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.
A terrifying exploration of how vulnerable we all are to stalking and manipulation, debut author Caroline Kepnes delivers a razor-sharp novel for our hyper-connected digital age.
You is a compulsively readable page-turner that’s being compared to Gone Girl, American Psycho, and Stephen King’s Misery.
Kindle Edition, 433 pages
Published September 30th 2014 by Atria
Three and a half stars: A frightening book with unlikeable characters that will suck you in.
Joe is whiling through the hours at the bookstore where he works, and then YOU walk in. Guinevere Beck, the girl who Joe is sure is the one for him. At the counter, Beck flirts with Joe, and then hands over her credit card. From that small piece of plastic, Joe learns her name, and then after she leaves, Joe quickly starts online stalking Beck. His obsession grows every day as Joe continues to follow Beck on Twitter, Facebook, and he even goes so far as to skulk around her apartment. Then one night, Beck is drunk and Joe comes to her rescue. Beck ends up leaving her phone behind, and Joe is able to wedge his way further into Beck's world, all without her knowledge. Meanwhile, Beck has no idea that the kind, smart, and funny Joe at the bookstore is not only stalking her, but committing heinous acts all in order to win her heart. This is a raw and terrifying look at how easy it is to stalk someone in the digital age. This is a book that will give you chills and make you think twice about your online activity. Do you dare enter Joe's head?
What I Liked:
- Whoa! This book is one freaky little ride. It is shocking and terrifying and it will give you the creeps, and the worse thing is that the more twisted and dark it becomes, the more you want to keep reading. This is a story that the dark side of you, your id side craves. It is a read that is like a car wreck, you want to turn away, but you can't help but slow down and gawk, and the more gruesome the accident, the slower you drive. You is like that car wreck. You want to stop reading it because it disgusts you, but you have to know what happens. This is a book that is not for the squeamish, and I assure you, once you read it, you will be looking over your shoulder and watching your online activity.
- What drives this book is Joe. He is an unreliable narrator. Joe comes across as a seemingly ordinary, nice guy. You know like when they capture a serial killer or a kidnapper in a nice neighbor, and all the neighbors go on tv saying they can't believe that their neighbor committed those heinous acts because he seemed like such a nice guy.... Joe is that guy. On the outside, he is kind and sweet, but on the inside... you don't want to know. The reader is exposed to Joe's narrative in a stream of consciousness narration. I am always a big fan of this style, and it totally works in this book. The reader falls down Joe's rabbit hole, and inside his head, it is scary. Joe becomes completely obsessed with Beck, and his behavior gets more erratic and dark as the book goes on. He will give you the heebie jeebies, and yet, his character is so well written, that you will, at times, find yourself surprisingly rooting for him. He is one of those villains that you loathe, but then you love because he is so fascinating and well done. You have to meet Joe yourself to understand.
- This book has a cast of unlikable characters, and you would think it would ruin the book, but surprisingly it doesn't. I went in expecting to feel sorry for Beck, but the further I read, the more I disliked her, she lies, and she has all kind of issues, she has no idea what a real sexual relationship is about, and I ended up not liking her very much. All of the characters are like that, the more you learn about them, the less you like them. The reason it works is because it adds to the overall creepiness of the book. We all have our flaws and dark sides, and this book puts it all out there. Surprisingly, the character I ended up liking the most was probably Benji.
- This book exposes the dangers of our modern, social, technological world. I am not one, thankfully, who likes to flaunt every detail of my personal life, and after reading this, I am more inclined to be off the grid. Beck is a social media whore, and she has no qualms about posting her whereabouts via Twitter, making it easy for Joe to track her down. This book is a terrifying reminder how vulnerable we can all become when our computers, phones, etc are hacked. This book will make you extremely leery, and if it doesn't, you probably need to get your head examined.
- The ending explodes with a terrifying finale, and then the dust settles. I don't know what to say, except that it doesn't disappoint.
And The Not So Much:
- I think for me what held this one back just a touch was that it got too lengthy. At first, I liked being pulled into Joe's creepy little head, and then I was horrified by his behavior, and it only gets worse. It is real and raw, explicit and crass and just flat out creepy, but then, I think I became a bit desensitized to it all, and the story just seems to go on and on in the middle section. Not much happens during the mid part, it is the same old, same old, Joe stalking Beck and having creepy thoughts. Then it finally gets good near the end, and the finale is stunning. I would have preferred a little less of the stalking in the mid section and more action.
- Even though I am not one who likes all the gory details, there were a few times in the book where a big dramatic event happened, and then it was glossed over, and I was left wanting to know so much more. Especially with the whole Benji thing, and even the situation with Nicky, and even at the end there is mention of the psychologist being linked to Beck. What was that all about?
- This is a book for mature readers. It is real, raw, and scary. The sex and the sexual references are explicit. You have been warned.
You is a freaky little read. This book will get into your head and give you the creeps. It features a cast of unlikeable characters, a deranged main character who delivers frightening stream of consciousness narrative. Joe is completely deranged and creepy, but yet, you will strangely find yourself drawn to him because he is so well written. You is a book that I am at a loss for words to describe. It is a book that I was repulsed and yet fascinated by, a car wreck that I couldn't look away from. I can say read it if you want a thriller that will make you think twice about the digital age and social media. It isn't for the faint of heart, and it is a book that will stick with you. In the end, I will tell you that it is a brilliant, psychological thriller that is extremely well written. Enter if you dare!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.