premise. Then I watched the trailer, and whoo, boy, I knew I needed to watch this show. Then to discover it was based on a book? Sign me up, dude.
This book is so far beyond what I normally read, it’s not even funny. In fact, I never really used to read thrillers until I started proofreading for a woman who writes suspense/thriller romance novels (shout out to Jane Blythe!) and I realized I actually quite like the thriller genre.
Now, with that said, You is not a romance. It has romantic elements and sexual themes, but it is not a romance novel. There’s nothing romantic about a psycho stalking you and willing to kill for you because he’s “in love with you.” The only book that comes close to these themes while retaining the romantic relationship is Notice by K. Webster, but it’s no less dark and definitely not for the faint of heart. (K. has also stated she’s a big fan of this book, so I can’t help but wonder if Notice was partly inspired by this book. Hmmm … 😉 )
Anyway, back to this review …
In some ways, this book reminded me of Misery except, to be honest, I was much more riveted to this book. A lot of it had to do with the amazing way Santino Fontana presented this text while he read. He not only read the book, but he was Joe. I don’t think I’ve ever been that involved in an audiobook where I felt like I was actually listening to the character himself recount his story. It was incredible. On a scale of 1-5 for Santino, I would easily put him at a 7. He was so dang good. If I’d had any doubts about the story itself, I would’ve kept listening just to hear him read it. His voice is perfect and his inflections were perfect. I’m now a fan and can’t wait to listen to him on other audios (especially the sequel, squee!!).
Beck is extremely self-centered and insecure–two very volatile qualities to have. She seems to think the whole world should revolve around her, to the point that she ignores all the warning signs emitting from Joe and their strange relationship–until it’s too late, of course. Gah. Beck. Girl. What on earth were you thinking?!
And Joe … ugh, Joe. I hate that I find Joe–the closeted, completely unhinged psychopath–so freaking attractive. Seriously, it’s all kinds of messed up. He seems so deep–haha, just you wait–and sensitive and he’s smart. Holy crap, is he smart. And he loves books! And not only does he love them, but he loves talking about them. On the surface, Joe is exactly what any young woman who wants an intelligent, easygoing, kind, selfless boyfriend to be. And then, the longer you listen–or read–the more unsettling his narrative becomes. And the thing is, Joe flat out says the world is backward for assuming that he would be the bad guy, simply because he follows Beck everywhere and watches her through her windows.
*random vent sesh alert* Oh, and the effing windows. Who the hell has giant windows–in freaking New York, no less–WITH NO CURTAINS?!?! Does this girl want to be murdered? Does it just not bother her in the least that the whole freaking city can watch her get naked in front of her big ass windows and doing God knows what else? Is she that much of an attention whore that she doesn’t care that some creeper could be watching her–and does–constantly, as long as she feels like she’s the center of attention? Beck, honey. Put your clothes on and get yourself some curtains, girl.
I was blown away by the writing style. It’s written in the first person from Joe’s perspective and I’ve never read anything quite like this. It’s different and intriguing and I was hooked by the first chapter. I rushed out to buy the TV series tie-in copy of the book (I mean, Penn Badgley, am I right??) and I know I’ll be reading this book again. It’s too good not to. And if you’re like me and interested in psychology in any way at all, it’s a bonus to get inside the mind of the psycho and try and figure out the way he ticks.
In any event, kudos to Caroline Kepnes for writing such a phenomenal story that gets inside your head and makes you paranoid and intrigued and leaves you wanting, all at once–or is that just me? I honestly have no idea how I went this long without reading [read: listening] it, but I’m glad I finally did. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the TV show plays out! So far, they’ve done a great job and I have high hopes for the rest of the season.
If my review sounds the least bit interesting, then please give this book a read and then come back and tell me what you thought of it!