Book Review – You by Caroline Kepnes

by Maryse on October 4, 2014 · 16 comments

in My Book Reviews

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!

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Cristal October 4, 2014 at 11:10 AM

This is how I felt as well. I finished it last weekend and still haven’t written my review yet for my blog. I’m just not feeling very inspired. Such a bummer too, because this book could’ve been AMAZING.

MichelleS October 4, 2014 at 11:11 AM

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!!* – Bad Things has OOMPH – and all that other stuff. (Broken record, I know….) :-) (read 10 pages…. that’s all… right Fabi? 10 pages and you’re hooked).

Maryse October 4, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Okay I got it. ;) I’m on it. Is it okay to read Bad Things after the first one? I didn’t read the first one yet…

Fabi October 4, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Maryse, you should have rated the cover of this book. It’s breathtaking.

As afar as Dangerously Happy and Bad Things are concerned. DH wad published 1st. The DH characters make a cameo appearance in Bad Things.

I read Bad Things first because I was in the mood for a dark read and it was on your new release list. I fell in love with the author and had to learn more about the characters that made a cameo appearance so I picked up Dangerously Happy which is a love story. I’m glad I read them in that order. But I don’t think it really matters which order you read them in.

If you want a dark read, get Bad Things. If you want a love story, get Dangerously Happy. More than likely, once you read one of them, you’ll want to read the other to learn more about the characters. (The main character of BT makes a cameo in DH. The main characters of DH make a cameo appearance in BT). They are both stand alone books. Neither are part of a series nor require reading both.

Fabi October 4, 2014 at 2:31 PM

Ummm if you were wondering, Bad Things was a 5 star for me. Dangerously Happy was a 4.5 star read for me.

Fabi October 4, 2014 at 2:38 PM

MichelleS, “broken record” – remember when I first read it? I couldn’t MAKE myself shut up about it. lol I think Krylov’s writing just does that to people.

Shell October 4, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Thank you Maryse for this prompt review, i was waiting for it, I can’t wait to read it even if its not 4 or 5 straight star from you. This book is really calling me and the subject matter is extremely interesting, would love to read how a Psychopath’s mind works. Do you know if the kindle version of this book will be available soon?

Cynthia October 4, 2014 at 6:49 PM

So what are we reading next? Black Lies was the last awesome book. Need a new awesome :) !!!

Cynthia October 4, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Ps are you going to make an October scary book list Maryse? Last year I read and loved The Exorcist from your recommendation. I also read Horns and Heart- Shaped Box by Joe Hill. …which by the way were two of the coolest reads ever! Once a year it’s fun to read scary.

Maryse October 4, 2014 at 7:37 PM

You bet Cynthia! Great idea to do it again…

Maryse October 4, 2014 at 7:37 PM

LOL Fabi… I can’t wait to read it.

Maryse October 4, 2014 at 7:38 PM

Shell, I know it’s for sale on Amazon for Kindle in the US. Are you in another country?

MichelleS October 4, 2014 at 8:07 PM

OOH – scary book month! Sounds cool. You can throw in not so scary witches and such for those of us who are chickens…..

Shell October 5, 2014 at 6:16 AM

Maryse I am from England and its not even available on kindle here let alone on sale. Oh what a shame I really wanted to read this one sooooooo much.

Maryse October 5, 2014 at 5:06 PM

Awwww bummer!! That happens a lot with the awesome UK authors. We have to wait a year or more for the Kindle versions to be available for us.

Heather October 13, 2016 at 10:07 PM

I couldn’t have said it better. I felt the exact same way! It was a love hate with that book and I just started the sequel and can hardly get through it. Maybe a one and done was better…

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