Review of ‘You’ by Caroline Kepnes

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I remember when this book was first released and there was an endless amount of hype over it. I wasn’t really in the mood to read a thriller at the time so I didn’t pick it up. When I was finally in the mood for it, I saw that it did not have good ratings anymore. It has a 3.7 rating on GoodReads which isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s not great either. I consider that rating to be more of a ‘meh’ sort of rating that typically makes me want to avoid a book.

I continued to put it off until just yesterday when I received an early copy of Hidden Bodies on Netgalley which is the second book to this series. It officially releases in the fall. In order to gain the full effect of Hidden Bodies, I went and purchased You. I really did not expect to like it as much as I did and that is just based off other reviews. I was hooked!! I stayed up all night reading it and I was never bored.

The story revolves around a bookstore clerk named Joe and his obsession with a girl named Beck. I thought Caroline did a very good job of portraying a stalker. A lot of other stalker books I’ve read are obviously very made-up, but this one felt real. As someone who has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, I have studied countless cases of real-life stalkers that follow the same patterns as Joe. It’s obvious that Caroline did her research before writing this story.

He is completely delusional but he is able to portray himself as this very average, charming, intelligent man. On the inside, he sees things that aren’t really there. What may be just a friendly and polite smile, he considers to be something more resembling love. He over-analyzes everything in an unhealthy way. He collects mementos that no normal-functioning adult would do. In addition, he also believes there is an actual relationship when there really isn’t.

Right off the bat, I realized that this was going to be mostly a narrative story. This is read in his point of view, but there is more of his thoughts than there is dialogue between him and the other characters. Usually, I would find this to be a big turn-off, but he has a very interesting mind. I couldn’t find it in myself to set the book down.

Unlike other dark-themed books, he is not romanticized which I really enjoyed about the story. You’re in his head so you know that he is not a good person to be around. He is mentally unstable and aggressive at times. I applaud Caroline at being able to write such a convincing character.

There were a few events that seemed a bit out-there, but overall it was pretty realistic. I am going to sound odd, but I didn’t get the attraction to Beck. I think that Caroline set out to write Beck as a very flawed individual and she accomplished that. Beck is hard to like. She is an attention-seeker and manipulative and just not the type of person that I would associate with.

I get the feeling that Caroline did this on purpose to show just how irrational Joe is. It is extremely obvious that she is not a good person and that she tends to hurt the people around her, but he sees her as this perfect being. He consistently makes up excuses for her behavior and blames everyone else except her.

Bottom line: I can rave about this book for days. It was a fast-paced book even though the events occur over a span of approximately 26 weeks. I rated it 5 stars! I highly recommend it if you are into dark-themed books or thrillers. I plan on beginning the second book in a couple of hours once I have caught up on a couple other reviews.

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