Author: Caroline Kepnes
Published by: Simon & Schuster
My Rating ★★★★
Joe Goldberg is handsome, charming and ready to fall in love. And when aspiring writer Guinevere Beck strides into the bookstore where Joe works, he is instantly smitten. He knows he has to see her again. So Joe does what anyone might: he looks Beck up online, and learns everything he can to set up another chance to meet her. Their chemistry is immediate. It seems like the perfect romance.
But there’s more to Joe than Beck realises… and more to Beck than Joe could ever guess. Their relationship soon spirals out of control, and the darkness they unleash will have deadly consequences for everyone in their lives.
You is a thriller novel by Caroline Kepnes, was published in September 2014, and has recently been adapted into a Netflix original series of the same name. After their first encounter at the bookstore, Joe becomes infatuated and begins to quietly and obsessively take control of Beck’s life. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe works tirelessly to transform himself into Beck’s ideal man, all while secretly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if that means murder.
The thing about Joe is that his craziness really sucks you in. I even kind of liked Joe in parts of the book, along with his totally inappropriate thoughts and actions.
I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but I can definitely tell you that Joe is a stalker and a murderer. He is also probably the most candidly honest character that I’ve ever come across. The author’s writing is so absorbing and she truly captured the mind of a crazy stalker, while also allowing him to remain human. This made the plot even more compelling and an immensely creepy and twisted undertaking to keep reading.
Stylistically, I felt that Joe’s brutally honest inner monologues about people and society in general worked really well in portraying a loner with many issues and a great sense of darkness within. He really is such an interesting character, and being inside his brain is quite the experience. As I was reading, there were points when I actually felt kind of guilty for being enthralled by the madness and behaviour of the narrator. It really had me on the edge of my seat from page one.
I also really loved all the film and literature references Joe makes throughout the book, and at one point, when shopping for furniture with Beck, he even compares his time there with the magical IKEA moment that Tom and Summer share in 500 Days of Summer. It is all so weird, yet immensely thought provoking, and highly entertaining.
Be warned, this is a hypnotic and creepy read, but ultimately You is a book I just couldn’t get myself to put down. The characters are just fascinating, the writing is brilliant and I’m hoping to get my hands on the sequel soon to see what comes next. This addictive thriller is definitely worth reading!