Sunday, April 10, 2016

YOU by Caroline Kepnes

I don't know quite what to say about this book.  It's being highly touted in the blogiverse (I didn't make this word up, I swear!).  Amazon gives it a rating of 4/5 with over a 1000 ratings.  Goodreads is slightly lower at 3.82/5.  Stacy from is the only blogger I follow that didn't like it.  I'm somewhere in between.  Steven King said "Hypnotic and scary...Totally original."  I think that's pretty accurate.  So, what is YOU about?

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 begins quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way.  Joe will do anything to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms-even if it means murder.

I'm going to tell you something right up front.  And I'm doing this as a public service:  Joe is a serial killer.  Why would I give out such a spoiler alert, you ask?  Because I know there are those of you readers who do not want to read a book that has a serial killer in it.  How he commits these murders you'll have to wait and see.  Why he commits these murders can be explained in the last paragraph of the synopsis above.

This is definitely unlike any other book I have ever read.  And it's not because it's about serial killers. Alex Kava's protagonist, Maggie O'Dell (an FBI profiler) always deals with serial killers.  And who can forget Hannibal Lechter in Silence of the Lambs?  But this SK is very different.  He works and manages a bookstore and is constantly making references to pop culture (much of which I didn't understand) and literature (ditto).

Kepnes can definitely write.  I think that's what kept me going:

"Full of disclaimers, you're like a warning label on a pack of cigarettes."
"...and now there are elements of our dynamic coming slowly into view, like a photograph in a darkroom..."

In fact, I can say with authority that her writing IS what kept me going.  Keynes' style is just very unusual, even a bit compelling, I have to admit.  I also have to admit that I was curious to see how the book would end.  And here's the crazy part:  The author has just come out with Hidden Bodies, book 2 in the series.  I think I'm okay with just book 1.

P.S.  I was very pleased to see a reference to Billie Letts, who was an author I really liked a lot.  Unfortunately, she passed away almost 2 years ago at the age of 76.  If you haven't read The Honk and Holler Opening Soon, make sure you do.  It sits on my Sunday morning rec table.  And a few years ago, my buddy Bob and I each independently picked it as our surprise book of the year.


  1. Stacy sent me her copy of this book on cd's and I've yet to listen to it. I'm not sure how much I'm going to like it, but it I'm going to give it a try.

  2. It's definitely worth a read/listen.

  3. I liked it more than you and Stacy did. The audio was very compelling.

    1. I'm not surprised because so many people have liked it. But I would think that an audiobook would be especially effective.

  4. I listened to You and read Hidden Bodies in print. I liked them both but I enjoyed You a little more. I think part of it was that the audio was so effective -- the narrator was fantastic. In Hidden Bodies I already knew what Joe was all about, or at least I thought I did until the end.

    1. Somebody else mentioned that they liked the audio for You. I'm not an audio person, but I can understand how an effective audio can make a big difference in the enjoyment of a book.

  5. Thanks for making me feel like less of a leper, Lloyd :)