You by Caroline Kepnes, published June 2015 by Simon & Schuster.
Read: June 2015
Get It Now: Wordery
Goodreads Synopsis: When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village book store 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’ve seen this book do the rounds on a few book blogs and I was intrigued by it, I didn’t realise just how intrigued I was until I spotted it in my local Tesco and felt the urge to pick it up. The premise of this book is essentially the perils of dating in the age of social media, but with a particularly sinister twist. It’s a topic I’ve rarely seen covered well, and generally I enjoyed this read. Please be aware this is very much an adult book, not suitable for younger readers.
You is an incredibly well-written novel – full of witty remarks, twists and turns, and some shock surprises. I felt the tension, I had heart-racing moments, and on more than one occasion I wanted to theatrically shout, “he’s behind you!”. Kepnes’ writing is so razor-sharp, it’s hard to believe that this is a debut. The style of the novel is reminiscent of both Gone Girl and Dear Daughter, with unreliable narrators and unlike-able characters galore!
You is told from the POV of our main character, Joe, but it’s like we’re inside his head as he repeatedly addresses the reader with the word “you” in the text. In actual fact, the “you” he is referring to is our second main character, Beck, the girl he has fallen in love with, but the use of the word makes the reader feel like they’re getting the inside scoop on this crazy character.
As much as I enjoyed this read overall, at times it could be very slow-going. While Kepnes’ writing itself was excellent, the storytelling aspect could at times be very slow, either due to pacing, or because we are essentially in Joe’s head – the thought processes could be very erratic, and at times feel like a stream of consciousness – which builds a great character, but can make the text difficult to follow.
I enjoy my fiction with a good dose of realism, and I have to say 3/4 of the way through this book, I was wondering how no one had yet caught up with Joe i.e. the cops. That, and Joe’s thought processes (and to a certain extent actions) had begun to get repetitive, by the time I was at the 90% mark I was happily ready to wrap this story up and say “goodbye” to Joe. Unfortunately, the ending of this book hinted at a sequel, and when I checked out Goodreads it was confirmed that there would indeed be a follow-up to You. I felt disappointed, this would have made a much stronger standalone, and I’m not yet sure if I will be continuing with the series.
Have you read “You”? What did you make of our quirky narrator and the storyline? Let me know in the comments!