I have been getting more and more into thrillers over the past year (much to my surprise!) so when I repeatedly heard great reviews about You by Caroline Kepnes, it went high up on my TBR. And I am glad it did. This book is compelling and hooked me in from page one.
I read this book as a buddy read with Stephen from https://stephenwriterblog.wordpress.com. This made the experience unique, motivating and interesting, and it was enjoyable to talk about a book while reading it, changing the usually solitary process into one that was social and informative. Thank you, Stephen, for being such a great ‘buddy’!!! I also annotated my book for the first time (other than books for school or uni), which was really fun and encouraged me to consider the story in depth, and I will definitely do this again. 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.
This book consumed me; talk about a page turner! It is very cleverly written. Caroline Kepnes has done an amazing job of creating a book that is like nothing I’ve ever read before. It is captivating, shocking, and so twisted and creepy (when Stephen King reviews a book as ‘scary’ you know you’ve been warned!). Even having been given a MASSIVE spoiler by someone reviewing it on BookTube with absolutely no heads up, it kept me guessing and intrigued.
The plot follows Joe who becomes obsessed with Beck and he does all manner of things to get close to her. The tone and atmosphere are impeccable; the ownership and power in a stalker situation is portrayed so well from the very beginning, and there is drama, suspense and dark humour throughout. The intense story takes so many turns and is frighteningly plausible!
The original and inventive writing is fast paced and there is a clever and hugely effective use of sentence structure that keeps you moving quickly through the scenes. I usually find my mind wanders easily when reading, no matter how much I am enjoying the book. This was NOT the case at any point with this one! There was just no chance to do so! Admittedly, it does feel a little heavier in the middle of the book, not quite dragging but just a tad different from the otherwise extreme pace, but this does align with the plot, so trust me, keep reading! The narration is in second person, which is something I have not read much of at all, and it fits the story so well. It would not be half as chilling as it is without it. Being a part of a manipulative stalker’s thoughts is disturbing and strangely alluring!
The way you are made to feel about the characters is unexpected, unsettling and startling. Joe and Beck are complex, interesting and multidimensional characters. I did find some of the other characters and their circumstances not quite as well fleshed out, and sometimes their actions and behaviour are a bit unbelievable and hence didn’t make me feel as invested in them. This meant that some of the story did not have quite the same effect on me as it could have. This was really only a minor flaw though as they still are intriguing characters.
One element of this story that I had not become aware of when reading and watching reviews about it is that it is extremely sexual and graphic. I was literally grimacing in some parts! By the end, I felt it was very much overdone, and although it definitely added to the plot, I feel it could have done with being toned down quite a bit. This is the only reason this book did not get 5/5 stars from me. Please be warned, if you haven’t already picked up that this is a very adult book from the nature of the unsettling plot, it is also very explicit!
Overall, this book is amazing. I highly recommend it if thrillers are your thing. I am very surprised that I enjoyed this book because it just doesn’t seem like something I would read but the way it pulled me in says it all. I won’t be able to read the sequel for a while because this one was such a full on read, but it is definitely on my TBR!
I gave this book 4/5 stars.