Book Review | You by Caroline Kepnes

Title: You
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Pages: 432


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 haven’t read too many psychological thrillers, but if there are any more like this one I’d be all about it! Right off the bat, you notice that this book is written in second person. I’ve never read a book written in second person, and I thought I might not like it. However, I found that it works perfectly and really lends to the overall creepy nature of the book. If you lose yourself in the book, it will feel like Joe is really talking to you.

Joe is a stalker. He does lots of unspeakable things in this book, but he is also a funny, sympathetic, and (dare I say it…) likeable character. He works in a bookstore so he makes lots of observations about books and the people who come into the bookstore. He has many thoughts about people’s choices in books and what those choices say about them. Book lovers will get a real kick out of those parts of You.

There were also many times while reading that I found myself giggling at one of Joe’s one-liners or agreeing with his stance on something. I really have to applaud Kepnes for being able to write such a multi-faceted character.

Joe and Beck’s relationship was something else. At the beginning of the book, he has his first encounter with Beck and from then on he believes her to be perfect. We are only able to see Beck and their relationship through his eyes. Since he sees her as a perfect human being who can do no wrong, he is unreliable. It takes much of the book for him to finally begin to recognize her flaws which then allows us to see another side of Beck.

Personally, I didn’t really like Beck from the first moment she appeared in the book. I found her to be pretty frustrating and annoying throughout.

In this book, Kepnes explores the idea of oversharing and putting too much personal information on social media. Beck tweets incessantly and enables Joe to stalk her with even better efficiency. Beck is described as an “attention-seeker” on multiple occasion in this book, but of course, giving someone the ammunition to shoot you with does not make it okay for them to actually shoot you. Internet safety used to be discussed and emphasized a lot, but as of late? Not so much.

In the beginnings of the internet you would never use your real name for anything. You’d never tell anyone your age, where you lived, or any information that could pin down your identity. But those things don’t seem to be sensitive information anymore for a lot of our generation, and that’s scary. I believe that’s part of what Kepnes was aiming to get readers to think more deeply about, and she succeed.

Overall, this book was unsettling, twisted, thought-provoking and…delightful, in it’s own way. I very much enjoyed this book and I’m excited to see what Joe gets up to in the sequel, Hidden Bodies, that will be coming out in February of next year.

4.5 stars!



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