Author: Caroline Kepnes
TW/CW: Death, stalking, abuse (mental and physical), drug use, alcoholism, kidnapping, slurs against women
FROM GOODREADS: When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card. There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting. As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.
I didn’t expect a thriller to make me take such a hard look at myself. But it did.
When I picked up YOU, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to stomach it. While a book written from the perspective of a stalker sounded like an interesting premise, I was pretty sure that having to read some sleazy guy’s thoughts was going to be too much for me. What I didn’t expect was to dislike Beck so much that I sort of… wished the worst for her. And all of her friends, if I’m honest. In fact, there weren’t any redeemable characters in this story save for Ethan, Joe’s coworker. It wasn’t until I got to the end that I realized I had actually been kind of gleefully cheering Joe on in slowly destroying Beck because she was one of “those girls”. Hypersexual (to the point that she exposed over people to her masturbating without their consent), manipulative, liar, seducer of married men, Beck was literally everything I hate in thrillers. She’s the girl I want to end up dead… even if I have to cheer for a stalker to do it. I’m kind of hoping that was Kepnes plan in writing the book the way she did. It almost feels like you have to be sympathetic with Joe as Beck jerks his chain… and then you remember that Joe has orchestrated nearly everything that has happened between him and Beck because he is a murderous stalker.
There were a few things that lost points from me. The story tended to drag, especially around the middle. This book could have been 100 pages shorter and still packed a powerful punch. The ending was also seriously abrupt and while I appreciate how it ended, I just felt like there should have been more. I was also seriously turned off by how much sex and references to sex there were in this book. Is that all straight people think about? Don’t stalkers usually think about things like life-long commitments and children? Since Joe was looking for “true love”, it didn’t make sense that he only thought about having sex with Beck.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys thrillers, stalkers, and a little murder.