Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

Title: You
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Genre: Thriller, Contemporary
Release date: September 25th, 2014

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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.

You is a book that creeps up on you. You don’t want to have fun reading a stalker’s story, but you do. You don’t want to side with him or agree with him, but sometimes you find yourself doing just that. This novel is creepy, funny and psychological. The narration in second person is perfect for such a unique novel and the flawed complex characters will make you think twice about what you do on social media and  what people are hiding underneath the surface.

The characters of this novel are all truly flawed. Joe, the stalker, is a fantastic narrator. Even though I hated him and everything he did. I loved reading his perspective on things and getting to know how he saw the world, which we can see through his constant references to pop culture. It’s so strange how this novel plays with you. Joe almost makes you believe that everything he does has a rational explanation, that he is good. Of course, we know that’s not the case. Once, I realized I was rooting for him not to get caught and I had to stop and reconsider what was going on!

Work in a bookstore and learn that most people in this world feel guilty about being who they are.

Beck, the victim of Joe’s infatuation, is no saint. I appreciated how the novel veered from making her a naive goody two-shoes. She’s careless, selfish, and narcissistic. This way, it plays with the infamous notion that the victim is to blame, which we know it’s not true. I found Beck’s characterization to be a very smart way to mess with the reader’s head. The same can be said of the rest of the characters.

This book really focuses on the worst in people, which is why it’s so creepy. We start thinking about what our friends say behind our backs, what are people’s true intentions, and what lies people tell us on a daily basis. Despite dealing with disturbing themes, Joe’s comments definitely lighten up the mood.

“I own every book Stephen King has ever written.”
“That’s great. That’s something to be proud of.”
But did you read them, fuckface?

It’s a character driven story, but the plot has you on the edge of the seat, turning page after page to see what Joe’s up to. There were moments where it dragged a little because Joe’s monologues became repetitive toward the end, but I still never wanted to stop reading. His language also bothered me a little, but I think that was the point. He was very composed one moment, then he started being very crude.

I’ve read reviews and comments that say that if you enjoy this book, it means you’d like being stalked by someone or have someone’s attention in the way Beck has Joe’s. To that I have to say: Of course not! That’s a very narrow-minded way to see it. The fact that I enjoyed this book doesn’t mean I condone what the characters do or say in it. It’s actually quite the opposite. This book criticizes stalking, manipulation, and idealizing people in a way that I found very clever.

You should own what you love, it’s that simple.

So, this is not a book where you are going to fall in love with the characters, but you’ll want to know about them anyhow. Joe’s social commentary and the plot work seamlessly together to bring a perfect pyschological thriller come to life.

12 thoughts on “Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

  1. Great review.I enjoyed reading this book and the second one in the series,Hidden Bodies and I also disagree with that notion that people who liked the book are into being stalked:-( Kepnes did a great job in the character development especially for Joe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review, Esther! I’m so glad you enjoyed this! I loved the internal conflict I was having whilst was reading this. I also loved that Beck wasn’t a stereotypical victim. I can’t believe people have said if you liked this then you’d want to be stalked…? That is so narrow minded and they completely missed the point of the story. Caroline Kepnes did a brilliant job with the psychology of everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so glad you liked this book! I loved it, Joe Goldberg’s character was spot on! It was so cool how the Author put you in his mind. I also loved Beck’s character. She was so different, and it worked really well. Great review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you ❤ Yes, it was very well done! I couldn't understand how it was going to work until I read it and it clicked. The second person was a fantastic choice, it helped a lot. I disliked every single character in this book, but I sort of loved reading about them anyway, which is hard to explain :P. Especially Peach, she was so manipulative and pretentious, but still so entertaining.


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