A Conflicted Review on You

Author: Caroline Kepnes
Series: You #1
Genre: Thriller
Page Length: 422 pages
Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
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.

So, I finally had the chance to break away from textbooks and homework assignments and decided to give this book recommendation from a friend a go.  On one hand, I'd agree with the praise floating around the internet: You is definitely riveting and creepy.  However, at times, I also found Kepnes's book to become rather dull as it drones on and on and on...  So without further ado, here's my conflicted review on You.

The Good:

The book immediately establishes its creepy mood that runs throughout.  By alternating between first and second person, readers get a distinct feeling of being in the narrator's shoes.  Joe, the main character (and stalker), is the epitome of messed up.  After meeting a random girl, Beck, just once in a bookstore, he becomes obsessed.  The experience of truly seeing and feeling through Joe's perspective is like no other.  It was both interesting and downright freaky to see how twisted Joe's thoughts could be and how he somehow justified some pretty terrible acts along the course of the story.  I can honestly say I read through the first 1/3 or so of the book completely hooked.

“The only thing crueler than a cage so small that a bird can’t fly is a cage so large that a bird thinks it can fly. Only a monster would lock a bird in here and call himself an animal lover.”

The Not So Good:

And then we get to the bad.  Sure, I was hooked for about 1/3 of the way through, but that's when I began to lose interest.  The writing became redundant.  It's not that Kepnes was writing the same scenes over and over, but it felt that way.  (I guess that's bound to happen when you write a story about a stalker and add in a whole lot of second person...)

It became a chore to finish reading You's entirety, which is surprising since the book is categorized as a thriller.  And it's no secret that murder was involved, yet I felt absolutely nothing when a character died. But perhaps that was what Kepnes was going for since I was reading through a stalker's lens.  I'll think about it.

“We all get our hearts broken. We get fucked up and throw up and we cry and listen to sad songs and say we’re never doing that again. But to be alive is to do it again. To love is to risk everything.” 

You is no love story.  It's a story about obsession, lust, and violence.  As the book reached a climax and the story became more intense, I could understand for a time where all of the praise was coming from.  Unfortunately, the ending just wasn't enough to sway my opinion more favorably.

To sum it all up, I get the appeal, but I don't get the over-the-top praise.  You just wasn't for me.

Julia's a dreamer. She often zones off periodically throughout the day thinking up plans for the future, pining over fictional characters, and concocting up possible plot lines for stories.

You can find Julia on her main blog, Peach Print, on Twitter @peachprint, on Instagram @yapeach, and of course, right here on the APCB blog.


  1. This book gets the best of me. HAHA.

    I loved it and hate it at the same time. Joe is insane but I found myself liking him. Well not liking it but... yeah, like you said it's complicated. I cannot wait to read Hidden Bodies.

    Leydy @ OUAT

    Enter these cool giveaways!
    JOY Blu-ray | Dirtiest Secret | Will You Won't You Want Me?

  2. I know exactly how you feel. I kept hearing great things about this book, but the book fell short. I enjoyed the beginning, but it went downhill for me. The story dragged out.
    Vivien @Pages of Wonderland

  3. Omg I loved this one so much! Sorry it was not the greatest for you.

  4. I definitely understand where you're coming. I know this wasn't very common for most people but Joe scared the shit out of me 0.0

    Am I the only one that was actually afraid of him long after I finished the book? I kind of liked how the story dragged out or went on and on and on about how much he was obsessed with her. It kind of felt real like that. Great review Julia <3

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz


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