YOU by Caroline Kepnes

For sometime now my friend has been asking me to read the novel YOU by Caroline Kepnes which was released a few years ago to rave reviews. As I had a lot of pending reads I pushed this one aside over and over again until I found that time let up enough to really sit down and give it a shot. I’d been on chapter one for weeks but once that time arose I flew through the story in a day. I left a review on GoodReads but decided to save my full breakdown for this month as our new reading group decided to pick up this novel for April’s Book of The Month read.

YOU was riveting. To read a piece from the perspective of a stalker was definitely a change in pace and it coincidentally was after I had seen a video posted by Matt McGorry about when you portray a character you have to embody that person completely. No person thinks that what they are doing is wrong. They believe their actions make sense and are justified. It was perfect timing because it placed me into that mindset while hitching a ride along in the mind of Joe.

Joe is really an interesting character and it’s not because he is so different from any other but it is because he is so normalized. You can picture this guy so unassuming in a book store and you may presume like Beck that he is different, hot but do you really want to go there? It’s not because he has this dark edge about him that you worry about but he just seems too normal. He is everything but normal.

It really is a testament to the writer that she was able to create someone completely understandable that is taking us into unimaginable situations. Kepnes always knows where to cut it off as to not go too far but for me, because I’m really into thrillers and like to be afraid for some odd reason, I wish she had pushed the envelope just a bit more. There had to be something more monstrous to Joe but perhaps that is because to me even when we hit the climax and you can see the realization coming about in Beck she never really seems to be scared enough of him.

Beck…I’m supposed to hate her but I don’t. I understand her brand of crazy as well. Her most shining moment was also at the end with The Da Vinci code in the cage. It was the most intelligent and telling that she was the entire time and that was great for me. For a while you think she’s just some self-absorbed bimbo and clearly she is but she shows depth in the end. She’s not a victim. She’s a monster too just a different kind than Joe is.

I rated this piece at a 4/5 stars just for the lack of scare for me. Yes it is disturbing but it had the potential to terrorize. I recommend it, most definitely, and perhaps I’ll add its sequel Hidden Bodies to the shelf for pending reads.

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