Book Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

I got sucked in.

This story is twisted. Creepy. The Lifetime show they've made of this book is just as chilling. *Gossip Girl voiceover* Seems as if Lonely Boy has gone a little too far...

When I first started reading You, I was excited. I'm a big fan of psychological thrillers. Then, I realized: this was terrifying, too real, and I was uncomfortable.

It takes place in New York. It's about Joe, a part-time book clerk/part-time stalker, who becomes obsessed with a beautiful, needy, writer named Beck.

What got me the most was how it was written: in second person. To be honest, I don't think I've ever read a story like written from that point of view. Joe narrates every moment, every detail of Beck's life, and I became convinced it was me, something I've done, something someone was watching. The narrative and the language convinced me that "you" was me.

I got sucked into this narrative.

It was brilliant. The language was strong, the characters were bold, the plot thickened and made me more anxious as I turned the pages in my hands.

There was something about this book that really messed with my head. I felt sorry for Joe, I felt sorry for Beck. Hell, even for about five minutes, I felt sorry for Beck's stuck-up, obnoxious, needy best friend Peach (and if you read this book, you'll understand how irritating she is.)

I reached the end and I didn't know what to think. I felt as if I had left a part of myself between the lines, in the bookstore where Joe works, in Beck's closet, in Peach's kitchen...and yet, in a weird way, I felt certain that I had left, that I let Joe's words just be words, that "you" was just a character, that none of this was real. But, the thing about psychological thrillers is that it can be more than just words, more than a character, more than just something to be considered.

I sat inside the mind of someone like Joe, thanks to the craft of Kepnes' narrative. As wild, as scary, and as complicated as it was, it all felt personal. Though, to be fair, I've never stalked anyone and have never been stalked (I don't think..).

I got so sucked in to this novel. To be honest, I believed, the entire time, "you" was me.

That is talent. I applaud you, Kepnes.

Kelly PeacockComment