Book Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

You by Caroline Kepnes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Atria/Emily Bestler Books

 Summary:   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.

4.5 stars! When I first ran across You, I read the summary on Netgalley (a fleeting interaction at a bookshop and our narrator Joe takes to stalking Beck and having gained access into her life, systematically bends people and situations to his will in his quest to possess her) and thought, "I have to read this!" so I requested it. I waited. I was denied. Subsequently, many a Goodreads giveaway was entered and each time, hopes dashed. No book for me. So I had to add this to the list of books for which this has happened to me (it's not overlong so no complaints here). As it happens, this book list is also the one that is my Next Most Likely to Buy or Borrow when they debut to the public reading world. So I did and I have finally got round to reading it and let me just say, this not only didn't disappoint, it exceeded my expectation. I was up all night with this one.

My prevailing thought for Beck (and others that happened into Joe's ill-fated web) throughout:

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By page 25 the case had been made for everyone having window treatments at home. The totality of the book has made the case for ebook purchase to avoid any chance of running into such a clerk at a bookshop (I jest! I love bookshops!) and may just be the biggest cautionary tale of posting our lives on the internet ever (heaven help, Chet & Rose if Joe ever takes more of a liking to them or finds some sort of personal offence in one of their online postings about their lives). Before page 100 I was sure that there was no way Beck would survive Joe. I was sure that his aforementioned prior girlfriend, Candace was long dead. I was pretty sure her brother was dead too and both were packed up tidily amongst the boxes of books in temperature controlled bookstore sub-basement.Beck also taught a valuable lesson in survival, when one finds the knicker stash, get out of the house. No confrontation of the knicker thief is necessary because no one can walk that back and make it okay. Just, dial the police and run. I wasn't correct about everything and up to the penultimate chapter, I still held hope for someone, anyone, to get out of this and come out on the otherside victorious that wasn't named Joe.

I've not spent this much time in the head of a character who was so angry and also lonely in quite some time (not even in the many other unreliable narrators I've come upon in the last few years). Joe was disturbing and sad and there were moments where I almost thought I wanted good things for him to happen and for him to be better. He had some insights that would stop me and I'd think it was a beautiful thought and a hopeful moment. For example, my favorite quote of the story: “And I will never again underestimate the power of anticipation. There is no better boost in the present than an invitation into the future.” 

But then I'd quickly remind myself of what he's done and what he's doing and what he'll likely do next and that pulled me back to remembering he's, most importantly, in this headspace (and actually in some ways has out Patrick Bateman-ed, Patrick Bateman):

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 While reading this I learnt that Showtime has optioned this for a series. I'll have to watch for that one. Also, there's a sequel to You coming this autumn called Love. I will be requesting it and if I'm denied, I'll be all about buying or borrowing it when I can. Definitely a favorite read.

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