Monday, July 11, 2016

You by Caroline Kepnes

I love how it says "Praise for You" on the back of the book. Praise for me? Aww, you shouldn't have!

When aspiring author, Guinevere Beck, strides into a secondhand bookstore she has no idea that she's setting the wheels of something utterly terrible in motion. That's because the owner of said bookstore, Joe Goldberg, is a card-carrying psychopath who will do anything - ANYTHING - to get what he wants.

And he's just decided that he wants Beck.

Did you shiver? I know I did. Joe Goldberg is scary AF.

...And yet, at times, creepily relateable.

YOU is a thriller that pokes fun at all the new adult books out there with overly familiar, stalkery love interests. While reading from this book, you really only have one side of the story - Joe's - and he is very, very manipulative. Part of the fun about YOU is reading between the lines, ignoring his narrative and focusing on his gestures and his dialogue, and trying to figure out how Joe appears to others, without his bias.

Also, I love-love-loved the use of social media in this book. Beck is a little too open with her life, she's an over-sharer, and Joe is able to mine the heck out of that, to figure out where she's going, who she's talking to, what her likes and dislikes are. This gets especially creepy towards the middle of the story, although I'm not going to tell you why. You'll just have to find out for yourself.

The literary references and social commentary are also excellent. Joe has some very cutting (and in some cases accurate) remarks about the upper middle class, as well as those who to aspire to be but aren't. He made me laugh, Joe did, and then I felt bad about laughing because this guy is cray.

Then there's Beck and her horrible friends. Beck is so selfish. She's a liar. She's narcissistic, self-indulgent. A social climber. Ignorant and superficial and vain. Maybe a bit of a psychopath herself? I honestly don't know why Joe fell for Beck the way he did, or why he became so obsessed with her. Beck sounds like the type of person you'd complain about to someone else over coffee. Maybe that's the point, though. Obsession isn't necessarily about the person themselves; it's about the pedestal you put them on and the rose-tinted glasses you see them through -

And what happens when those glasses break.

YOU was all anyone who was anyone was reading last year and guess what? It deserves the hype. It's dark and clever and suspenseful and has one of the best unreliable narrators since Humbert Humbert in Lolita. Plus, Stephen King said it was awesome. (Not sure how Joe would feel about that...)

4.5 out of 5 stars!

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