You: A Novel
This dark-read was obviously up my “dark alley” in soooooo many ways, that I just couldn’t resist reading it upon it’s release. Exploring a subject matter that titillates my reading-thrill needs, and so well written (you’ll see that right from the sample), with a blurb that just blew my mind. It had to be next!
…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 . . .
And that’s pretty accurate.
It’s about a cute guy working in a book shop, that meets a cute girl that walks into said book shop, and he… becomes taken with her. Infatuated on the spot. Obsessed.
You’ve come home to me, delivered at last, on a Tuesday, 10:06 a.m. Every day I commute to this shop on the Lower East Side from my place in Bed-Stuy. Every day I close up without finding anyone like you. Look at you, born into my world today.
And I was ready for that roller-coaster ride! And for me, what made it even more intense was that it’s written from a unique perspective (providing the reader with an intimate look into the “his” mind, culminating in an especially eerie, raw feel of the story as it unfolds).
You’re a sweetheart. You see the best in people. You complement me.
Turning it into a total creep-fest. Not horror, no, but definitely what I’d call a psychological thriller… or from my own personal view, a psychological terror, but with an almost… “gentle” delivery, in it’s insanity.
Sadie: Loving being in this guy’s head in YOU. Creepy…and kind of funny?
Maryse: Creepy… noooo kidding. Yeah funny, in a quirky witty way, but this guy’s full-on psycho. I’m scared when he really hits the fan.
Sadie: I’m still only a few chapters in but I could see this getting scary. I was laughing about the “if I was an a$$hole who Instagramed”…and the whole thing about kindles and porn and video stores…and I should probably stop being amused by him since he is a STALKER.
Maryse: He is amusing though, Sadie. The author is really good!
And while it’s delivered from his perspective, his mind, it’s in second person POV. Even when he’s not talking with her (via actual dialogue), he’s constantly talking to her (in his mind).
Did I mention that you’re lucky to have me? You are. I am a BedStuy man by birth, sober, collected, and well aware of my whereabouts and yours. A protector.
And the bullish!t thing is, if someone saw the three of us, well, most people would think I’m the weird one just because I followed you here. And that’s the problem with this world, with women.
He’s constantly analyzing her actions, her interactions, her personal moments… times when she thinks she’s alone, living her life. And we live her life with him… as him. Through his eyes. His scrutiny. His plans. His delusions.
You smile because I’m your boyfriend. You just said so, Beck. You did.
Yet in his mind, he’s sane. He’s a protector. He’s in love. And he’s doing what’s right. But he’s horribly unbalanced. It scares me to think that I could ever “make friends” with a psychopath such as this one. And you know what? What’s scariest is that… it’s possible. He’s good looking. He’s well-versed. Seemingly highly intelligent. Polite, flirty, charming. Publicly he acts in all the right ways, and says all of the right things. He practices a good deal of restraint (considering what you soon find out about him). Yes… his mind… oh don’t even get me started on his mind. And the loss of it.
And I couldn’t tell, you know? I couldn’t tell if this was going to turn into a love story (albeit a disturbing one), or if he was going to prove to be an absolute monster that was hinted at as the story progressed. I mean, you know… sometimes people are totally “off”, but essentially harmless (perhaps turning this into an emotional pity-fest for him and our desire to see him get better. To heal). I couldn’t tell for a good while what direction this one would take. Or if things would turn around on him and she’d become his stalker. And I love not knowing where a story is going.
It’s not predictable. I mean maybe it is, maybe it’s not (I won’t tell you so you don’t go in with any preconceived notions), but let’s just say, it lent itself to alllllll sorts of possibilities and outcomes. And when I read, I love being surprised, shocked and awed.
I liked it. Plenty. But I admit it took me about 3 days to read (and even though it’s over 400 pages, I can read a book that size in under a day, if I’m loving it). As much as I was excited by the prospect of the story, and needing to know what would happen, there were also many times that I found my attention waning. Perhaps it was the persistent POV (from his mind). Us, constantly being in his head… that I began to find repetitive (and yet still fascinating… potentially exciting), ’cause at any moment, he could snap. Or something… was going to happen. And PLENTY did.
But I struggled with liking the characters. ANY of the characters… even the “good guys”. Everyone felt kind of like… jerks. Obnoxious. Weird. Self-centered (<— oh LOTS of that feeling right there). All of ‘em creepy in their own right. Even the potential victims. Then again, that too, might be due to his constant perspective. Us being HIM. Which is tough on the reader, because you kind of find yourself not rooting for anyone.
Okay and now skip this next part if you haven’t read this book yet. I analyze my experience of it, and don’t want you going in with preconceived expectations…
So those are my qualms with this story. So much possible excitement, such a potential thrill-ride, I was hoping to be wowed. Blown away. I wanted to be on the edge of my seat, “turing” pages, and ignoring life as I lived this scary-seeming one. Maybe even be blindsided by a twist or two that would leave me breathless. Stunned. And while it pretty much had everything I wanted in a dark read/stalker “love story”, this one left me more or less… morose. Creeped out (and wow, that very last part had me Oh oh-ing… gripping ending!), and yes, that ending sure had my attention but instead of leaving me with a pounding heart, it instead just… left me.
Sadie: Did you finish? I have mixed emotions. Lots of stuff I liked and didn’t.
Maryse: Yeah… I’m at 70-something% it’s taking me awhile to get through. I find it good, well written, and at times, super interesting. And at other times.. not holding my attention. *sigh* They are all so very hard to like. Even the main girl…
Sadie: Yes, it was a 3.5 for me I think. I’ve actually been thinking about it since I finished. The writing and “cleverness” of it was very good. I liked getting in the mind of such a creepy character and I like that the characters are flawed but I didn’t connect with the heroine. I also found it slow at times and it took me longer than usual to get through.
Maryse: I’m thinking 3.5 so far, too…
Okay you can come back now!!!
4 stars! <— (5 stars for the fantastic writing, 4 stars for the unique perspective, detail and gripping moments, but 3 stars for leaving me with my breath and regular heart rhythm intact throughout most of the book). I think I just needed more *oomph!!*
P.S. Thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy!