Thursday, August 27, 2015

YOU - A Review

YOU, by Caroline Kepnes, is the story of Joe, a NYC bookstore manager, and Guinevere Beck, a.k.a “Beck,” a customer with whom Joe becomes completely smitten.  Strike that - smitten is too weak of a word and does not adequately express the intensity of Joe’s feelings.  Joe becomes completely infatuated and obsessed with Beck.  With the help of digital media (Facebook, Twitter) and Beck’s conveniently “misplaced” cell phone, Joe studies Beck and learns her likes, her routines, and often her whereabouts as he insinuates himself into her life on a quest to make this seemingly “perfect girl” his and live happily ever after with her.  Little does he know, but Beck is not as she appears to be and she has some secrets of her own.

YOU is written in the second person narrative and it makes complete sense for this thriller.  This writing style allows the reader to tag along in Joe’s head and experience his innermost thoughts and emotions in a completely unfiltered and unrestrained manner.  (Seriously, so many of his thoughts were long, rambling, run-on sentences which served to emphasized how manic he was at times.)  Being privy to his mental state allows for an intensely intimate and often creepy experience.  

Despite the fact that Joe is a seriously messed up individual, I actually found myself liking him and even rooting for him.  I wanted him to get the girl.  I wanted him to be happy.  I wanted him to have a happily ever after. Even though Joe is a complete narcissist and a psychopath, he is charming, well-read, and intelligent and knows how to use those qualities to his advantage, allowing him to mask the fact that he is a stalker and capable of horrendous things. 

As for Beck, I didn’t care for her character at all.  I didn’t feel so negative towards her in the beginning.  However, once her true colors started to show, her neediness, flightiness, lack of self-discipline, and egocentric behaviors completely turned me off.  Poor Joe, so enamored by this outwardly perfect girl, was oblivious to her flaws, blinded by his "love" and devotion.  At one point I thought, “Joe, you could do so much better than Beck.”  Apparently, even I was under Joe’s captivating spell.

Carolyn Kepnes has crafted an incredibly intriguing character in Joe.  In real life, Joe could be anyone that you or I know, because from the outside he looks normal.  It’s only because we, the readers, are able to witness his thought processes firsthand, that we know exactly how creepy, manipulative, and unstable he really is.  It is supporting evidence for the old saying, “You cannot judge a book by its cover.”  YOU is also a testament to the dangers of living in the digital age.  It is a reminder to be careful about what we publish online because in truth, we really don't know who is out there reading our tweets, Facebook updates, and blog posts all the while, studying us

YOU is an extremely compelling, well written, intensely addictive read (or in my case - listen).  Despite the creep factor, I enjoyed it immensely.  I found many of Joe's uninhibited ramblings (spoken as well as inner monologues) to be absolutely hilarious because they appealed to my dark sense of humor.  Readers who do not appreciate noir humor may not have the same experience. 

As with most of the books I have read in 2015, I utilized the audiobook format of YOU.  Santino Fontana's narration was un-freakin-believable!  It was out of this world awesome!  He breathed a uniqueness into each of the characters and completely owned the character of Joe.  Oh, and his deep voice was pure bliss to listen to.  I could listen to Mr. Fontana read medical journals and stereo instructions on repeat all day long... 

DISCLAIMERYOU is not for everyone.  It contains very mature, graphic, and explicit language.  If you are easily offended by this type of language, then you may want to give this book a pass.  Consider yourself warned!  

I give YOU ★★★★  and I eagerly await the release of the sequel Hidden Bodies, which is expected to be published sometime in 2016.

Have you read YOU?  If so, what did you think about it?  Love it?  Hate it?  Feel free to comment below and thanks for stopping by!

My rating system:
★★★★★ = Awesome!  Good chance I own a print copy!
★★★★ = Very good.
★★★ = Good.
★★ = Not good.  I finished it, but did not like.
★ = Absolutely loathed it!  I may not have even finished it.

1 comment:

  1. So I totally agree with you about not liking Beck at all! She was so incredibly needy, and I wanted to smack her upside of the head sometimes and ask her why she was making such poor life choices! I also really did love Joe as a character, even though he turned out to be murdering people! And I really loved the fact that the story was written from Joe's point of view to Beck! I felt like it really made me get more in his mindset.

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