You by Caroline Kepnes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Actual Rating: 4.0


Important Note: This book is not for everyone. It’s dark, explicit, and disturbing – there are many graphic scenes and thoughts.

If I had to describe this book in one word, I would say: terrifying.
The plot of this story was definitely wild and twisted, but that’s not where the fear stops. The true effect of this book lies in the writing style.

That’s the thing about this book. It’s written in both second and first person, meaning that the main character was the narrator, and YOU were the love interest. Except you, as in Guinevere Beck. (Does this make sense?)

And that’s honestly what made this book terrifying for me. Let me explain.

You follows Joe Goldberg, a man who works in a bookstore and loves reading. And everything is all good and well, until Guinevere Beck waltzes in and completely overtakes his mind.

Joe becomes obsessive, psychotic, and manipulative – but all out of good intentions, of course. He stalks her social media and finds out more about this girl: what name she goes by, where she lives, what she likes, and what her plans are.

And this is just too easy – Joe plans a “coincidental” encounter as he tries to make himself into Beck’s ideal man. And of course, anything that stands in between them is an obstacle that Joe must remove – even if it means committing murder.

That’s fine though, isn’t it? He’s doing it because he loves her.

Reading from Joe’s perspective was one of the things that really worked for this book – I felt like I was trapped inside the mind of a madman with no way to escape. And yet, having him narrate the book meant that I could follow his train of thought, and at some points it even felt like what he was saying made sense.

That’s why I said it was terrifying: I understood his reasons why.

And yet, the story was also written in second person. The reader was Guinevere Beck – broken, flawed, weak – and it was how I felt like both Beck and Joe that really set up the internal conflict in this story and made it successful.

The writing style definitely drew me in from the first page and kept me captivated throughout the entire story. How could a psychopath have such a beautiful thought process and speak in such sweet prose?

For example:

Also, you’re not bangable, Beck. You’re beautiful. There’s a difference.

This is something that just about everyone wants to hear, and Joe seems so sweet, so relatable.
But take a step back, and look at how manipulative and twisted he really is.

But he’s not the only one that’s so horribly flawed. In fact, just about all of the characters are. Yep, this is one of those books – but that’s just what makes this story such a roller coaster ride: it was hard for me to decide who to root for and who to hate.

Another thing I really love about this book is what the reader can get when they take a deep breath and step away from all the insanity. A lot of Joe’s power comes from his access to technology and social media: Email, Facebook, Twitter. What’s more is that he doesn’t only use these sites to stalk others, he uses it to pretend to be someone he’s not, which, when it comes down to it, isn’t far-fetched at all. It’s something that happens everyday, especially as daily life becomes powered by technology, and it is this sudden slap of reality, the sudden realization of “Hey, this could be happening to you, right here, right now.” that really reveals this book’s true potential.

But anyways, from an outsider’s perspective, Beck and Joe may have even seemed like the “it” couple; I mean, they even had a word for how great they were together: everythingship.

Doesn’t that sound cute? Well, read the book and let me know.


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