- Author: Caroline Kepnes
- Edition: Paperback
- Published: June 15th, 2016
- Genres: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
- Star Rating: ★★★☆☆
Wow, this book was… a lot to process to say the least. YOU is about a bookstore manager named Joe who falls desperately, madly, and scarily in love with Guinevere Beck. A young Brown student who finds herself in his crosshairs after passing through his shop. What makes YOU unique is that the entirety of the story is told through Joe’s point-of-view. His very scary, violent, and downright filthy POV.
** Spoilers ahead. **
If this book were written by a man I doubt I would have even picked it up to begin with. As it stands, I already felt disgusting and dirty reading parts of it. Kepnes is excellent at creating a sense of foreboding, a sense of utter disgust with what her centric character is doing. Seriously, once I finished this book I felt like I needed to jump in the shower immediately. (Partly because Kepnes made me read the phrase “pussy juice” about ten times). I have to give her credit for not writing Joe in a sympathetic light. I never felt as if she wanted asking her readers to like Joe, just to understand his motives and his delusions.
YOU is an engaging, addictive, and well-written read. Earlier this year I read Kepnes’ latest novel, Providence, and she has an established style. She is able to write beautiful prose passages with lasting images and eloquent descriptions. Although, I did not like Providence as much as this book (despite giving it a similar rating) I still found YOU to be more urgent and gripping than that one.
I originally intended to give this book four stars, but what stopped me and ultimately forced me to dock it a star, was the ending. I understand that YOU is a psychological thriller, a horror basically, and sometimes the bad guys win, especially within this particular genre. However, I was really hoping, and even anticipating, that Beck would somehow escape or Joe would be forced to pay for what he’d done. I wanted this guy to face consequences and maybe this is my own reader bias getting in the way of the story but I was frustrated that he didn’t.
Actually, I would have been happy with him just escaping and moving away and maybe the cycle of stalking continues under a new identity in a new town, I could have lived with that too. Instead we had a horribly hopeless ending. I’m not sure if we were supposed to feel like Beck got what she deserved? I hope not because I sure as hell don’t feel that way. Instead we had yet another story of a man systematically destroying a woman’s life and ultimately murdering her when she didn’t return his feelings and I was left with a bad taste in my mouth.
BONUS: FLASH REVIEW OF YOU ON LIFETIME
When I started the show, I hadn’t read the book yet at all. Now that I have, I’m sure I’ll be a little more biased in my opinions of the show but thus far, I’ve been impressed. It’s a sleek, modernized, and inventive thriller. One that taps into a primal fear which directly correlates with a tech-savvy and sophisticated era. The idea of someone stalking you when all of our personal information is so easily within grasps by just a few clicks on the internet is terrifying to say the least.
Penn Badgley is perfectly cast as Joe. He’s haunting, sinister, but also charming. He’s likable, which makes him even more dangerous. He could be anyone.
So far, the show has been pretty damn accurate to the book. I’ve actually been surprised by how many tiny tidbits and lines of dialogue have made it from page to screen. That said, I’m really hoping the show takes some liberties with the ending, seeing as how it was my least favorite part of the book.
If you want to check out YOU, the first two episodes can be found On Demand or on the Lifetime APP, episode three airs this upcoming Sunday, Sept. 23rd at 10/9c on Lifetime!