Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

12:11 AM

You by Caroline Kepnes | Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

“And I will never again underestimate the power of anticipation. There is no better boost in the present than an invitation into the future.”

Caroline Kepnes' You is the type of novel best consumed on a stormy night, wine in hand, lights dimmed and nothing else. You is so compellingly unsettling, you find yourself startled into some bizarre cross of full-blown tension and intrigue. Hint: your skin crawls in the best way possible and is a must-have for the now adult fans of Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars series.

(Which is funny, considering Shay Mitchell from the PLL T.V. series is to be a part of the adaptation of this book!)

Kepnes has a prose that is so engrossing, I found it nearly impossible to put You down. You know the thrillers that keep you reading, your heart practically still and your breath held at various moments, and never want to let you go? Gripping would be an understatement when it comes to You. I felt the same, deeply captivated feeling the first time I read Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas, The Fever by Megan Abbott and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. You makes it impossible to even breathe, let alone relax.

Yes, it is that good.

Frankly, Stephen King put it best--you is "hypnotic and scary"; it lures you into the web and chills you to the bone in a way that feels delirious and rich and horrifying. At times, the way the narration unfolds, as Joe watches Beck and slowly but surely integrates himself into her life, will cause you to shiver. Because there's something about the way it flows that truly feels like Joe is narrating his life only for us--and it's heartbreaking and frightening all at once.

What I liked most about it was how simple it was. Which sounds almost insulting to refer to this little masterpiece as simple but it's the only way I can think of wording my thoughts about it. Joe is the type of villain you are so frightened of, you are almost sympathetic to him. Almost. The way that Kepnes crafts him is pretty standard for villains in the sense that he doesn't realize he is the bad-guy of his own story; instead, he fancies himself a bit of a romantical lead.

I find this element to be all the more chilling. As he talks, in his narration, as he manipulates the view others have of him... it's just artful and spooky. There's this common trait in him that so many people admittedly subscribe to--someone sparks his interest (Beck), he looks her up online and just like that he has access to virtually everything necessary to make her fall for him.

In no time, he crafts an image of himself and Beck that fits something that isn't real. Every obstacle he reaches, for most of the novel, is a person--and he remedies that in the most spine-chilling of ways. You learn about past, let's call them, infatuations and how far he'll go on his quest for true love.

Kepnes leaves readers feeling chilled with every detail.

There's something about this story that reassesses that paranoia that many of us have for our safety on the internet. We live in a day and age where so much of our lives can be posted on various social media platforms, and this fact alone connects us with an already intimate aspect of the story.

I adored this book. It left me quite terrified.

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