Book Review: "You" by Caroline Kepnes

This is one twisted novel, and I don`t know if I should be alarmed because I've enjoyed it so much. I just finished it and I am already tempted to get the audiobook just so I can get the chills again. I mean, "You" is definitely not the best book I`ve read, but it kept me engaged from the first page until the last one. Reading it was a unique experience, and it made me question some aspects which I`ll address later.

The choice of second-person narration separates this novel from other thrillers out there, and I think it`s the main reason why people enjoy it so much. It`s disturbing because you constantly feel like you`re being stalked, and you should be outraged. But here comes the problem: the stalker is witty, smart and charming; sometimes it's easy to forget what a horrible human being he is. I am not saying that he deserves damnation or anything like that. In fact, he should urgently be locked up. But there are also moments when he seems relatable and you`re feeling wrong, cause you can sympathize with a freaking sociopath. Just me?

The stalker in question is Joe Goldberg, and he works at a bookshop in New York. When a beautiful, aspiring writer enters his shop, Joe becomes obsessed with her. He stalks all of her social media channels and he inserts himself into her life. But there are many obstacles, and Joe will stop at nothing to fulfil his perfect dream-world with Beck. Whilst the ending may seem predictable, it`s still an enjoyable ride being inside Joe`s mind. 

I know that many people said that the characters are not complex, but I beg to differ. The second-person narration it`s not only fascinating, but it`s also unreliable. We get to know Beck and her friends through Joe`s eyes. We see what he wants to see, and sometimes he moulds the reality in order to fit in with his dream. From the start, I found Beck extremely unlikeable. She was selfish and full of herself, using her sexuality as a weapon. But Joe insists on revealing her true self, and when the answers are not what he expects, he changes the narrative.

                                         "The problem with books is that they end."

Like I mentioned earlier, there are times when Joe feels very relatable. I liked his views on books and the fact that he was so passionate about reading. He becomes even more likeable when he enters Beck`s pretentious world. When everyone else seems fake, Joe seems real. If the other characters had more redeeming qualities, you`d hate Joe 100%. But the fact remains that he`s insane, and it`s not the first time he`s doing despicable acts. 

Another aspect that I loved was how this book tackled social media. Joe is able to stalk Beck based on information he got from her Twitter and Facebook. She`s a character that likes to be on display and lives from validation from strangers. But is that so different from us? The book made me think about all the information I share on social media, and it is scary to think about what it can happen. I am not saying that we should delete everything, but this book definitely made me more aware of what I post. And I know I don`t live in a fictional world and I don`t have stalkers, but still.

Overall, "You" got 4 stars from me, which is a great rating considering I give 5 stars rarely. It`s a complex and well-written story, with a compelling main character. I can`t wait to see the TV adaptation cause let`s be honest, we all knew Dan Humphrey would turn into a stalker.

1 comment

  1. I've been hearing a lot about the TV show which is based on this book, but I definitely wanted to read this before watching it on screen - you've definitely encouraged me even more! This book sounds like a wild ride and the fact that you end up feeling sympathetic towards the 'baddie' is interesting too. Thanks for sharing x