Author: Caroline Kepnes
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Rating: 4 out of 5
Joe works in a bookstore, which he finds is the perfect place to meet women. And indeed, that’s where he meets Guinevere Beck, a gorgeous and smart woman who Joe can’t stop thinking about. There’s just one problem: Beck barely knows that Joe exists. In a methodical fashion, Joe takes it upon himself to learn all there is to know about Beck and to make her fall in love with him, no matter what it takes.
An absolutely creepy novel of obsession, You is told from a rare point of view—that of the stalker—and is as absolutely chilling as it is absorbing. Fans of psychological thrillers shouldn’t miss this intriguing debut.
I’ll admit it: there were times I wasn’t quite sure I was going to get through You. It was so absolutely creepy, with such a vile main character, that it disturbed me to the core. Sometimes, I’d have to put it down, just to get some distance, to take a few deep breaths, before continuing on. But I’d always continue on; the pull of this book was just too strong for me to be able to put it aside.
Joe is the narrator of You, and he is so obsessed with Beck, at manipulating and controlling her every move, at knowing every single detail about her life, that it’s exhausting. Kepnes really gets the reader inside Joe’s head, exposing the psyche of someone who is capable of this. The most frightening part of the book is how Joe believes that what he is doing is entirely and completely normal. Kepnes writes her main character incredibly well.
It’s interesting to watch Joe develop over the course of You, to see just how far he will go. That’s part of the driving force of the novel, and what keeps the reader hooked. Not only that, though, readers will root for Beck and hope she finds her way out of Joe’s clutches. It’s interesting to think about both Joe and Beck as characters; the reader only sees the world through Joe’s eyes, and he’s not exactly a reliable narrator of reality. How does his vision and his disturbed nature skew the narrative?
If you enjoy reads that push the limits, then You is a great choice. Kepnes writes her characters well, and readers will be simultaneously intrigued and disgusted by this novel. If you enjoy psychological thrillers, Kepnes provides an excellent one, with a unique twist in that the narrator is the perpetrator, rather than the victim. It’s well done and worth the read.