May 13, 2024

Book Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

Stalking as a spectator sport!

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

While chilling inside during a very rainy spring break, I decided to read a fun and entertaining book while stuck inside. Recently, some of the writers on my Discord group discussed the best stalker romances they were/had read, and You came up in the convo. I was already aware of—and a huge fan of—the Netflix adaptation, but had never realized the TV series was based on a series of novels.

I was excited to dive into this book and thoroughly enjoyed the story. The main character Joe Goldberg narrates the story to his love interest, Beck. At first, it feels a little odd since Joe keeps saying the word “you” referring to Beck, but it doesn’t take long to get used to this style choice.

As a pretentious connoisseur of books working in a small independent bookstore, Joe loathes the normal clientele who come in only to purchase the newest best sellers. Therefore, he’s delighted when an attractive MFA student who’s into esteemed literature and has just the right balance of quirky and weird comes into the store. Soon he’s infatuated with this woman who goes by Beck.

He has to balance learning more about her, removing obstacles, and revealing just enough to draw her into his web and make her fall in love with him. Of course, learning about her includes following her while in disguise, hacking her email, and interrogating her therapist. Meanwhile, removing obstacles also includes meddling in her relationships and locking away her ex-boyfriend. And of course, he can never reveal all the heinous things he’s done otherwise she might not like him back.

I loved how incredibly flawed both Joe and Beck’s characters were. Beck is a terrible student and bad friend, surrounds herself with toxic people, and seduces her married therapist, all while ignoring her role in creating her own problems. Meanwhile, Joe is literally a stalker. However, he’s not particularly good at it, and he makes lots of mistakes and slips up a number of times in hilarious ways. These two deeply flawed individuals almost seem like a suitable match.

If you enjoy true crime, or thrillers in general, you’ll probably love reading You.

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