Thursday, May 24, 2018

You by Caroline Kepnes

You by Caroline Kepnes
Release Date - September 30, 2014
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  424 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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 had been on my radar for awhile. Numerous friends had recommend it to me. It was a book that sounded like it would be something I would be into. I had it sitting on my self for years but just never picked it up. This was a mistake because, the second I finished reading it, I was angry at myself for not picking it up sooner. It is what I wanted a lot of other books to be even as they could not quite deliver on the expectations I had.

This book is compulsively readable. You'll tear through this in one sitting if you have no other commitments. It's a rapidly paced read that is a character study along with a sizzling page turner. It's that blend of solid writing, characters who pop, and a plot that draws you in and keeps you engaged right until the very end. The second person narrative works incredibly well here as it reads like I imagine Joe's thoughts would. It all just came together for me in a way that ensured I couldn't stop reading this book.

Joe is exactly what the synopsis advertises. A dangerously obsessive guy who goes to the extreme when he takes an interest in someone. He calls himself a true romantic but most people would consider him a murderous stalker. This description may feel at odds with the fact that the character is also extremely charming and funny at times. His outward appearance to the world doesn't reflect the truth underneath. He is meticulously crafted so that the reader was still able to connect to him in some way.  You're equally fascinated and disgusted by him and I found that unsettling as a reader. He's the type of character you want to discuss and dissect because he's written so well.

Beck's character is mostly only shown through Joe's point of view. We get more than a few glimpses that the 'Beck' Joe sees is not who she really is. As we see a clearer picture of her we get a woman who is clearly dealing with her own issues. She admits many of them throughout the course of the novel, and it was refreshing to see a female character admit that she's not perfect. That she doesn't have it all together. That she is messed up in her own way. She sometimes uses people, keeps people around because of how they make her feel about herself, or does things she doesn't actually want to because it is easier. I wish we had gotten her voice at some points because I expect she is equally as fascinating as Joe. It reads like she is just as messed up as Joe but in a completely different way, even if the reader cannot always be sure how much of their perspective is being shaped by Joe's own.

The side characters are also just as fascinating. Beck's best friend, Beck's therapist,  the guy who works at Joe's bookshop. They all have something about them that makes them memorable. I think any of them could be fleshed out to easily become a main character of their own story. Caroline Kepnes real talent is creating characters and voice and they are both equally on display here.

Fans of everything dark and twisty will devour this one and immediately want to grab the sequel. It reads like a highly heightened cautionary tale. It hits a little closer to home because it is all to easy  to imagine someone like Joe and how easy it would be to be drawn to them. It what makes the book all the more unsettling. I highly recommend picking this one up and packing it in your beach bag this summer!

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