What You Need To Know:
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Number of Pages: 432
Genres: Thriller, Mystery
Series/Standalone: First Book in the You Series
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication Date: 25th September, 2014
Rating: Five Stars
When aspiring writer Guinevere Beck strides into the bookstore where Joe works, he is instantly smitten. Beck is everything Joe has ever wanted: tough, razor-smart and sexier than his wildest dreams. He’d kill to have her.
Soon Beck can’t resist her feelings for a guy who seems custom made for her. When a string of macabre incidents tears her world apart there is only one person she can turn to. But there’s more to Joe than Beck realises and much more to Beck than her perfect facade. The obsessive relationship quickly spirals into a whirlwind of deadly consequences.
This book. I really can’t find the words to talk about this book other than to say that it was not what I was expecting at all. I knew going into it that it was about an obsessive and manipulative relationship but I didn’t expect some of the twists and turns that took place. Nor did I expect it to be as chilling as it was thanks to the narrative. This book was written in a weird mix of second and third person. It was told through the point of view of the stalker as he spies and obsesses over a young woman and that young woman is you. This was done far more successfully than I expected and I think is one of the best examples of non-children’s literature that uses second person well.
“The only thing crueler than a cage so small that a bird can’t fly is a cage so large that bird thinks it can.”
The one thing that was most unnerving about Joe and the relationship that we viewed is that it actually resembles some of the relationships or love interests that are in a lot of Young Adult or New Adult romances. Joe, in his own twisted way, truly believes that he and Beck are meant to be together. Something that is usually a major part of the for mentioned romances but we brush that off as young love. Yet when we see this dark narrative and the extent that he is willing to go to be with Beck it does show how easily love can turn evil. And the fact that most of this stalking takes place because of social media can relate a lot to the reader. I know that sometimes when I meet someone and I add them on Facebook I might do a bit of digging through their photos. Same if someone new follows me on instagram or twitter, I’ll go quite far back into their photos to see who they are. Joe does this. He finds out so much information about Beck through what she’s put on line. How far does it actually go until we are stalking someone on social media. How far until are relationships turn sour because of internet? And perhaps the worst thing about this book, which is kind of also the best, is that Joe’s narrative is completely horrifying and shows that he is slightly insane but it is also quite beautiful. This just reminds me of my A2 coursework in which I had to discuss the darker side of love which is really obvious in this book.
“You blush. You are Charlotte’s Web and I could love you.”
The characters in this book were fascinating because for the most part the only character I liked was Beck because she was being idolised by Joe. Yet as Joe’s perspective changed slightly we began to see her flaws. All of the other characters are vile yet, in the case of Joe, I really loved them. Joe would do some awful things but for some reason I forgave him until he did the next creepy.
“You are a woman and I am a man and we belong in the dark together.”
So overall, I really enjoyed this book. It showed just how easily people can be the victim of stalkers and how sometimes you don’t realise that people you know could be a Joe without really realising it. Some of the relationships that I adore in YA are eerily similar to this relationship. So the question is: are we idolising the darker side of love?
“You’re a romantic, searching for a Coney Island minus the drug dealers and the gum wrappers and an innocent California where real cowboys and fake cowboys traded stories over tin cups of coffee they called joe. You want to go places you can’t go.”
Book Total of 2017 – 66