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You: A Novel Paperback – June 16, 2015
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"Hypnotic and scary...never read anything quite like it." (Stephen King)
“My most favorite thriller." (Lena Dunham)
"YOU is superb. So funny, apart from anything else, and properly clever. It is: different, hot." (Sophie Hannah, New York Times bestselling author of The Monogram Murders and The Other Woman's House)
"This is one of the most unsettling books I’ve read this year, but despite being thoroughly creeped out, I couldn’t put it down even for a second. It’s narrated by the villain, which makes for a rather unnerving read. I even found myself accidentally rooting for him as he was about to commit pretty heinous crimes. Whoops." (Bustle)
"An impending sense of dread hangs over Kepnes' cleverly claustrophobic debut, in which love takes on a whole new meaning...Kepnes keeps the reader guessing." (Kirkus Reviews)
“Intense and deeply disturbing, You is a dark story told in a fresh voice, and an addictive read from beginning to end. Being inside Joe Goldberg’s head was both a thrill and a nightmare, and yet I didn’t want to wake up. I look forward to more from the very talented Caroline Kepnes.” (Jennifer Hillier, author of THE BUTCHER)
“Chilling...[Kepnes' YOU] will have readers looking over their shoulders.” (Publisher's Weekly)
“A deeply dark yet mesmerizing first novel of two people caught in a romantic tangle with an ever-tightening knot.” (Booklist)
"Is Caroline Kepnes’ 'You' the next GONE GIRL? It'll take you inside a psychopath’s head... and might even make you like him. A mad and macabre love story." (TimeOut Australia)
About the Author
Caroline Kepnes is from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Her first novel You was translated into nineteen languages and shortlisted for a CWA New Blood Award. Her second novel Hidden Bodies is a sequel that Booklist describes as “the love child of Holden Caulfield and Patrick Bateman.” Caroline earned a BA in American Civilization at Brown University and worked as a pop culture journalist on Entertainment Weekly and a TV writer on 7th Heaven. She now writes full-time and lives in Los Angeles. A ten-episode TV series based on You will premiere on Lifetime Network in 2018.
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I kept waiting for Joe to realize that his approach to new relationships is creepy but with the exception of one slip of admitting to "normal up" he stands his ground that he is always right and I believe that he truly believes that. He's so convincing that I felt for him at times and had to remind myself how wrong that is. I even tried to justify the fact that Beck is a narcissistic liar with terrible friends but was she really? Or was that Joe justifying his own actions? He's very intelligent and it becomes evident early on that once he's set his sights on someone, there is no stopping him until he gets what he wants. I wanted to know what lengths he would go to. And if he achieved his goal, would he hang on to Beck or grow bored and dispose of her once the challenge of chase had ended?
The writing is beautiful and thrilling. I listened to the audiobook and found Santino Fontana's narration fantastically engaging. Each character is unique in both written and spoken word and if I had the time I would've finished the book in one sitting. I absolutely loved this story and I can't wait to see what happens in Hidden Bodies.
You is from the point of view of Joe, creepy misogynistic stalker. Of course he views himself as a completely normal guy. He realizes that people on the outside would see him as creepy and disturbed, but he dismisses it as a misunderstanding. If they knew him and his situation, they would think he was as normal as he did. The narrative creeps under your skin because he seems to have no idea how horrible he is. Everything is nonchalantly described: Joe watching his object of affection Beck in her most intimate moments dressed up in a suit across the street from her apartment; Joe following her every move when she's away from him; Joe kidnapping her current boyfriend, holding him in a cage, and sending offensive tweets so she will break up with him. While Joe idolizes and worships Beck, he's also quick to condemn her behavior if it's outside his imagining of her and act as if he has to educate her. Throughout his tale, women frequently do not figure well. He is always more knowledgeable and wise while they just need to be educated. None of the negative events in his life are ever his fault and this isn't the first time he has done this level of stalking, nor will it be the last. After a while of reading from his narrative, it's easy for his insane behavior to be normalized. When things start going well, I found myself rooting for him a little, at least until he did the next creepy thing or made a particularly offensive comment about women. I love books like this because you see right into the mind of someone who is horrible and you see how and why they justify doing the awful things they do.
The object of his affection is Beck, real name Genevieve. She isn't perfect. Actually, she's a bit of a mess. Her boyfriend is an annoying narcissist who treats her life garbage. Her best friend lies constantly and tries to separate Beck from everyone else in her life. It's a crazy random happenstance that so many horrible people are in her life. Adding Joe to the mix just pushes it over the edge. Seeing into her short stories, emails, blog entries, and text messages gave an honest view of who she was. She does things that everyone does, but hopes no one knows about: lies about what she's doing, lies to get what she wants, blows people off to spend time with other people, and talks about people behind their backs. It's a bit jarring to see so much about one person and makes me wonder what someone would think if they had that access to all of my things. I like that she isn't portrayed as perfect, no matter how much Joe wants her to be. She's just a normal girl with a whole lot of crazy people around her.
I had a few problems with the novel. It takes an extreme suspension of disbelief that Beck is some sort of crazy person magnet. She did have some fairly normal friends (who of course she always dismissed when seeking help), but the biggest figures in her life where the narcissistic boyfriend, obsessive Joe, and hypochondriac best friend. The other problem was that Joe's obsessive tendencies could have been pushed further for me. For much of the novel, he's just doing invasive things like snooping. He obviously has the capacity for more, but doesn't reach it very often. I expected the level of John Fowler's The Collector, but it fell quite a bit short. I hope the next book, Hidden Bodies, raises the creep factor to eleven. Overall You was enjoyable and well written, but a few things pushed believability and it could have been way more disturbing.