- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Lenny; First Edition edition (June 19, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399591435
- ISBN-13: 978-0399591433
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 184 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Providence: A Novel Hardcover – June 19, 2018
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“A dark beauty of a book, Providence kept me up at night with characters that made my heart a little bigger.”—Jessica Knoll, New York Times bestselling author of Luckiest Girl Alive
“Part love story, part supernatural thriller and completely engrossing.”—People
“Providence is a novel that doesn’t fit into one box—it’s tender and dark, eerie and cool, heartbreaking but also an affirmation of the power of love. Kepnes perfectly captures each character’s struggle and pain in such a unique, unconventional way that every page—every sentence—is a delightful surprise.”—Sara Shepard, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars
“Caroline Kepnes is cool right this minute. . . . [Providence is] terrifically conceived and executed. . . . Kepnes has an exhilarating, poppy, unexpected voice.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A fascinating genre-bending novel you won't be able to put down . . . A beautifully crafted narrative that deftly combines a sweet coming-of-age love story with elements of Lovecraftian horror and supernatural suspense, Providence is Kepnes at her best. A rich novel brimming with as much heartfelt emotion as genuine thrills, it will keep readers flipping the pages at a rapid pace, searching for answers to their own questions about love, truth, connection, and what it means to be human.”—Bustle
“An addictive horror-tinged romance that’ll keep you guessing.”—Entertainment Weekly
“This is a love story, but not your traditional type of love story. . . . Providence is a mysterious supernatural love story that blends genres with ease. What more could you want from a summer read?”—HelloGiggles
“A modern-day retelling of H.P. Lovecraft’s horror tale ‘The Dunwich Horror’ . . . An emo-monster story.”—Time
“[Providence] is equal parts love story, thriller, and horror tale. . . . Kepnes, whose previous novels deftly dealt with obsessive love, changes gears here and injects into this ‘Beauty and the Beast’-like story a deeper allegory about how far we'll go to protect the things we love the most.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[An] engrossing supernatural thriller . . . Kepnes provides readers with a spellbinding examination of what keeps people human.”—Publishers Weekly
“The infinite talent of Caroline Kepnes shines through every page of this extraordinary tale. Providence is sure to be one of the best thrillers of the year.”—Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl
“An artist, a mutated vigilante, a charming hunter, a sickly detective, and a literary lunatic: Caroline Kepnes brings them together in this propulsive and original story. It kept me up at night, scared and thinking.”—E. Lockhart, New York Times bestselling author of Genuine Fraud and We Were Liars
“There is something for every reader in these pages—thrills, chills, and a complex love story. Kepnes is a writer to add to your must-read pile.”—Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of I Know a Secret
About the Author
Caroline Kepnes is the author of You and Hidden Bodies. She has worked as a pop-culture journalist for Entertainment Weekly and as a TV writer on 7th Heaven and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, she now lives in Los Angeles.
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I must admit, I was a little reluctant to read this book. I’m not a sci-fi fan. I like books I can relate to, and supernatural qualities are often unrelatable. Unless I’m smack dab in the middle of watching a Marvel movie, I shrug off the idea of super powers. A web can’t stop a train from crashing, a root can’t defuse a bomb, and a hammer can’t crush a building with one swing. It’s unrealistic to the point of being ridiculous. (Sorry, Marvel fans! I know, I know…you’re booing me right about now.)
But that’s what’s so great about this book. Caroline creates an environment that is unlikely and makes it completely believable. Once you’re immersed in the story, you find that you’re less focused on the supernatural element and more focused on the brokenness of the characters and their unjust circumstances. It becomes a matter of who instead of a matter of how.
Let’s talk about the main character, Jon Bronson. On the surface, he is a villain or—as he refers to himself many times—a “monster.” He harms people and, at times, he feels no regret. You should dislike him because of what he does, but you find yourself sympathizing with him because of who he is. Sound familiar?
If you’ve read Caroline’s first book, You, then you’re very familiar with its main character, Joe Goldberg. Like Jon, Joe is also a villain. He harms people too, and he seldom regrets his actions. And yet, villain or not, you find the guy endearing. Some would even say they’d want to be BFFs with him (ahem, ME).
Reading about Jon made me think about Joe. But aside from their three-letter, three-syllable names and “monsterlike” qualities, the comparison pretty much stops there. While there is a similar cadence in the books—story-wise, Providence is a very different book.
One of the ways Providence is different is its manipulation of time. The novel spans many years. In that time, settings change and most characters evolve. There’s a real sense of “growing up”…or not. You see that some people mature while others remain stagnant. Some people deteriorate while others flourish.
Now, I know you’re all wondering about the ending, and without giving much away, I will say, I had some questions at the end of this book. My thoughts went like this: “Wouldn’t they have [something spoilerish]?” “Why didn’t they [something equally spoilerish]?” “Do they end up [MAJORLY SPOILERISH]?” Some readers have docked the book a star or two because of these questions, but I honestly love novels that leave you guessing. I don’t want everything tied up in a perfect little bow. The fact that Caroline left a few things up to interpretation says (to me) that she trusts her readers. She thinks we’re intelligent, that we can handle the mystery. This just makes me respect her more.
My advice to you, should you decide to read this book (and you really, really should) is to go into it with an open mind. Don’t think, “This won’t be my cup of tea.” Don’t think, “I loved You, so I know I’ll love this book.” Don’t think, “All villains deserve to die” (okay, maybe that one’s a bit harsh). DO think, “I want to escape,” “I want to be entertained,” “I want to read something different,” “I want to use my imagination.” If you can do these things, then you’ll love this book as much as I do.
After reading YOU and Hidden Bodies earlier this year and falling madly in love with Caroline Kepnes' writing style, you can imagine how eager I was to read Providence by Caroline Kepnes. Now, Providence is not a 'Joe & Beck' story, let's just clarify that straight away. YOU and Hidden Bodies are the Joe & Beck stories and if you haven't read those two books, I highly recommend them (You is my favorite of the two-I have Goodreads reviews for both)
Providence is a 'Jon & Chloe' story.
The magical things that Kepnes does so well as an author are the best things about this book. Caroline has this casual, accessible, and compelling way of storytelling that is immediately captivating. The pages fly by as the "movie" begins to play in your mind.
She also builds characters that are like flesh and blood people and she stages the interactions between them with so much realism, I forget that I'm reading a piece of fiction. Dialog exchanges sound like real life conversations-the way people really talk and the characters open up like flowers to the reader with their steady streams of inner mind-chat.
The story here was so totally original, I found myself not finding an easy place to drop the bookmark at bedtime...each chapter was an invitation to keep reading.
This story is equal parts love story/romance, supernatural sci-fi and maybe even some mystery/hardboiled detective threads. I would not say this is horror at all, as some were suggesting.
But genre aside, this book is entertaining on so many levels and Caroline's writing is so engaging, I can't imagine a reader that wouldn't be interested in this book. Seriously, there's something for everyone here.
My only real complaint would be that this book checked all the boxes for me except one: Teeth.
I felt myself hoping that the story would eventually leap off the page and land in some really dark territory--there was some opportunity with the antagonist where I felt like I needed a little bit more from that part of the story. I wanted more motive there. But that's my only real complaint, the edge of the knife was a bit dull but other than that--everything about this story was speaking my language.
Mad love for Caroline Kepnes. She an insta-buy author.
I've read a lot of bad reviews of this book. But most of those people say "this is no Joe" or "didn't live up to YOU". Well, stop comparing that book and one! This is a completely different book.
This book held my attention from the beginning. It was interesting. It was emotional. It was quirky.
I like my books to have messy bits where everything isn't tied up perfectly in a bow for me. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone so that's all I can really say.
But if you enjoy friendship to love stories, Lovecraft, young adult, crime fiction, thrillers, books where people nail married life and some of the hard truths of it, or super-power having people....buy this book! It's worth it!