Book Review: You (Caroline Kepnes)

Screen Shot 2016-11-11 at 5.59.58 PM.pngWhen aspiring writer, Becks, walks into a small neighbourhood bookstore, she falls deeply and madly in love with Joe, the operator of the bookstore. She cannot stop thinking about him and hopes that he will get in touch with her right away; find some way to connect with her. After all, Joe is smart, handsome and witty. Joe is also a stalker.

This is how Joe imagined their meeting and it really doesn’t matter what Becks is thinking because Joe already has it in his mind that Becks will be his.   And he will stop at nothing to have her…even if it means committing murder.

You, the psychological thriller by Caroline Kepnes, is, hands down, one of the most delicious books I have read this year.   Addicting and ominous, this novel tells the explicit tale of one man’s obsession and how he does anything to obtain it. I found myself savouring each page; to the point that I actually made myself put the book down and read something else so I could enjoy it longer.  That takes some serious restraint people! On the cover, a series of words are used to describe this read: “unsettling”, “compelling”, “hypnotic and scary”. I’d have to say I agree with each of them.

The novel opens with Becks walking into the bookstore where Joe works. She pays with her credit card and he googles her name from her card. Of course he does. After this, the story floats down a slippery slope as he accesses her social media accounts and then finds her address.   I will not give any more details to how this story unfolds, because truly, it is something you have to read for yourself!

The story is completely narrated by Joe. This was fascinating; through his narration, we become intimately acquainted with the mind of a stalker. From his initial moments of googling her name to watching her most private moments (from the street outside her window), we watch as Joe progresses from interest to full-blown stalker.  We get to watch his mindset and see how he is able to justify his actions and his behaviours based on a smile, a look or an adjustment of clothes. From the first page, I was completely sucked in- and to be honest- I found myself oddly connected to Joe. Even though I knew that this plot was supposed to be disturbing, Kepnes writing kept me drawn in and had me feeling sympathetic towards him.   Only some pretty stellar writing can have a perfectly sane girl feeling sorry for a creepy, obsessive, manipulative psychopath and his plight.  Sorry Joe, it’s nothing personal.

This novel, although sexually explicit, lacks all gore and typical horror tactics. What it does have is complete possibilities, and those, are more haunting.   I loved that this novel was completely plausible. It very well could happen to anyone. You could smile at someone walking down the street, and the next thing you know, you could be potential prey. Someone could have access to your social media accounts and could be saving your pictures for their own perusal.  Someone you completely trust could be living a completely double life. Now excuse me while I go search my fiancé’s room for locks of my hair…

I highly recommend this one. It was fantastic.  An absolute must read in my opinion.

I cannot wait to read the second installment, Hidden Bodies, and hear more from Joe.

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