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You: A Novel (1) (The You Series) Paperback – June 16, 2015
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“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
"Chilling...unrelenting." ― USAToday.com
“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
- Item Weight : 12 ounces
- Paperback : 448 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781476785608
- ISBN-13 : 978-1476785608
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 1.2 x 8.25 inches
- Publisher : Atria/Emily Bestler Books; Reprint edition (June 16, 2015)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 1476785600
- Best Sellers Rank: #8,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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It's twisted and messed up! For some, it may be hard to follow. I will tell you why... First, the writing style isn't what your normal reader is used to. It truly takes talent to write an entire book in second-person. With the second-person writing comes the pop culture aspect. Caroline uses so many pop culture references, I even didn't get all of them. And I am pretty sure I should have. Then you have the mental state of the main characters.
Joe, is obviously disturbed. I spent a greater part of the book trying to diagnose him. He is so messed up in the head. However, Beck doesn't really have all of her screws either. After all, she becomes close with her stalker... And in some ways, once she realizes he has been stalking her, she seems half okay with it.
This book is a journey with an ending. I say it that way for a reason. It's not necessarily happy or sad or earth shattering.
If I had to categorize this book, it would be in the MUST READ MESSED UP book category. Since that category only exists in my head, I would say it's part new adult and part psychological thriller. I read this book about a month ago, and I still find myself daydreaming about it with the confused head tilt. No lie!
The first half of this book is tedious, almost to the point of wanting to stop reading. But the second half picks up and makes this a worthwhile read. The ending was predictable, with a slight twist that made it satisfying.
Since the main character works in a bookstore, there are several references to various well-known novels, as one might expect. This is a bit overdone, in my opinion, and felt more like the author trying to impress with her literary knowledge.
What this novel lacked, was the tension or edge of your seat page turning that makes for a great mystery/suspense novel. The “praises” this book has received made my expectation high, only to find, it does not deliver.
This one gets three stars, as it is an okay read, just not a great one.
Joe is just a normal guy living a normal life in NY. He is the epitome of an "average Joe" , but with better looks ;)
He works at and bookstore and is obviously very well read. He never graduated from college so that apparently puts him behind his peers. But what he lacks in an education he makes up for in his inner dialogue. He is witty and smart and knows his way around just about anything. Including finagling his way into Beck's life, which isn't easy with all the outside sources (her friends and somewhat boyfriend).
The side characters were just as important as the main characters and the tone of the story is what kept me coming back for more. It's not crazy slash 'em 80's horror. It's a psychological thriller that makes you think. That makes you look at the inner part of everyone's thought process and what they do with their life. The difference is, that Joe thinks what he does is bettering the world. Almost like Dexter in some ways. He rids the world of people that dirty those around them.
But "reading" this book by audio was completely different than turning the pages. Santino Fontana just nailed his performance of Joe. The way he captured Joe as normal yet with a huge side of crazy was perfection. He was the guy you could count on and think nothing of it. He wasn't crazy, he wasn't psychotic. He was Just Joe. But Santino has a way of reading into each character and making you believe he IS Joe.
Fantastic job to him and to Ms Kepnes for making us believe that all is normal in NY. :) Can't wait for more!
Top reviews from other countries
The characters are all unlikable, they're all pretentious and sadistic/masochistic, etc. Beck was the worst. She was a complete attention-ho, a miserable, slobby cow and how anyone found her attractive is beyond me. Her personality made her ugly, her mood swings made me to loathe her. She was actually quite psychotic, come to think of it. Joe wasn't much better. He wasn't quite right in the head, extremely obsessive and full of himself. I loathed them both; they were just as bad as each other.
Joe’s literary pretentiousness is embarrassingly banal, and his self-indulgent narrative soon becomes boring,
The whole way through this book, it incredibly repetitive which is something I really don't like in a book; it truly gave me a headache.
What I did like?
Well, let's see. I liked the WAY it was written, it eventually became quite gripping to read though still headache inducing. I liked the use of the word 'everythingship'. Honestly, it's a great word and these characters were definitely made for each other; they're obsessive personalities are a true tinder match.
I also liked the suspense, though sometimes it was dragged out a little too long. I actually loved the references to different books and movie, though most I've never read myself, I found I enjoyed that.
The author's writing style is quite exceptional and her imagination is pretty wild. She wrote the unthinkable yet the believable.
But, overall, this was nothing to rave about. The series? AMAZING. I'm really glad I watched the series first. I liked that they changed a lot of it and omitted A LOT of things out.
Good, but not great. Okay, but not amazing. I wouldn't recommend reading the book.
Joe works in a bookshop and when Guinevere (is there a better name for a damsel-going-to-be-in-distress?) walks in and his world spins on its axis. He sets out to be a loving boyfriend for her. The chess moves that take place in order to make Joe's desires come true are fascinating as he oscillates between being there for Guinevere and being unavailable to her to strengthen her attraction to him.
I thoroughly enjoyed this read, Kepnes is a very skillful writer and nothing in this book came off as incongruous or hokey. Looking forward to reading more of her work.
Joe - is it wrong that I loved him at times? That I felt like he was almost right at times? He was funny and the way his thought process was written was addictive. You almost judged Beck for not wanting him more.
It shows just how messy life is and how luck and small changes can set things up so differently.
In a very strange kind of way I wanted Joe to be happy and I wanted him to truly find love. Beck wasn’t a good person but then you’re only ever seeing her from his perspective and his perspective on people change as to what suits his narrative.
Absolutely smashing story and so creatively written. I might have a new favourite author!
Telling the story from this point of view, for me, was unusual and something I've never come across before. Although I felt it had a slow start and I didn't find it the easiest book to read, this made it an intriguing and interesting story which in the end kept me turning the pages. And, if I'm completely honest, I didn't expect it to end the way it did. I'll certainly be reading more by this author.
So, I only discovered this book because of the Netflix show. Usually I like to read the book first, but I’d just finished the show when I saw the ebook was on sale, so I snagged a copy. Having watched the tv adaptation meant that I was constantly reading YOU through the lens of the show. I was constantly comparing, noting the similarities and differences, examining how the different mediums added—and detracted—from the story. Therefore, this review is going to contain a lot of comparisons between the story in both mediums, as I can’t really review the book without comparing it to the show, given the complex narrative style that is present in both. I also believe my reading of the book was informed greatly by prior knowledge of the show, so as I was reading it with the show in my mind, I feel my review should reflect this.
From watching the show, I hadn’t expected the narrative voice of the book to be as strong—you’ve got a voice over in the majority of the scenes in the show—and I was curious as to how the book would portray Joe’s commentary. I’d even doubted whether it could portray it to such a powerful extent, but I was wrong. How’s commentary was stronger in the book than a show. I recognised many of the same lines which was a delight, but whereas Joe’s voiceovers in the show were added to scenes and we still saw the action, in the book, it pretty much feels like absolutely everything is given to use through Joe’s direct address commentary where he talks in his head to Beck, and recounts her dialogue and their conversations amid this internal monologuing. It’s almost exhausting to read.
Joe is a truly fascinating character. He’s cold, ruthless, a murderer, stalker, and a psychopath, yet he justifies all his actions to us in his narration. He’s strangely likeable and there was something disturbingly alluring in reading his narrative. His voice just grabs you and keeps you reading as you wonder just how far he’ll go to pursue Beck.
Unlike the show, the book tells us early on that Joe has murdered before he meets Beck. (Spoiler ahead—skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want to read it.) Whereas the show reveals Candice is alive, the book tells us early on that Joe murdered her when she broke up with him. Knowing how dangerous Joe is, right from the start, really heightens the tension and makes us concerned for Beck.
Beck, the female MC, is just as interesting in the book as she is in the show. She’s a writer, she’s lost, she sleeps around, she’s insecure and looking for validation, she has huge ambitions. Yet, with the book however, I found her slightly harder to picture, in that she didn’t feel as “true and real”. By that I mean, her characterisation is still strong and well written, but we see her only through Joe’s eyes in the book, rather than the more omniscient point of view in the show. This meant for me that I found it slightly harder to root for Beck as a character when reading her; I didn’t feel like I really knew her, and this was only added to by the use of direct address—Joe constantly refers to her as “you”. This book is his love letter to Beck, and he writes it as an explanation of why he (spoiler alert!) murdered her. This narrative voice means there’s distance between the reader and Beck, and I firmly believe that’s the author’s intention as where our connection to Beck lacks, our bond with Joe strengthens.
The show had many added characters—such as the boy who lives next door to Joe—and the book had equally many characters who didn’t appear in the show. Or who appear in a different way. Whereas Ethan is a permanent fixture in the bookshop in the show, he’s only in the book from about the 50% mark onward. But I was glad to see the book still has his romance with Blythe. She was definitely one of the most interesting characters in the show, and her personality and voice is portrayed beautifully in the text too, despite seeing it all through Joe (who predominantly only hears of her from Beck). It’s definitely a framed narrative/Chinese Box kind of story with Blythe, and I loved how this raised questions of reliability. In the book, do we ever know the true Blythe as nearly everything we learn of her is told to us via Joe who has his own agenda and biases?
Both the book and the show deliver a harrowing warning about social media, a story of stalking and murder (which I found myself also comparing to the narrative in A LONG FATAL LOVE CHASE by Louisa May Alcott, which begins and ends in the same way), and warns readers beautifully that you can never know the true thoughts of someone around you. This is a story of lies and deceit, of passion and insanity, of love and murder. There’s also *a lot* of sex in the book. A lot more than the show.
YOU is a complex story, beautifully written, and I’ve never read anything like it before. But I believe that I only enjoyed it as much as I did because I had the context of the show as background. I already had a framework to map this story onto as I read. And given how unique it’s narrative style is, this helped immensely. I’m sure if I’d come to the book first, I’d have felt lost and not quite sure what was happening at several points.