“When aspiring writer Guinevere Beck strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe works, he’s instantly smitten. Beck is everything Joe has ever wanted: She’s gorgeous, tough, razor-smart, and as sexy as his wildest dreams.
Beck doesn’t know it yet, but she’s perfect for him, and soon she can’t resist her feelings for a guy who seems custom made for her. But there’s more to Joe than Beck realizes, and much more to Beck than her oh-so-perfect façade. Their mutual obsession quickly spirals into a whirlwind of deadly consequences . . .
A chilling account of unrelenting passion, Caroline Kepnes’s You is a perversely romantic thriller that’s more dangerously clever than any you’ve read before.”
Thoughts: You is one novel in which the second person narrative makes absolute sense. In many ways, it allows readers greater insight into Joe’s mental state and thought processes more intimately than an omniscient third-person narrator could ever accomplish. It even becomes an intriguing part of the story, taking on a life of its own and bringing understanding to the final scene. In fact, You would not be half as creepy with any other type of narrator.
Joe is a complete stalker, obsessed with Beck at first sight. However, as disturbing as his behavior is, there are multiple moments within the novel in which Joe becomes a sympathetic figure. He may be a total pervert and just this side of a mental facility, but he is charming, erudite, and extremely well-read. He is so convincing in his love for Beck that readers will forgive the fact that he has hacked into her computer, broken into her apartment, followed her across state lines, spied on her, stolen her phone, and much more. One actually hopes he will end up with the girl of his dreams or at least find a way to live happily ever after. When they do get together, Joe’s effusive joy is nothing short of infectious.
In a fascinating twist of events, it is the stalked who becomes the bad guy rather than the stalker. As Joe learns more about Beck and her quirks, alarm bells start ringing in readers’ heads, for Beck is no angel. She’s flighty, needy, and self-centered; more importantly, there is a darker side to her that only readers can see because Joe is blind to her faults. Just as readers want Joe to get a fairy-tale ending, they simultaneously begin to wonder if Beck is truly Joe’s path to a happy ending. The sense of unease readers first experience when meeting Joe soon dissipates as he grows in sympathy only to return with a vengeance by the time Beck and Joe stop dancing around each other. At the same time, those alarm bells morph into klaxons.
You is every bit as depraved and twisted as one would expect a story about a stalker to be. However, there is more than a little humor in it, so much so that one may call it a black comedy. Adding to that is Joe’s knowledge of books and authors and the frequency with which he peppers his thoughts and speech with bookish references. In Joe, we have a much more modern version of a non-cannibal Hannibal Lecter – charismatic, intelligent, and surprisingly sensitive – and the ending is extremely satisfying for readers who have come to really enjoy Joe and his obsessions. Graphic in its sexuality, language, and violence, You may not be for everyone, but for those who are not easily offended or enjoy the dark and disturbed, You is definitely a must-read.