By Caroline Kepnes
Series: You #1
Published by Atria / Emily Bestler Books
on September 30, 2014
Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
I read this for book club and I know people who really liked this book. I’ve mostly heard good things about it, and I did know going in that it was a dark, messed up book. I do generally enjoy reading those kinds of books, but there was something about this one that didn’t sit well with me.
I mentioned in my mini-review on Litsy that I think I just might not be in a place to find a story about a bad man doing bad things (particularly to women) entertaining. I like dark stories, I like messy characters, I like twisty stories, I often like characters who are supposed to be the villains, and I am not a squeamish reader, but this simply was not the right book for me.
I didn’t find Joe witty or funny or clever. He was an arrogant, pretentious, entitled, dangerous predator and as a reader, I got nothing out of being in his headspace. Even without the creepiness and stalking etc. I found him insufferable.
I’ve seen so many reviews where people mention finding Joe funny or charming or whatever but I absolutely did not and could not feel that way. And I really did try to lose myself in the book, but I couldn’t.
The story, when not bothering me with Joe’s stalking and misogyny, was also boring. Reading about Joe spending much of his time focused on Beck’s life, from a distance (e.g. reading her emails and spying on her), wasn’t particularly interesting to me.
At one point I thought that there was a potential storyline being foreshadowed that might have redeemed this book slightly for me, but it didn’t come to pass. The ending was disappointing and if it hadn’t been a book club pick I think I would have DNFd this well before finishing.
I really want to like every book I read and I don’t like writing negative reviews, and I seem to totally be the odd one out when it comes to You. I think everyone I know who’s read it enjoyed it.
Elements of this book reminded me of Perfect Days by Raphael Montes, which I read a couple of years ago. I thought that was an interesting, well-written book. It’s also messed up and twisted. But if I read that book now, I wonder if I would feel the same way about it.
So this definitely wasn’t the book for me, but like I said, I seem to be the odd one out. If you did read this and enjoy it, you may know that there’s a sequel and a TV adaptation in the works.