Sunday, March 15, 2015

REVIEW: YOU BY CAROLINE KEPNES


From debut author Caroline Kepnes comes You, one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Books of 2014, and a brilliant and terrifying novel for the social media age.

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.

Hardcover, 432 pages
Published September 30th 2014 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Source: Purchased
Purchase this book: Goodreads | Amazon



Shel: You know what? It's been days since I read You and I'm still thinking about it. It feels like an epic fail to even try to articulate all of the things that I'm thinking about this novel because they're all twisted and knotted on each other. But, for you, I will try. Court: As you can see, I took a million days after Shelley to finish this one. Not for lack of love though, but for surplus of procrastination in other life affairs. BUT...You. Holy shit. I am so in love with this author, and I absolutely adored the second person POV. I think it added a huge spice to the dynamic of the story, and I can just gush and gush from there. 

Shel: Joe is...well...I have conflicted emotions about good ol' Joe. Some of the observations he makes about our culture--the digital age/social media--are so interesting to me. They're perceptive and disdainful and cynical and amusing and as I'm thinking this, I'm also thinking that for someone who looks down on it all, he sure does know his way around them. Even with his ornery self, I liked him. And then I didn't like myself for liking him..for reasons. When you read, you'll see. For instance, he has boundary issues. Serious boundary issues. And just like with the characters in You, he repels me as he draws me in. Maybe it's because I know people like him in real life--fascinating even as they creep me out. He does this--creeps me out because he's a stalker extraordinaire but then I'm fascinated by his obsession and his justification for his obsession--Beck. Court: I...I just...I can't even describe how I feel about myself liking Joe out of almost every other character in this book. Every single person had a purpose, and to what end with 'ole Joe...but...yeah. He's absolutely psychotic, but again like Shel said his observations are (flawed) but accurate. He has a way about him that makes him endearing. It could be the long soliloquy about Stephen King (which had me rolling...especially knowing Mr. King read the book!) that makes me think..yes, he is a book person I could get along with. And then I remembered...oh yes! He's fucking stalking this person! Like. Whoa. Heady thing, this book. 

Shel: Beck is not my favorite which sucks; I don't like her because of her flaws and, honestly, her flaws are magnified realism and I shouldn't be annoyed by her for them, but I am.  (Wow..that was a really long and really awful sentence. Keeping it anyway). She strikes me as manipulative from the start (and it doesn't help that we KNOW that she is because of Joe's masterful stalking) and I'm not a huge fan of manipulators, so you can imagine how I feel about her. Also? Her weaknesses make me annoyed with her even as I want to like her and isn't this the way with REAL people? We dislike them because they're human, with human frailty, and we want them to be better. Well, that exactly my problem with Beck--I disliked her for being too close to reality. What's interesting, I think, is that while I didn't really like her, I liked the way she was characterized; I didn't like her precisely because of the way she was written--Caroline Kepnes wanted us to not like her, and I didn't. Court: Honestly, I really kind of hated her too. She is the ultimate frenemy surrounded by other frenemies...and I just couldn't even begin to fathom the way she treated Joe. And...yes. I KNOW he was stalking her, but some of the things she does and says and then does again and again and again. She was difficult for me. She is the ultimate anti-heroine though, so there are some more conflicted feelings in my head right now that I can't even formulate a coherent thought about. Every one in this story is so very anti-everything, but their observations and way about them was special. I agree too, Shel that our feelings end up being purposeful. So, we feel conflicted for hours, and probably days afterward. Well played, Caroline, well played. We heart ya. 

Shel: The secondary characters add annoyance to Joe and therefore add much comedy for me. His snarking comments about them are so perfectly nasty and jealousy filled and just as I'd find myself disliking him, I'd like him again. Sigh. Court: I know, right? Joe has an opinion about just about everything. Whew. It must be exhausting to be him. But...if it came to Benji, Curtis, Beck, Peach, or any other character we met...he did indeed have an opinion in which in impart with us. 

Shel: So, the moral to this story, for me, is that I was thoroughly engaged in the running commentary Joe made about our society's obsession with all things technology; his elitist, cynicism struck a chord with me and I found myself nodding my head in agreement with many Joe-isms. And, I was also conflicted with how I felt how about Joe..perhaps because I liked him when I didn't want to and at other times I wanted to throttle him and other times hug him and other times murder him. (another stellar sentence, there. Not).  And Beck was just, well, Beck. Court: I have thought about this a lot since finishing the book, and the way that he was just so...on his path...has to be admired. But...obviously this is surreal fantasy, and I hope that you give it a go anyways...We like the dark and twisty an insurmountable quantity, and all of the book references, and the book store, and the writing made me so happy I couldn't help but shout from everywhere (ask my Dad...he had to hear all about Joe while chained to his hospital bed today...). I can't wait to see this turned into a sitcom. 

Shel: I saw today that Kepnes is writing a sequel; this should be interesting. I'm thinking I know where this one may pick up..but who knows? I could be very surprised. Court: Yes, this now even has a blurb. And it looks so freaking intriguing. Hhhmmm, I say. I can't wait! 

1 comment:

  1. Also on the never-ending TBR! This book looks amazing and I can't wait to read it.

    ReplyDelete

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