Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Actual Rating: 1.5

This was definitely not as good as You.

While this one was still creepy and twisted, compared to the first one, it was nothing. Sure, there were moments, but in the long run it just felt like the book was long-winded and predictable.

Hidden Bodies continues with Joe’s story as he gets a new girlfriend named Amy. But of course, nothing goes smoothly and when Amy disappears, Joe heads off to Los Angeles to track her down. In the big city, he gets his first dose of Hollywood and meets aspiring actors and writers, such as people like Forty and Love (these names, man). Joe falls in love with Love and everything goes great. But he’s haunted by the people he’s killed and the things he’s done – and at the end of the day, he just might have to pay for it.

I think one of the biggest differences between Hidden Bodies and its prequel was the writing style. If you read my review for You, you’ll see that I praised the second and first person writing style to the ends of the earth. Now, looking at the second book, where did the second person style go? This book is written only in first person from Joe’s perspective, and while this means the reader is still able to delve into the depths of a psychopath’s mind, it also means this: after a magical and unique first book, the sequel became too “normal”, too flat in comparison.

The plot of this book was also weaker than that of the first. Joe’s goal in You was painstakingly clear, but in this one, it was forgotten within the first few pages as he digressed and maneuvered himself further and further away. At the end, it was readdressed, but by that time, what was the point?

Not to mention that some things just felt “unbelievable” – not as in “unrealistic”, but as in “Oh. how convenient.” Basically, a lot of things coincidentally led to change, which brought the story to its end.

And speaking of the ending, I AM SO UNSATISFIED.
The ending of You had been the type that would haunt readers long after the book was done.
The ending of Hidden Bodies was an attempt at closure. But closure for what? What was the story about? It was about so many different things that were just jumbled together and it became a little messy and a little blurred.

I didn’t really care for the characters in this one as much either – while the ones in You were so twisted and multifaceted, all the characters just became watered down in this one. I felt so much for the characters (especially Joe’s victims) in the first book: pity, sadness, hatred – it was all there. But for this book, it seemed like Joe killed for one reason only: to cover up his past. His crimes were powered by paranoia, and while I do understand why, it was such a flat motive that I just didn’t really care.

So anyways. Two stars, because there were a lot of things I didn’t like (especially compared to the prequel) but I still enjoyed some of Joe’s psychotic commentary.

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