Book Review: The Book of You – Claire Kendal

The Book of You coverTitle: The Book of You
Author: Claire Kendal
ISBN: 9780062297600
Pages: 368
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Psychological Suspense
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5


Clarissa let Rafe into her life, it’s true. She thought he was nice, and while she doesn’t quite remember the night they spent together, she knows that she’s partially to blame. That’s why, now that Rafe is around every corner, she doesn’t feel like she can go to the police. “It’s your fault,” they’ll say. “He’s not stalking you.” But when Clarissa is selected for a jury and the case turns out to have frightening parallels to her own situation, Clarissa knows she must find the strength to tell someone about Rafe before he harms her irrecovably.

Snapshot Review:

A suspenseful and chilling look at stalking, The Book of You features an often-frustrating main character in Clarissa, but she is completely believable as a victim who is in fear for her life.

Full Review:

The Book of You is about a chilling and frightening topic: stalking. It’s clear that Rafe is stalking Clarissa, and she’s almost paralyzed by it. She can’t leave her apartment without fear that he might be watching. He has insinuated himself into every part of her life; Clarissa lets friendships wither because she doesn’t want Rafe using her friends to get to her. He has completely isolated her and Clarissa knows it. It’s scary and makes for a very tense read.

Side-by-side with Clarissa’s difficult story in The Book of You, readers learn about the court case on which Clarissa is serving on a jury. She is a firsthand witness of how lawyers can and will tear women down, using everything against them in order to secure a win for their clients. Clarissa is sure she can’t withstand such scrutiny, yet she also knows that things with Rafe are coming to a head. She can’t survive his calls, texts, gifts, etc. much longer; she knows that eventually he will turn to violence. Clarissa knows that, in order to make as strong a case as possible against Rafe, she must begin collecting evidence against him, evidence so damning that even his charm and perfectly reasonable explanations won’t be able to exonerate him.

But Clarissa can also be very frustrating in The Book of You. As I mentioned, Rafe has fully isolated her in this book; she doesn’t have anywhere to turn and there is no one she can trust. The few times she’s tried to confide in someone about Rafe, they haven’t believed her. She is a very believable victim, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to read about. Her hesitation at going to the police is understandable, especially given her past experiences, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t frustrating for readers. As the book progresses, more people reach out to Clarissa to try and help her, and she brushes them off. She won’t go to the police, she won’t do anything to change her situation. She is a full-blown victim, paralyzed by the gravity of her situation.

But though Clarissa is difficult in The Book of You, Kendal wrote her very believably, as a victim of stalking. This novel is tense and chilling; readers will definitely be looking over their shoulders for a few days after reading this book. Though I badly wanted Clarissa to find some strength and some sense, I tore through this fast-paced novel, hoping Clarissa would find the justice she deserves.

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