You Review

You - Caroline Kepnes

First and foremost: THIS IS NOT A ROMANCE. This book is to romance what The Shining is to self-help books.


I used to say, "Friends don't let friends write in second person." I never enjoyed the style outside of choose-your-own-adventure books, and felt second person had no place in adult literature. But I'm man enough to admit when I'm wrong. And, boy, was I wrong.


You, by Caroline Kepnes is a dark book told in the aforementioned second person. The titular You is Guinevere Beck (aka Beck, or simply B.), and our narrator is the uber disturbed Joe Goldberg. These two are fucked up beyond all repair and damn fun to read about. If you're a bit demented, that is. Me? I love reading about broken, warped, or all around shit human beings. They don't need to redeem themselves for me to enjoy their stories, but I must understand them. I understood Joe and Beck's motivations. And, funnily enough, I liked both of them for different reasons at different times. Kepnes did for me what Gillian Flynn has yet to do: made me care about irredeemable characters. There's no forgiving Joe and Beck (mostly Joe... yup, mostly him), but they're engaging and eerily lovable. I hated myself for feeling bad for these two shits and wanting both of them to come out unscathed. I couldn't help it. This is damn, damn, damndamndamn good writing, folks. 


You has its predictable moments, but that doesn't lessen the impact. The ending is quite powerful, and will probably make it into my top ten endings of all time. Tears were shed. Feels were thunder kicked into oblivion. This book got to me. Period. End of discussion. 


Finally, I don't give a flying fuck on hot asphalt what other reviewers say about the pop culture references. They work here. They work to give you a sense of character and place. Yes, pop culture prematurely dates many a work of fiction, but it also helps to cement a feel for the time in which the book was written. Get over it.


In summation: If you're a fan of characters who no amount of therapy can cure, you need to read this book. You is being compared to Gone Girl, but in my opinion, Kepnes is a far better writer than FlynnFlynn might give you characters you can hate. But Kepnes will make you fall in love, and then hate yourself for falling. Highest possible recommendation.