Author: Caroline Kepnes
Page Count: 422 pages
Genre: Adult Contemporary, Thriller, Fiction
Blurb as on Goodreads:
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.
From what I’d heard about this book before picking it up – and I had heard a LOT – I was expecting this to be the creepiest read ever, like a single-icy-cold-finger-sliding-down-your-spine-in-an-empty-room kind of creepy. It’s not my usual kind of read but I was intrigued by the premise. And when I saw the trailer for the Netflix show, I was beyond excited!
I really wanted to watch Dan from Gossip Girl in such an intense and dark show but being the reader that I am, I wanted to read the book before I watched the show but couldn’t find a copy available around me, so I waited.
Then, the show released on Netflix and I couldn’t resist. I watched the first two episodes back to back. And then I stopped.
It was SO good! There was just something about the way the main character talks to you as if you’re the one he’s talking about and also talking to, sharing his observations and thoughts so bluntly – I found it thoroughly amusing and intriguing, wanting to know what will happen next. But I also knew that if I didn’t read the book first, I never would.
I also wanted to know if the overall tone and feel were limited to the adaptation or if the book read like this too – creepy and dark with a touch of humor, like perpetual amusement – so I finally got the audiobook.
And it was SO entertaining and dark and intense, but I found myself laughing out loud quite a bit and that rarely ever happens. The most a book can get out of me is maybe a few nods and smiles.
‘You’ was the second book I finished in December and my last read of 2018 and I raced through it in less than a day. I could NOT stop reading this book, I just couldn’t. Right from the start, the narration gripped me. An 11-hour long audiobook and it took me about 6, maybe 7 hours to listen to it all in mostly one sitting.
We follow a guy named Joe who manages a bookstore in New York. One day, he meets an aspiring writer and they hit it off right from the get-go. Soon, he is fascinated by her and gradually becomes obsessed and wants to get to know her, love her, and is willing to do anything to make his way into her life and her heart – to make her his – no matter what it takes, even murder.
I only had a couple of issues with it – the first was the explicit language used throughout the book – it took me some time to get used to it and not cringe every time the main character was being so graphic. It’s just not the kind of language I’m used to reading/hearing at all. I suppose it’s just a personal thing for me, a lot of people might not find such language unusual.
The second thing, which could have been a problem for me if I had read this book years ago and didn’t know that there would be a sequel, is that the main character seemed to be quite lucky. Not all the time, but he seemed to be getting away with just about everything, no consequences for what he was doing. He was smart, manipulative, always finding a way out of every situation even when things went wrong and not according to his plan, and I just wanted to see him get a taste of his own medicine (almost as much as I wanted Dolores Umbridge to suffer in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix).
Joe is such a fascinating and incredibly complex character and narrator – like I was in his head but also looking at the big picture and I still couldn’t quite figure how and why he does what he does. He seemed to have the best of intentions at heart and yet the way he carried out those intentions under such delusions of righteousness was unbelievable. He would even, at times, judge others for their wrongdoings and not even realize that he was guilty of the same. That was just so funny to me.
There isn’t much of a resolution at the end so I’m glad there is a sequel because I need more. I remember how much I hated Gone Girl (another book that hooked me from the start and kept me reading even though I was terrified throughout) for the ending because there was no justice served, everything just seemed off-balance and unfair. It left me filled with dread instead of hope. But I’m hoping the sequel to ‘You’ will provide some answers and maybe the consequences will catch up with the actions.
Overall, I liked this book. It’s very different from anything I’ve read before but I really enjoyed it even though I wasn’t sure I would. The characters are all pretty twisted and troubled and the story isn’t as simple as one might expect. I was frequently yelling at the characters in the book (and the show) to make the right choice, to not do this or that, to be careful – not that they could hear me. Haha.
I didn’t find it super creepy like most people seem to, or just not only creepy, I also found it darkly amusing (did I say that already?) and I had chills racing up and down my spine at times. Other times, my face hurt from grinning so hard. All in all, it was a good read and a great adaptation even though they modified some of the subplots and the storyline.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.25
Hey guys! Sorry if this was too long or didn’t make much sense. This is not my usual style of reviews but I had a lot to say and I couldn’t make it conform to the usual structure.
Have you read You by Caroline Kepnes or watched the Netflix show yet? How did you like it? Are you planning to watch/read You? Let me know in the comments below!