Friday, September 10, 2021

Book Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

Title: You (You #1)
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 424
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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.

A terrifying exploration of how vulnerable we all are to stalking and manipulation, debut author Caroline Kepnes delivers a razor-sharp novel for our hyper-connected digital age.

Last year, my husband and I started the show “You” but we only made it through the first season. We couldn’t go any further. Since I’ve become a fan of thrillers, I decided to read You by Caroline Kepnes. I don’t know what was more disturbing: watching the show, reading the words, or listening to the audiobook. This book was disturbing on SO many levels. And yet, I still rate it 5 out of 5.

Joe works at a bookstore and one day, he has a customer named Guinevere Beck. He found her attractive and to him, her smile, laughter, and banter meant she was flirting with him and since she paid by credit card, of course she wanted him to see her name and look her up online later. This encounter quickly spins into an obsession Joe develops for Beck. He stalks her and he even starts to control her life without her being the wiser.

Firstly, this is book is an excellent honey pot for ruling our future romantic and platonic relationships. Any person who finds Joe romantic is a walking red flag.

Secondly, as crazy, manipulative, and psycho as Joe was, there was some beautiful prose in his narration. One of my favorite quotes from the book is “You grow through love. You don’t postpone love until you stop growing.” Some pieces of his narration were just enough to ALMOST make you feel bad for him but it never quite reaches that point.

Thirdly, this book is a huge statement on living in the digital age. It’s scary how easy it can be for someone to stalk you. This book made me want to lock down every social media site I have and change all of my email passwords.

I love that this book was written by a woman. If I’m being honest, I would have never touched it or watched the show had it been written by a man. I would have felt even more gross if it had been. I don’t know if I’ll read the next book in this series, but I know I’ll never, ever, EVER forget You.