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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)
"Could be the next GONE GIRL...a perverse suspense romance about obsession, sex, and secrets." (PopSugar.com)
“All-consuming – a book that will not release its hold on you, even when you are not actively reading it.” (BoloBooks.com)
“You…had the page-turning quality of classic (Stephen) King at his peak.” (The Devil's Advocate)
“Kepnes’debut novel is gripping in both substance and style.” (Closer Magazine)
“You is a deliciously terrifying stalker tale that grabbed hold of me on page one and kept me captivated right until the very end…Utterly unputdownable.” (Kathryn's Inbox)
“If you like twisted psychological horror with a liberal dose of hip and more than a dollop of perversion, this one’s for you!” (Pages Podcast)
“If you liked GONE GIRL’S portrayal of a marriage in decline, the demented love story at the heart of YOU will have you gripped….This book will give you Stockholm syndrome." (Harpers Bazaar (UK))
“You by Caroline Kepnes completely blew me away…It’s an exceptional thriller that is chillingly passionate, dangerous, and quite often left me speechless.” (The Book Ramblings)
"Both original and compelling. If you only read one new thriller this year, make it this one. It will stay with you long after you have put it down." (Geoffrey Wansell Daily Mail (UK))
"A brilliant tale of obsessive love...it's GONE GIRL meets a sinister version of GIRLS." (Marie Claire (UK))
"You think you know the story: girl meets boy, boy turns out to be a murderous stalker. US journalist Kepnes' debut is a fantastically creepy thriller...the kind of book you put your life on hold for." (Glamour)
"A page turner...clever and chilling." (Elle (UK))
"This book is dark, disturbing, twisted, erotic, psychotic...just try to put it down. Fans of...Gillian Flynn will love this book." (MomAdvice.com)
“You is the kind of book you will read whenever you have a spare moment. It is the book you will not be able to put down, and once you finish, you will want to start over again.” (Huffpost Books)
"I was immediately hooked—and read it in a matter of hours. Could. Not. Stop." (Buzzfeed, "37 Books with Plot Twists that Will Blow Your Mind")
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Top Customer Reviews
Other readers have written better and more detailed reviews of this book than my own, and they've included plot specifics, which I haven't touched upon. They've also called the book "creepy" and I suppose it is. But when they say it is slanted for the young twenty-ish readers, I have to say that this grandmother (me) really LOVED this book. According to the top of my page, I "purchased this book on 11/17/2014," and here it is, two days later on the 19th and I'm writing a review, so I'd have say this is a fast and engrossing read. And the BEST news came at the end: There is a sequel called "LOVE" coming out next year, Fall 2015.
You is written in second person, with Joe Goldberg describing his obsession and growing relationship with Guinevere Beck. I am not typically a fan of second person narration. However, the device was used well in this book. It took a couple chapters to get used to, but after that, I thought it was great. It really made Joe's menacing tone come out strongly. The writing itself was smooth and very nearly flawless. The book was so easy to fall into and I never wanted to leave the atmosphere that Caroline Kepnes created. It was just that good. The pacing was perfect, making the novel move just fast enough that I never got bored. Her characterization was probably her strongest point, though.
Joe is a fascinating character. He is charismatic and uses a lot of humor. I found myself laughing out loud at certain parts of this book. He makes observations about the culture of young adults today that I found very accurate and relatable. Joe is a terrible person. But Kepnes writes him in such a way that it's easy to forget he's a monster, and instead the reader starts to almost care about him and root for him to succeed. He has a very strange moral landscape. At one point, he says he would never, ever hurt a deaf man, but he has no issue sitting outside of Beck's window every night. What I liked about him was that he wasn't purely evil. Many villains, especially in stalker books, are just flat out bad guys. They are scary, horrible, and don't show any other dimensions. Instead, they just seem like these dominant, strong characters. Joe isn't quite like that. We see him at many different levels in the novel. Sometimes he is powerful and scary, but then you see him falter. He cries multiple times and shows emotional depth. He is not 100% bad and Kepnes allows his weaknesses to show. I thought this was a nice touch. I wish there was a little bit more of a backstory about his childhood, though.
I hated Beck. She is a well-written character, but completely unlikeable. She is so wishy-washy and treats everyone terrible. She fears commitment and is wholeheartedly self-centered. I feel like she was a good victim though, for the sake of the novel. Had Joe been stalking a sweet, nice girl, it would have been easier for the readers to sympathize with her. I didn't care what happened to Beck. She treated everyone so poorly that I was fine with whatever Joe did to her. Most of the side characters were also unlikable (Benji and Peach). Ethan was sweet, though, and I was intrigued about Mooney. I hope we get to see more of the latter two in the sequel.
My one issue with this book is that it's a little predictable. I wasn't really surprised by anything. The middle of the book also gets a little tiresome. There is a lot of back and forth, with Joe almost getting with Beck, her pushing him away, him getting closer, and then her backing off again. Although, I suppose this is kinda similar to how relationships work nowadays, especially with modern technology. There are many times people almost date, don't, and so on, until they finally get together. So it wasn't unrealistic, just a little rigorous to read (but never boring! I loved being in Joe's head so much that I was never uninterested in what he had to say).
The last quarter of the book was the best, for me. I liked Karen Minty and felt bad for how Joe treated her. I liked how the novel ended and I can't wait to pick up the sequel (I am curious to see how Kepnes handles it, without making it too similar to You). This novel really is good. It held my attention the entire time. I feel like some people won't like it, just because of how dark and disturbing it is. It is not a light read, at all. Joe does a lot of bad stuff, and in order to enjoy the novel, you have to be okay with reading about him doing these things, without many consequences. Another complaint I've seen on reviews is about the pop culture references. Those didn't bother me at all. In many novels, the author inserts a lot of pretentious references and it drives me crazy. Joe brings up a lot of books and movies, but hardly ever in a "hey, I'm better than you for knowing these things!" way. He also works in a book store, so it seems reasonable that he mentions books frequently. I even appreciated some of his opinions on them.
I really enjoyed this book. It isn't perfect and it's not for everyone, but I liked it a lot. If it sounds interesting to you, I would definitely recommend it. There are not very many other novels out there written entirely from the POV of a stalker.
However there are a couple of things that keep the rating from being higher. One is that it is too long. Over four hundred pages. This is a problem from two angles. One is that the narrational perspective is wearying at that length. Two is that it just doesn't need to be that long. The narrator gets wearying too, as compelling as he is. I just felt like the narrative was belabored at times, and whole blocks could be cut out.
The other is that if you're at all a thinking person, who ponders the logic of things, and especially the logic of certain crimes, the novel totally fails. It is not at all a successful crime novel, and if you're going to put crimes in your novel, you need to be creating a crime and an aftermath that is actually believable. You can't just put the crimes in there as plot points and expect the audience to nod along. This book has been compared to Gone, Girl but Flynn actually takes great pains there to legitimize everything, and make her story hold water. The only way the protagonist of You could accomplish his crimes and remain free is for basic police work as well as forensic science to cease to exist.
1) Coroners can actually tell if a person was strangled to death before they were dumped in the ocean. It's not even hard. 2) The idea that you could just go out to Brighton Beach or some beach around NY, set a body on fire, and burn it to bone fragments and ashes is kind of ludicrous. 3) If a woman has been brutally strangled after a rough physical fight with someone she's also recently had sex with, forensic evidence will be found. When that evidence is matched to the current bf/spouse (who is also the most likely suspect anyway, as any rookie cop knows), I can tell you what will NOT happen. What will NOT happen is the conviction of the woman's other lover. That is also highly ludicrous. Obviously it's important for the author's main theme for the protagonist to get away with it. But if you can't make it believable, that's worthless. One other silly thing the author wants us to take for granted, which is even less believable: that a mother who pays for her daughter's phone bill won't ever figure out that her daughter's phone was stolen, and her daughter has gotten a new phone. WTF? I realize it's imperative for the author's purposes for the protagonist to have his victim's phone, but seriously! That requires we believe that this mother, who pays the phone bill, does not ring up or text or leave a phone message for her daughter for months on end! The daughter doesn't call her mother either! For months? You can't get a new phone and keep your old phone number unless that old phone is rendered unserviceable. Again, ludicrous.
The author should not write any more books where anyone commits a serious crime and gets away with it, because obviously she can't handle that. If she sticks to just creating her characters and their non-criminal plotline, her next novel will be much better, because she's whizbang at that. We don't need the protagonist to get away with murder for him to be scary. We really don't. What would have been a much richer theme would have been to present Joe using technology to mold himself to the desires of his victim, knowing what she seems to want and to like, all the time remaining a hollow to himself and to her.
Now that's REALLY scary.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book however was super tedious to read and somewhat annoying.Read more