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When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

A terrifying exploration of how vulnerable we all are to stalking and manipulation.

464 pages, Paperback

First published September 25, 2014

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About the author

Caroline Kepnes is the New York Times bestselling author of You, Hidden Bodies, Providence and...

You Love Me. Publishing in the US on Aril 6, 2021

(You know You Netflix? That's based on my Joe Goldberg books! You can read You3 before Season 3)

Her work has been translated into a multitude of languages and inspired a television series adaptation of You, currently on Netflix. Kepnes graduated from Brown University and then worked as a pop culture journalist for Entertainment Weekly and a TV writer for 7th Heaven and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She grew up on Cape Cod, and now lives in Los Angeles.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 24,545 reviews
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,096 reviews17.7k followers
January 7, 2021
UPDATE: I am officially muting comments on this review because they without fail make me hate my life. You can take my points or you can leave them. It's a book review. If your point is "thinking critically about media is stupid and bad", I can absolutely promise you I do not care. If you want to see my personal hell you can read through the comments on this.


You is a book I should hypothetically like because it is messed up and creepy. But unfortunately it’s also – and don’t kill me, I’m going to explain why I feel this way – not very good.

This is a book about a stalker, with one interesting twist: he narrates. Which is horrifying and... kind of interesting, and Santino Fontana deserves an award for his audiobook narration. I will fully admit that this book does one thing really well: it makes you feel as if it could happen to you, to anyone. There’s something really scary about a thriller in which the villain is so outwardly nice, even believing within his mind that he IS kind. You can completely see why someone like Beck (who never goes beyond the outline of a person) likes Joe.

The issue is that the ENTIRE BOOK is based off this gimmick, and it is four hundred twenty pages, and very little is done with the premise. I feel the need to explain how minimal the plot is: . It's just... um, can't you can get the entire plot of this book from the blurb?

My other problem with this book is that the narrative uses a purposeful failure to develop side characters to manipulate the audience. The narrative gains empathy for Joe by making you feel like you should feel empathy for Joe, and does it via what I think is a very boring path: i.e. by villainizing all the side characters and forgoing character depth entirely.

Benjy and Peach are both awful and annoying and I don’t have any sympathy for either one of these characters. But… that’s because Caroline Kepnes doesn’t want me to. These two characters are villainized, with every moment of depth to their character taken away, so the narrative can find Joe— remember, the stalker, the dude who watches a girl masturbate and kidnaps and murders her?— the more sympathetic character.

See, Kepnes sometimes does this thing with Beck where Beck will do something, Joe will think a thing about her motivations, and the audience can see on some level that he’s wrong, but... we wonder. THAT is a solid unreliable narrator—the lack of ability to figure out what’s real and what’s fake. But that delightful ambiguity is missing from most of the narrative. There is something so lazy and frustrating about caricaturizing the people around a stalker so you can gain audience sympathy for said stalker.

Peach, specifically, is an example of both the predatory lesbian trope and also the bury your gays trope. Peach, on-page, masturbates to naked photos of her best friend that her best friend does not know she has. This is messed up behavior. Though of course he exaggerates this, Joe is proven right that Peach is, on some level, dangerous, and the audience feels no grief at her death. Love the only gay character in the book being a borderline sexual predator. It's not at all done before and absolutely was not mandated by law in the us to show how horrible and creepy gay people were. Oh no, really.

I also found the running joke about chronic illnesses sort of strange. Joe keeps believing that everyone he knows is faking both their food allergies and chronic illnesses and in at least one circumstance, he’s proven right (Peach, again), thus proving “everyone in New York is faking illnesses” as right. Joe also does incredibly relatable customer service rants and both things are written in the same tone, set up in connection to Joe's annoyance with political correctness and elitism. Comments about People With Chronic Illnesses are framed in the same light as jokes about annoying Brooklyn hipsters, and I question the point of this.

I get that to some readers, morality codes don’t apply because this book is ~edgy~ and ~dark~. And I enjoy compelling moral darkness. I just also know that implying people make up food allergies for fun isn’t compelling moral darkness, and playing into old tropes about lesbians isn't compelling moral darkness either. Playing into social norms isn't actually edgy at all. It's just kind of... boring. A derisive rant about Brooklyn hipsters is fun for a while, but not for 60% of a thriller.

Glad you want to be edgy. Wish you could do it in a way that actually transgresses societal norms rather than enforcing them. I would love to think this book is being 'meta', sure, but I don't see a reason to think it is. And frankly, I wouldn't have liked it anyway.

EDIT #1: Based on the incredible amount of angry comments on this review, I think it's very important that we, as a society, google the Hays Code, or watch the Celluloid Closet, or even, very quickly, attempt to read the wikipedia article about the history of representation of gay, bi, and trans people in cinema. No, actually, it is not ever necessary to add a predatory lesbian who dies at the end to your book that contains no gay people. No, it is not subversive, and no, it is not new. It is important, in media literacy, to consider the impacts of the portrayals of gay and bi women. Please think critically.

Overall: I’m just not impressed. yes, Kepnes can write, and yes, the concept is excellent. but there's nothing interesting being done with said premise. I’m annoyed that with such an interesting premise and with such wonderful writing, this felt so lazy.

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Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
November 22, 2014

I'm not sure what crazy people shelved this book as "romance". You is romantic in the same way that Lolita is romantic. In other words: an insane, obsessive and manipulative romance from the perspective of a charming psychopath.

It's a fucked up tale told from the POV of a stalker who obsesses over and spies on a young woman. He gradually plants himself into her life and seeks a relationship with her, whilst simultaneously hacking her emails and following every little thing she does. If you're looking for a creeptastic story just in time for Halloween then you need look no further.

What is perhaps most unsettling about our narrator is how closely he resembles some of the love interests in YA and NA romance books. Telling his unreliable tale, Joe truly believes that he and Beck are meant to be. His narration is completely insane, horrifying and - at times - beautiful.

He is a fantastically unreliable narrator, made more so by the charm and humour he uses to engage the reader. Like Humbert from Lolita, Joe's intelligence, wit and candor make it easy to sympathize with him, even though we are aware of how twisted he really is.

The novel evades the boundaries of genre; not quite a contemporary, maybe, but also unlike most psychological thrillers, creating something new and complex - quite unlike anything I've ever read before. Being inside Joe's head is a poisonous but admittedly fascinating place to be. Through him, the author examines the games people play with one another and the gentle manipulation that even the most innocent of us are capable of at times:

You also offers an interesting look at stalking in the digital age. Joe is able to commit his crimes through the use of email, Facebook and Twitter; finding out huge amounts of information about Beck without even leaving his house. It made me incredibly aware of how visible we all are these days and had me almost looking over my own shoulder as I was reading it.

A random spur of the moment read that really paid off.

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Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,992 followers
July 24, 2018
I finished this book while recovering from surgery. I was medicated and kind of loopy. Considering how weird this book is, it is kind of perfect!

Not for the faint of heart! This book is demented and twisted. You will feel uncomfortable that the words on these pages came from someone and were actually published. You will feel guilty for being enthralled by the madness and behavior of the narrator. You will start to question your own sanity as you realize you are not quite sure who you are cheering for.

For lovers of twisted horror that touches on the potential insanity of the human psyche, this book is for you! If you read my review, and then you read the book and you are grossed out, disturbed, or upset by the content, don't blame me! You can only blame YOU!
Profile Image for Colleen Hoover.
Author 76 books679k followers
January 7, 2020
I don't normally review books when I've personally slept with the author, and this time is no different. I have never slept with Caroline Kepnes.
You should read YOU.
See what I did there?
That's because you can't read, then!
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,309 reviews44.1k followers
October 16, 2021
They always say the book is always better than its adaptation. Even Kubrick’s Shinning disappointed Stephen King and he told that “the Shining” movie version was like a big, beautiful Cadillac with no engine inside it.

It is always risky to see the adaptions because when the screenwriter turned at least 300 paged books into 100 paged screenplay, editing details and changes about the story’s construction may kill the soul and spirit of the original story. As it happened to Bird Box, remake of Pet Semetary, Under the Dome, Dune, Hunger Games, Dark Tower, The Girl On The Train, Paper Towns, Lovely Bones, My Sister’s Keeper etc. (The list never ends.)

But as soon as I read “You”, too much dislikable characters’ existence exhausted me. Joe’s weak imitation of American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman, his creepy, disturbing narration purely irritated me. I love dark books but I had so many questions why Joe chose Guinevere because she seemed like so superficial, self-sufficient, untrustworthy, spineless character. Even her BFF evil Peach has more spine than her. She is a villanelle and she doesn’t act like decent person.

But when I watch Sera Gamble’s TV adaption, I changed my mind about “the book is always better” myth. (Or mostly it’s a fact!!) Because the series are really better than the book. But the dangerous thing is Penn Badgley became the greatest Joe Goldberg you can imagine. He brought passion, loneliness, kindness to the character and with the connection of little Paco, the screenwriter added the humanity that we’ve been longed for when we’re reading the book. But the dangerous part is we like so much and we root for Joe! So we start to turn into fans of a sociopath killer. Damn! What have you done Penn Badgley?

And TV version of Guinevere turned into a more likable, profound character who is struggling writer.
I think as a book, lack of emotions, profoundness, empathy of the characters and sociopath POV, nerve-bending, stalker narration made me lose my interest for this book. I don’t know I could read the sequel. I think choosing the second season of the adaption by skipping the book might be better option for me!

Profile Image for Kat.
270 reviews80k followers
December 30, 2020
A reread. I wanted to finally get around to watching the show (mostly for Victoria Pedretti in S2, can’t lie).
16 y/o me thought this book was way hotter shit than it actually is, and while there are some good things going on in You, it's definitely not as scandalous/edgy/impressive as I remember.

Caroline Kepnes does a fair job of creating an immersive, unlikeable narrator. I do think the writing gets stuck at times, trying to be as provocative as possible, hence all the erotic tangents. However, the driving force of Joe’s “good guy” act and the constant delusion surrounding his relationship with Beck allows for his inner monologue to not fall too far from its intended effect. The overall execution left me feeling a bit lukewarm the second time around, but the audiobook definitely kept me listening and gave me the refresher I needed.

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Maria.
67 reviews8,579 followers
March 24, 2019
4.2/5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

“The problem with books is that they end.”

Well, well, well. This is me reading the book after I have watched the TV adaptation. "adding gif of shame scene from Game of Thrones". Oh, well. Hang me. But let's talk about the book now. This is an extremely addicting, gripping and engaging book. Don't let the fact that it took me 9 days to finish this book mislead you from how obsessed I was with it, life is just like that. I could finish this book in a day, if I could. This is how fucking catchy it is, like a fucking cold you can't shake off. And that reminds me, it's flu season. Yikes.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

This book is not for everyone. It's violent, it's sexual, it's manipulative, it's appalling, it might be too much for you. But if you're a person like me, who can fucking watch anything and everything and won't be bothered by fucking nothing. then you have found your book. The fact that Joe is talking in second person, to Beck, is making this book a lot more creepy and stalky. Hence the way I'm gonna be talking in this review.

What amazes me in this book is how fucking normal Joe seems to appear to the world. If we saw the story from Beck's POV, we would fall in love with him as she did. He's a good looking guy who works in a bookstore (yummy), he's funny, he's charismatic, he knows his shit. And beyond everything else... a creepy stalking psychotic killer. This character reminds me of Ted Bundy and now I'm fucking scared. Joe is a character who you want to hate but you can't, at some points. You just feel sorry for him and it's fucking frustrating and wrong. So wrong. But you can't shake this feeling. And that's how good the author portrayed the character.

When it comes to Beck, the rose of Joe's life, I ain't buying it. The bitch pissed me off. She treats people like garbage, she's shallow, egotistical, selfish, and she's never short of an excuse about the shitty and irresponsible shit she's pulling. I can't understand what Joe saw in her. Maybe he saw his flawed self in her. Everyone who is obsessed with Beck, seem to be people with issues.

I want to talk about the TV show now, and the differences from the book. There are obviously characters and storylines that were included in the TV show that didn't exist in the book and vice versa. But I believe, what the show lacked the book provided and backwards. The whole storyline with Paco and his malfunctioning family didn't exist in the book, and I believe this was a weakness of the book. This character, this little kid really showed us that Joe had a good side beside all his issues. That he wanted to help someone, without having to get something out of it. It was sweet. Also, Candace is dead in the book. Which makes me wonder, what the fuck is left to happen in the next book? I guess I'll find out when I eventually read it. Furthermore, Beck never saw Joe at the Dicken's festival and he never met her family. Which was a scene that I wanted in the book, to be honest. In addition, in the book they didn't have a relationship right away. In the TV show, they started dating right after the dreaded "8 seconds" (LMFAO). In the book, it took lots of time for the blinding fucking to commence. This is television, I guess. There were some other differences that I don't think are worth mentioning. I think the show was quicker and had more storylines just because it's TV, whereas the book was a tad bit slower. Which didn't bother me in the least.

The last 100 pages man. My heartbeat was at God limits. Those last 100 pages, showed exactly how sick and delusional Joe is. He honestly thought Beck was in the wrong just because "she snooped at his stuff". He thought she would wanna be with him because this is how a man shows his love. He wanted to showcase his killings, his bordeline obsession, his unrelenting stalking. His thoughts throughout those last few pages frightened me to death. The author did a marvelous job in the horror aspect.

Overall, I truly enjoyed this book. It was obsessive, steamy, funny, sick and motherfucking incredible. I would recommend it to people who can handle shit being thrown raw at them, so be cautious before starting it. When I got time, I plan on rewatching the show... or maybe I'll do it when season 2 comes out. Don't know, will decide. But I definitely plan on visiting the next book, even though I have no idea what the fuck is left to happen. Anyways! Till the next one K BYE!
Profile Image for emma.
1,869 reviews54.6k followers
December 4, 2021
reread this book just armed with the knowledge that I can picture Joe Goldberg as Penn Badgley

(lowered to a 4.5 upon reread)


On the last day of 2017, here's the full review of my last favorite of the year.


I only know one way to like music. That is when you hear a song and you’re instantly like, Holy shit this is THE SONG, and then you are fully unable to listen to any other music, everything else pales in comparison, you can only listen to this one song on an endless loop until you’re eventually so sick of it that you can’t even listen to it for approximately twelve calendar months.

I’m currently in this cycle with the song “You,” by the 1975. (Which, as a side-note, is a band I refuse to listen to purposefully because I find it really pretentious and I think their fans are super like, Oh, you like a song by the 1975? That’s cute. I knew about them before their EP released. Yeah I picked up a conch shell that washed up on the shores of northern England and I listened to it and out from it emerged the dulcet tones of pre-label signing the 1975.)

It’s really inconvenient to use “the 1975” in a sentence. Inconsiderate band-naming: add it to the list of why I’ll never be an intentional fan of theirs.


All of that is to say that the same-named song to this book added to the already-heady experience of reading this book.

And boy was it heady.

I am really hard on all books. My average rating for 2017 was 2.7, which is truly dismal. I’m aware of that. I’m probably cynical and bitter and I’m definitely critical, it’s true. But it’s all especially true when it comes to thrillers.

I only like thrillers if they scare me. And, as someone who is scared of heights and things jumping out at me and walking at night and murderers and mice and robberies and bugs touching me and germs and the alarm system in my apartment that randomly, arbitrarily speaks in a robotic woman’s voice, it doesn’t seem like that’d be a high bar to reach.

But books rarely scare me! And the amazing, fabulous, world-changing and life-redefining news is this book creeped the sh*t out of me.

Caroline Kepnes is a genius. She figured out something basic and elemental and applicable: People are the most scared when they think that a scary thing - even if it’s not the scariest possible thing - could happen to them.

And what happened in You is creepy and sometimes disgusting and visceral and awful...and so, so, so, so possible.

We follow Joe. Joe is a man in his mid-to-late twenties who works in a bookstore. He loves to read; he’s kind of technologically disengaged; he’s a bit pretentious and New York born-and-bred; he’s a high school dropout but pretty consistently the smartest guy in the room.

Kind of a dream guy on paper, if I’m being totally honest.

One day, a woman walks into the bookstore - she’s exactly Joe’s Natalie Portman-esque type. They flirt at the register. It’s a totally normal interaction.

Except then Joe looks at the name on the credit card. And he Googles. And he stalks Twitter, and Facebook, and Google Maps, and he knows her address and her friends and her plans and where she’ll be and who she is and where she went to college and her job and he can read her writing and he has access to hundreds of pictures and her favorite movie and the books she loves.

Even easier because this girl, Beck, always has her windows open in her safe neighborhood full of the unsuspicious rich.

So Joe pursues Beck. It’s just a little simpler, because he can read her emails and visit her therapist and buy club soda from her druggie old-money lover.

This book is, in other words, a nightmare.

I’d imagine it’s really polarizing. This book exposes a lot about what might shame us. It’s hard to admit that sometimes you catch yourself rooting for Joe. It’s even harder to admit what you’d do if you were Beck. Because for me: I’d flirt with the guy at the bookstore register. I’d be pleasantly surprised to see him coincidentally later. I’d be flattered by the extent to which he’s into me. It’s really doubtful that I’d ever suspect him of hoarding my old phone or stealing my high school yearbook.

Which is to say: I’d fall for Joe, and his traps.

And what could be scarier than that?

Bottom line: One of the best thrillers. Period.

Happy new year, gang.




review to come when my thoughts come in actual phrases
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
316 reviews115k followers
October 6, 2018
Wow, this read was a trip! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve read something so psychologically twisted but I am ever so pleased.

CW: violence, murder, stalking, drug abuse

I’ve known You was a polarizing novel since it first reached my radar, and I can definitely confirm this is not a book for everyone. You is filled with characters ranging from flawed to downright disturbed. Throughout the story, it’s easy to feel compelled to sympathize with these characters until you have to remind yourself of all the shitty things they do to stop yourself. It is immensely though-provoking while remaining entertaining. It was a book I truly could not get myself to put down.

I think the choice of second-person narration was PERFECT for this story. Second-person can be difficult to successfully execute, but Caroline Kepnes is such a talented writer. Especially listening to the audiobook and having someone TELL ME how they are stalking me really added to the story. (The narrator’s cadence was flawless and I would 1000% recommend the audio version.) Kepnes truly captured the mind of a stalker, while also allowing him to remain human, which was an immensely creepy and twisted experience to unpack.

My only gripe with this story is I found it predictable all-throughout. Once the dynamic between Joe and Beck was established, it was not difficult to assume every major plot point to occur. The ending was also so painfully obvious. I do recognize the message that comes with it, but I really wish the author had decided to do something unique.

You is a novel unlike many others. If you have a penchant for the morbid and taboo parts of our society, this is a story I would absolutely recommend.
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,195 followers
September 18, 2020
4 stars

One of the most thrilling books I have ever read. Quite enjoyed it, yet didn't like the ending at all. I liked that the characters were very complex and not 2 dimensional. Will definitely check the second book soon.
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,606 reviews5,991 followers
June 4, 2015
There aren't a lot of Guinevere Becks in the world-just the one. The first thing I had to find was your home and the Internet was designed with love in mind. It gave me so much of you, Beck.

So starts Joe's little love fest with Beck. After she comes into the bookstore that he works at he feels their connection so strongly that he knows she feels the same. Even if she hasn't realized that fact yet.
Joe might be a tad psycho. That's okay though, he is the best stalker psycho I've ever had the privilege to read about!

(Like you guys ever thought I stopped to hide my crazy)

Joe must get this love story rolling so he makes sure to get hold of Beck's phone. Hey, he has to be able to keep up with how their relationship is going to go. Or how she still feels about that pesky, now missing boyfriend of hers.
I think of the way you e-mailed your friends about me, the way you talked more about the fact that I rescued you than the fact that you're obsessed with me, so obsessed that you had to pretend you didn't remember me.

She was pretending Joe. I know it.

Now who else but someone that truly loves Beck is going to make sure her best girl friend that wants to put the moves on her is watched? Doesn't she know she is using her?

Who else is going to watch Beck as she continues to throw herself at men and lie to people? (Little Beck is not so perfect herself.)

Then when Beck finds that used tampon that Joe saved because he loves her so..well that's just crazy that she thought he was nutso.

I almost hate to admit how much I loved this crazy ass book, but I'm doing it. My freak flag is flying high. I liked Joe much better than I did his whiny ass victim too! There, I said it.
I mean dang..Joe admits that Prince is one of the world's greatest poet's!! How can you not love him?

Pre-read rant here:
My normal besties that do buddy reads with my hateful arse have already read this one without me..yes I'm always the bridesmaid and never the bride..You can troll their reviews for me here read without shelby number one and read without shelby number two

Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews116k followers
November 6, 2019
A ridiculous, nonsensical string of events paired with clunky writing like if Catcher in the Rye were written as bad erotica. I truly don't understand the point of this book other than to be gimmicky.
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
June 29, 2015
I don't even want to know what kind of research needed to be done to write this novel. The ending left a pretty big plot berg, but YOU was strangely addictive. What's even more strange was how Kepnes somehow got me to both root for Joe and be disgusted with him and myself simultaneously. Excuse me, I need to shower.
Profile Image for Candace.
1,176 reviews4,334 followers
November 1, 2016
Brilliant! This book was unlike anything I've ever read before. I enjoyed every minute of this deranged story.

Welcome to the mind of Joe, a seemingly normal guy that works in a bookshop. However, there is nothing normal about Joe. His mind is a fascinating place to be, turning brief encounters into meaningful events and even, obsessions. He's a stalker, a murderer and the most candidly honest character that I've ever crossed.

The thing about Joe is that his craziness sucks you in. I loved Joe and all of his totally inappropriate behaviors. I found myself laughing my ass off at his brutally honest inner monologues on people and society in general. I kept thinking, "Am I supposed to be laughing so much?"

As Joe fixates on Beck, he finds ways to infiltrate her life. He stalks her, invades her most private moments and thoughts. He even eliminates those that would bring her down.

There's no denying that he's bat-shit crazy. However, I still loved him. I never thought I'd be able to connect with a character like Joe, but I couldn't get enough of him.

I listened to the Audible version and it was phenomenal! The narrator did a superb job. I'm not sure I would've loved it as much if I had read the kindle version. He really brought a lot to the story.

It did take me a little time to get into this book. Joe was unlike any character I'd ever encountered and his inner rants took some getting used to. He grew on me quickly though, becoming a favorite character of mine in no time.

If you're looking for something suspenseful, creepy, mysterious and a little quirky, look no further! This is a great read!
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,483 reviews7,780 followers
October 19, 2020
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Re-read October 2020: If you know me you know I'm not typically one to do a re-read. Buuuuuuuuuut when I was lucky enough to have my "wish" granted over on NetGalley for the latest Joe and was about 20 pages into it I decided I wanted to experience all of the crazy again. The only thing I have to say for this new review:



Commercial Photography

Before I even get started, let me say this is not a book for everyone. Hell, it might not be a book for anyone except for Snotchocheez and myself. There is no middle-ground to be had here. This book is offensive and the characters are all vile and I expect opinions to be extremely polarized. And I totally respect that . . . but please have the decency to not troll my review and tell me how wrong I am or that I’m a pscyho. I’m already aware of those facts. Now on with the show . . .

You walk in to the bookstore where I work. Rather than picking up the shitty Dan Brown’s and other bestsellers that all the no-brainers are reading, you choose Spalding Gray and Paula Fox. You’re not only attractive – very reminiscent of Natalie Portman – you’re also intelligent. And as we exchange pleasantries while I’m checking you out (your books, that is), you prove to be witty as well. “If we were teenagers, I could kiss you. But I’m on a platform behind a counter wearing a name tag and we’re too old to be young. Night moves don’t work in the morning, and the light pours in through the window.” So you take your bag and go on your way . . . and I take a glance at your credit card receipt before shoving it through the cash drawer. “Guinevere Beck” – an usual name. “You are Charlotte’s Web and I could love you.” “The internet was designed with love in mind. It gave me so much of you . . .”

So there you have it. Joe is a stalker - a textbook example of the scariest version of one at that. He sets his sights on Beck and is willing to do anything to make her his. And I really loved him. No, not in the “boy do I wish I had some fucked up weirdo in my life who would break into my house and sniff my underpants” (I've been married to that guy for a long time now *rimshot*) kind of love him, but I couldn’t stop reading his story. Caroline Kepnes managed not only to write the most revolting character I’ve ever loved (move over, Herman Koch, you ain’t got nothin’ on this gal), but on top of it all she wrote the book from Joe's perspective. I hate that . . . but I loved this book.

Kepnes even managed to make me forget Joe was a total psycho on occasion. At times he was so relatable, and his opinions were spot-on . . . like when he and Beck went on an IKEA shopping spree together:

“Life at IKEA is not like life at IKEA in the movies. It’s a dystopian nightmare come true where all furniture is cut from the same hunk of cheap-ass wood, where all rooms were furnished with items that came out of the exact same factory at the exact same time. It smells like body odor and Febreze and baby shit and farts and meatballs and nail polish and more baby shit – doesn’t anyone get a babysitter anymore? – and it is loud.”

Joe is the only man I know who not only willingly references 500 Days of Summer, but dreams he could have a magical IKEA moment like JGL and Zoey Deschanel had in that movie . . .

Commercial Photography

Through all the crazy (and let me tell you there is A LOT of crazy), I held out hope for Joe – just like he held out hope for himself.

“Happiness is believing that you’re gonna be happy. It’s hope.”

And for a bit it looked like things might work out (after all – Beck was no prize in the normal department herself).

“We are a dream couple, we are what happens after Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks finally kiss, after cancer-free Joe Gordon-Levitt and sweet shrink-in-training Anna Kendrick eat their pizza in 50/50. We are Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke after U2 finishes singing 'All I Want Is You'.”

Commercial Photography

But then Beck discovers his secret . . . in the form of a used tampon he saved - along with other not-so-normal keepsakes - and I realized there was never going to be a normal. And that I’m probably going to be considered certifiable for even admitting I enjoyed this book – let alone wishing for some kind of happy ending. I admit it. I’m nuts. This book made me crazy. It turned wrong into right and bad into good and I couldn’t stop reading it. I was mesmerized. It gets 5 Stars and it’s easily going down as one of the Top 10 books I read in 2014.

All I can think now is that it’s weird enough to admit to loving a story like this, but to be Caroline Kepnes and actually have this thing COME OUT OF YOUR BRAIN???? Oh, she has to be the most delicious weirdo I’d ever care to meet. Her writing is brilliant and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
July 1, 2018
…the problem with books is that they end. They seduce you. They spread their legs to you and pull you inside. And you go deep and leave your possessions and your ties to the world at the door and you like it inside and you don't want for your possessions or your ties and then, the book evaporates.

this was recommended to me by eeeeeveryone a few years back when it seemed a little cult was being formed around this book, and i'd been meaning to read it for a long time; so long, in fact, that i'd forgotten i had already bought a digital copy on my NOOK and then much later went out and bought a paperback copy like a fool. and when i found myself conscripted for jury duty and in need of something that was going to be entertaining enough to block out the noise of the game shows they play so loudly in the jury duty waiting room (WHY DO YOU DO THIS, JURY DUTY, WHYYYY??), i figured this would be a good choice, and i could finally see what all the fuss was about.

and it absolutely delivered what i needed - family feud did not stand a chance against this extremely immersive tale of obsession and crime and unpleasant people colliding.

however, all of you people who told me i was going to "fall in love with joe," you have officially lost all rights to set me up on blind dates should i ever require that sort of service. and if you yourself fell in love with him, i think i should stage an intervention on you. because while he is certainly … devoted to the object of his desire, he's pretty shitty boyfriend material. yes, i appreciate that he's a bookperson, and there's appeal to someone whose declarations of love are so in line with my own interests:

I want to bring you all the books in the world…

and i appreciate some of his observations and attitudes, but all the window-peeping and social media violations and kidnapping and murder and desperate neediness tied to email and text response-time - those are less attractive qualities when i'm looking for a mate.

although he's not wrong about some things, and we could probably be friends, if not lovers:

-Work in a bookstore and learn that most people in this world feel guilty about being who they are.

-If people could handle their self-loathing, customer service would be smoother.

-Life at IKEA is not like life at IKEA in the movies.

-What's the only thing more sexless than lunch? Brunch, a meal invented by rich white chicks to rationalize day drinking and bingeing on French toast.

although i had to HHMPH at his comment about rhode island:

(nowhere is far from anywhere in a state this small)

i also really like the fact that he has no illusions about beck; he acknowledges her many flaws and his 'love' for her is clear-eyed without any pedestal idealization:

-You tweet more often than you write and this could be why you're getting your MFA from the New School and not from Columbia.

-…I know you so well, Beck. You are charisma, you are sick, and for some reason you are a magnet for weak, spineless people...

the best thing about this book is its breezy tone. it's not an intense nailbiting horror story of an innocent woman victimized by a deluded stalker who believes they are cosmically meant to be. beck is such a shitty person, you never really see her as a victim, and since this is told in second person, through joe's perspective, it's easy to sympathize with him despite his many transgressions. even in its darkest scenes, it's a funny book, very reminiscent of bret easton ellis, who is winkingly referenced within the text along with many many other books; another reason this is so popular with all the booknerds. we do love our own kind.

apart from the humor and the booksnark, i enjoyed kepnes' treatment of social class and stratification. i know, zzzzzzz, right? and it's only a minor point, but i was struck by beck's sort of trickle-down slummery; she's from nantucket, known for inspiring rude limericks and, like most island or coastal locales in new england, home to a wildly uneven distribution of wealth between its townie and tourist populations. beck is one of the former:

You hail from farmers and you're fond of saying that you don't have "a place" on Nantucket, but that your family made a home there.

and yet her friendships and relationships are with those far wealthier; toxic people like peach and benji, who embody the "careless people" that populate The Great Gatsby:

You are the townie and Benji is the tourist who literally enters you and uses you as a vacation from the wear and tear of the artisanal club soda business only to dump you before Labor Day… Your emotional livelihood is a demented seasonal economy where Labor Day is every other fucking day.


He rents you out, the same way he rents loft space on SoBro (South Bronx to those of us who don't need to make up bullshit pet names for neighborhoods where we're not wanted.)

but with joe, the solidly middle-class beck is the one dating down - with a bookstore clerk from bed-stuy sneered at by peach for his humble background:

"I read that people are starting to move there," she says. "I hope gentrification doesn't destroy all the local color."

wealth isn't a major preoccupation in the book, but it surfaces in interesting ways, particularly for those of us all-too-familiar with the careless values of the easily-monied young new arrivals to these fine boroughs, foisting their pickleback shots and novelty club sodas upon us and steadily driving up our rents. and joe's… interactions with them are wholly satisfying and another reason to applaud this antihero.

it's a really fun book. i don't think i loved it quite as much as the rabid joe cultists, but it was very engrossing, darkly funny, surprising, and truly entertaining.

it was also much more erotic than i'd been anticipating, which became a bit awkward when i realized the woman sitting next to me in our jury duty limbo was totally reading along with me during one of these saucy parts and i wanted to shout "IT'S NOT PORN!! IT'S JUST THIS ONE PART!!! JUST WATCH THE FAMILY FEUD, YA PERV!"

i'm looking forward to reading Hidden Bodies.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,536 reviews9,960 followers
October 30, 2017
This was a re-read on audio and it went from 5 stars to 3 stars for me. And it WASN'T because of the audio! And FYI: This book has explicit sexual situations and other stuff.

I wanted to kill everyone in this book this time around!

I mean Joe (the stalker is not the only nut job) the girl he latched onto, I hated and I hated her friend!
They were all bat shit nuts!! Right off the farm people!

I still have it 3 stars because I think the author did a fantastic job with Joe the stalker. You hated him but you also couldn't get enough of what he was going to do next.

And I didn't like the second book at all. It wasn't like this one. It was kinda tame and pointless. I don't see myself re-reading this book again. My time with Joe is complete. 😊


Mel ❤️


Old 5 Star Review

OMG! This book! Why did I wait so long to read it! It was just sitting there in my stacks for me to pick up!!! And there is to be another one!

Lets start! Joe....... he is a wackadoo! You do not want this guy as a stalker! You do not want to get in the way of this guy if you are a threat to the person he is stalking!

He is in love/lust/stalker mode with Beck and she is a weirdo to start. She has a lot of issues with men, sex, her father. Not sex with her father, just her father not loving her. And Joe stalks the crap out of her until he gets her finally to love him.

But.... she finds out all of these creepy things he has been doing. I'm not giving out any spoilers because whoever is reading my review needs to read this book! Now I am all creeped out thinking more about stalkers and what they can actually find out from you so easily.

Joe knows how to work his way into your life. If he gets something of yours then you are toast. He is in!! He is in all of your stuff! He takes hacking and stalking to a whole new level.

I loved this book and hated it too. I can't even explain it. The book is so well written and just freaky that I am at a loss for words. I mean Joe just gets away with so much stuff and it's all legit. Just read it people, seriously. You may not love it because we are not all the same, but it will trip you out. And you will want to smack a few people, but whatever, just read it :)

I can't wait to read the next one!!!!
Profile Image for Kristin (KC).
251 reviews25.1k followers
February 6, 2017
Full review posted

*4 stars for plot--5 stars for writing*

It’s been 16 minutes and 4 hours since I’ve finished reading this lunatic of a book—and although I am scared and disturbed and feeling straight-up icky, I’m also outrageously impressed.

With the exception of certain scenarios appearing just a bit too fitting and orchestrated (e.g. multiple persons failing to put pass codes on their phones so a certain stalker can do his job with ease), I think this book was pretty damn amazing.

For me, it was the writing. This author has captured the nature of a stalker (from what I can only assume, since I am not one), brilliantly.

We are wedged straight inside the head of Joe, whose internal dialogue aims to make your skin crawl and eyes widen in disbelief. And yet…he can be slightly charming at times, and his psychotic thoughts—although choppy and drenched in delusion—are often hilarious.

However, make no mistake—this is not a romance novel. And Joe is not sexy, at least not for me. But he is so real and convincing and constant. His character continues to sink in a downward spiral until there is nothing more left to pity. His issues are not glamorized, and neither are the deep-rooted flaws of the rest of the cast.

This story isn't one I’d revisit in the future, although I am glad to have read it. It left me in a sort of dark mood for hours after reading, but emotional side effects are the marks of a job well done. Would definitely recommend to readers who are in it for thrills, not frills! ;-)
Profile Image for Meredith (Trying to catch up!).
815 reviews12.7k followers
March 31, 2019
“This is what love looks like.”

In a f*cked up way, I enjoyed my time with Joe!

Since I am so late to the game, and much has already been written about You, I am going to to use Beck's words to sum up my thoughts:
“pyscholoonnutjobfreakassholesickocreep...depraved, twisted pantyhoarding creep.”
Profile Image for Maxwell.
1,174 reviews8,391 followers
August 24, 2015
Okay, this book is really, really hard for me to rate. Because plot-wise it was engaging, addictive, and thoroughly thrilling. I had to find out what happened next. And it was so twisted and sick and entertaining.

But content-wise, there were a lot of problems I had with this book. I have a really hard time with how explicit and violent it was; it makes me hesitant to recommend to people. There were definitely points in the story that I was disturbed and a bit offended. The writing is unique and fits the story really well. It's written in the 2nd person, so it's as if Joe, the narrator, is talking directly to you. But it wasn't at all pretty writing. In fact, there were quite a few times I rolled my eyes at how ridiculous he sounded.

Also, I'm not sure if I was just ill-informed or if the book is incorrectly categorized, but this book definitely borders on erotica at times, which I'm not a fan of. If I had known that, I probably wouldn't have read it, since I'm just not interested in reading that kind of stuff.

So knowing all that, I'd say reading this is definitely up to your discretion. It was entertaining, but I could've gone without reading it at the end of the day.
Profile Image for James.
Author 20 books3,727 followers
November 28, 2018
4 out of 5 stars to You, the first of a two-book thriller and suspense series, written in 2014 by Caroline Kepnes. All I can start out with is wow - I loved it! I've tried to pull out all spoilers, but I do give a little bit of the high-level plot and antics away, as I think it will make you want to read it more.

Why This Book
My friend Medhat asked if I’d be interested in a buddy read with him and proposed 5 different books. I’d read 1 already, didn’t have an interest in 1 of them, and 2 were a re-read for him, which left this one as something new for both of us. So we went with it… I knew nothing about the author or the novel prior to him bringing it up, and I’m grateful he did. I had been in a slight reading slump and this book was extremely refreshing and strong, directly in my sweet spot as far as genres and styles go. Please go check out Medhat's profile and look at his review of this book.

Plot, Characters & Setting
Joe runs a bookstore on the Lower East Side of NYC, sort of inheriting it from the man who basically adopted him as a boy from parents who weren’t doing a very good job at raising him. Joe’s witty, sarcastic and on the edge of being a little psychotic for his 25-30ish years. Guinivere Beck, known simply as Beck, stops in his store to make a purchase, and Joe immediately falls in love…. No that’s not the right word… obsession, yeah… falls into an obsession...that’s the right word… with her. He stalks her social media profiles, learns everything he can about her, then engineers the downfall of her on again / off again jerk of a boyfriend. He tries to isolate Beck from her friends and create situations where they keep running into another until she finally decides to pursue him. They begin dating for a few weeks and have a very peculiar relationship where they take steps to get closer, then she pulls away and looks for her ex-boyfriend. After a few weeks of the back-and-forth, some major event take place that show Joe’s true colors… and eventually we learn just how broken Beck also is. When one of them attempts to break off the relationship, the other goes berserk and takes the situation to an entirely new level of crazy. As the book comes to an end, a dramatic conclusion forces a major plot change and probably begins the focus for the second book in the series, which as a nice little teaser for you… is called Hidden Bodies. {Phew… this is a hard one to describe without giving any spoilers}

Beyond Joe and Beck, you’ve got an ex-girlfriend of Joe’s and an ex-boyfriend of Beck’s. Beck’s psychiatrist enters the picture for a good chunk of the book, as well as her friend, Peach. Peach is an annoying and pompous witch (I have another word in mind but I'll be nice today) who is almost more psychotic than Joe. Joe’s got a few workers at the book store who interact from time to time, as well as a cop intervening for a few chapters.

The action mostly takes place in NYC, but there are a few short trips to Rhode Island and other parts of the immediate vicinity. It all takes place in current times, where social media and technology are very important to the plot and character actions.

Approach & Style
The book is told from Joe’s point of view, as he is the narrator which means it’s told in a first-person perspective. However, the big difference in this book is that Joe is telling the story as if the reader is Beck, constantly referring to her as “You” throughout the book. As a reader, you start feeling like everything he’s doing, he’s doing to you. And when your character, Beck, makes decisions or reacts in an unexpected way, it’s a roller-coaster of fun trying to balance your amusement and your frustration with your anger and your confusion. All in a good approach. I haven’t really read much else using this perspective, and it was done in a very strong way.
The book is about 400 pages and broken into about 50 chapters, so each one is relatively short but consistent in its narration, style and language. The language is a bit convoluted at times, as they are both avid readers and writers, work in a book store and get quite philosophical. It’s definitely a 17+ book in the sense that there are many 4-letter word bombs and extensive sexual content. Some will find it on the vulgar side, and while it certainly had a few moments where it was on the edge, I thought the author only included such content when it felt appropriate.

Due to the style, you are immediately drawn into Joe’s psychotic attraction and dangerous personality. However… there is something so wonderful and charming about him, you want to look past the stalker he becomes, as he has a heart of hold. And when Beck begins to show signs of being venomous, you almost don’t mind some of the things he does to or against her, in spite of their growing attraction and relationship. It’s truly like watching a train wreck, knowing you can’t really stop it, but kinda wanting to see every little gory detail as it unfolds.

Joe is so crystal clear, you would think he’s standing right next you. Beck is almost as real as he is, but given Joe narrates the story, you tend to feel closer to him. For an author to make you almost root for the bad guy, it’s a good book. The interaction, the imagination, the internal thoughts, the passive-aggressive behavior… it’s all so spot-on, I can’t even begin to explain how real this situation seems to play out, with the exception of he’s a stalker and basically invaded her life. If they had just met and gotten into a relationship, everything from that point on felt 100% real – from their fights to their make-up sessions, as well as from the games they played and the way in which their friends took sides. Amazing slice of life to watch play out.

The last few chapters felt a bit rushed. It was quite suspenseful and you could see the whole sequence of events unfolding in real-time before your eyes; however, because it’s all from Joe’s point of view, I’m unsure exactly how much Beck knows in those last few chapters. She clearly articulates that she was aware of what he had done before she told him she knew about it. But you don’t know how much of a preview she had into his psychotic mind, or if she was happy or scared with it. {Again, sorry, don’t want to give away any spoilers} For me, I would have loved to read a journal entry she’d written saying exactly what she knew and when she knew it. Otherwise, we’re left guessing a little bit, and having that information may help us decide whether or not she’s a good person or a bad person.

Joe gets away with a lot. He’s sneaky. He’s smart. He’s vengeful. He’s manipulative. But it seems no one picks up on it until too late. I can pretty much buy off on it; however, in the scenes where he is caught, I can’t tell if it’s remorse or anger. I would love to know if he wanted to be caught, if he accepts the consequences or if he is just growing more volatile. It’s a pretty clear ending to the book, so you know when it’s done what is going on in his head, but it would have been fantastic to watch him spiral a bit more out of control in the last 20% of the novel.

Author & Other Similar Books
As far as the way the story is told, I can’t think of anything. As far as the type of story, perhaps Fatal Attraction? Joe also feels like a diabolical version of a narcissistic Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye. Loveable and annoying, but be careful as you never know what he’s truly capable of until after it’s already happened.

Questions & Final Thoughts
I need to read the second book ASAP. This is such a different kind of story… one where you may side with the criminal in this story. You see both perspectives. You want him to get everything he deserves – both the good and the bad. And in some strange way, I think I was even attracted to parts of his personality (and that’s scary, given how the book ends up). If you need something to pull you out of a slump, this is the book. It’s still sitting on my brain, as vivid as though I were reading the words on the page. It’s that kind of book… one where you will want to keep thinking about it and talking about it for a long time after you are done.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Profile Image for Justin.
284 reviews2,302 followers
August 22, 2015
You wrote this book, and I saw it all over the place. You grabbed my attention with what looked like a cross between The Collector and American Psycho. I couldn't find your book anywhere, but I was able to land an inter-library loan and get my hands on it. I rushed to the library, but they were closed. I walked away with my head down, disappointed. All I could think about was you and your book which was called You and was written by you. You devil, you.

The next day I got my hands on your book and read through the first one-hundred pages or so pretty quickly. It was amazing. It was fresh and hip and a little dark. This guy, Joe, that you created was great. I loved the beginning of your story. I loved how hip you were with your social commentary on books, authors, music, and especially social media. I was captivated by the story and where it was going, but then it got there.

You took me halfway through this story with these messed up characters, and I was into it, man. I couldn't put it down even though I was really starting to become distracted by all the graphic language and erotic stuff you were throwing into the story. Then, you doubled down on that stuff so when your story flattened out in the middle it felt like you were just relying on all these big girl words you kept throwing around and sexual situations. Neither of these things added a thing to the story you wanted to tell, but you kept forcing it down my throat.

You distracted me from what had potential to be a great story. Halfway through your book, you really lost steam. Joe wasn't the same as he was at the beginning, and everything worked out too conveniently for him. I couldn't feel anything for Beck either so I was left not caring about either of them or what happened to them. And then more vulgar crap and stupid scenes that just ruined it.

Your book was like the first part of a roller coaster where you had me all in slowly taking me up the incline, but then you dropped me too fast and the thrill was quickly gone. I can't recommend this book to anyone. I wanted to. I really wanted to. I wanted to like it more than I did. Why did you have to go and ruin everything?

But your book You which was written by you has made you very successful, and you have a huge fan base who is waiting for you to release the next book in the You series written by you. I added your next book to my to-be-read shelf, but I now have no desire to read it.

Thank you.
Profile Image for Hannah Azerang.
130 reviews98.4k followers
October 27, 2016
Reading this was like watching a crossover episode between Criminal Minds and Law and Order: SVU told from the criminal’s perspective.

I loved every second of it.
Profile Image for Riley.
429 reviews21.7k followers
August 17, 2015
Video Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFFkt...

This book will not be for everyone. You will either love it or hate it. Obviously I loved it. This book messed with my mind so much and made me see things in a whole new light. We live in an age where our whole lives are one click away on the internet. Anyone can find out anything about you. We have no privacy. Our lives are documented on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, ect. Joe, the main character, uses the internet and social media to his advantage, not only to learn everything he can about a girl he met, but to also insert himself so far into her life that she cannot escape him. This book really made me take a closer look at how much of myself I leave on the internet and how easy it would be for someone like Joe to worm his way into my life.

The characters in this book are what really made it fascinating to me. Every single character is vile. Let’s start with Joe. I kind of want to hate Caroline Kepnes for making me love Joe. Yes he is revolting and sick. But I found myself sympathizing with him. And there were entire chunks of the book where I would forget who he really is and find myself thinking he is great. Then BAM! He would break into Beck’s house and sniff her underwear. And I think that is was creeps me out most about this book. To everyone around him, Joe is a normal decent guy. But being in his head we get to see every depraved thought he has. In theory Joe could be anyone around you and you would never know.

Beck was a basket-case. And I hated her. I never really understood her motives or her way of thinking. And that’s possibly due to the fact that, although Joe thought he knew her extremely well, he really didn’t know her at all. And since the book is told from his POV we only see Beck through Joe’s eyes. And it’s terrible but I hated the way she treated Joe. WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME. I know I know. But I found myself thinking he deserved better. Which is insane.

The writing in this book is amazing. It’s written in second person, which I have never been a fan of. But I can’t imagine this story being told any other way. It is also in present tense, so it feels less like I am being told a story and more like I am actually experiencing it. The genre of this novel is hard to place. It is not a contemporary and not quite a thriller, but something entirely new and amazing.

This story was captivating and something I think will only come around once. HIGHLY recommend.
Profile Image for Esil.
1,118 reviews1,363 followers
February 13, 2016
Oh, you are clever, aren’t you, Ms. Kepnes. Clever like a fox. But I’ve got your number. I’ll be watching you. That little book you wrote “You” is really not my kind of book – and you knew that. A book written from the perspective of a male stalker? Please! So trashy, so icky. There was no way I was going to read that book. But then you started setting traps to lure me. You planted some Goodreads reviews written by some of my friends – people you know I trust and respect. You had them raving about your book; they talked about how surprised they were at how much they liked it and they even confessed to having sympathy for Joe the stalker. They gave it 4 stars and even 5 stars. Have you no shame? How could you manipulate people like that? But of course you have no shame. You preyed on my weaknesses. You cast Joe as a bookstore clerk – giving you lots of room for literary references – and even some film references for good measure. And you added plenty of satirical humour – mocking the young overeducated underemployed New York crowd that Beck – Joe’s prey – hangs out with. You made Joe so hapless that it was hard not to have a twinge of sympathy for him. And you knew I would shut my eyes tight if there was too much graphic violence -- so you really toned it down and kept it light. And the killer is that, knowing one of my particular idiosyncratic weaknesses, you wrote “You” from a second person perspective. Your wily tricks got me this time Ms Kepnes, but, as I said, I’ve got your number now. I’ll be watching you. I won’t let you get away with it next time. Yup, I'll be reading your next book just to make sure you're not up to your sneaky ways again.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
720 reviews1,116 followers
March 20, 2019
4.5 stars to this fucked up thriller!
Joe is a stalker. A creepy obsessive psycho who genuinely believes he is always in the right and that he deserves the best.
When Beck walks into his bookshop he is immediately smitten. His desire quickly turns to obsession as he stalks her both online and in real life. He follows her on nights out, and even watches her when she is in her apartment.
As he finds ways to insert himself into her life they form a relationship. Joe thinks they belong together, and will do whatever it takes to stay in Beck's life - even if that means removing any and all competitors and distractions.

As this book is told entirely from Joe's perspective, we see how he justifies his actions. He doesn't even believe what he is doing is wrong, just a means to an end. This was a unique way of telling the story as at times Joe is relatable, and even funny. Then you need to catch yourself to remember that this guy is actually a head case. It is also interesting as I found Beck's character really irritating, but again that doesn't mean she deserves any of it, she is the victim in this.

I saw one review compared being inside Joe's head to being inside Humbert's in Lolita; but I can't say I agree. I could not stomach Lolita whatsoever, I found Humbert truly sickening. And I guess it depends on the reader and whether you can compare pedophilia with Joe's crimes in You. I'm not defending Joe's behaviour - he is reprehensible. But, whilst reading You, particularly when Joe and Beck are in their relationship - there is nothing overtly wrong there. Granted the way he got to their relationship was wrong, and the other crimes he committed while in this relationship cannot be excused, but he is not constantly vile all the time. Whereas I found the thought processes of Humbert to be disgusting all the time. He is never not a pedophile. He is never once not thinking of acting on his awful desires. Again this may be different for different readers, but I couldn't compare the sickening crime of pedophilia with Joe's character here.

Very sexually explicit, with loads of swearing, so bear that in mind if that isn't for you. Overall I was gripped, I needed to know what would happen, and it was a good and shocking ending. I can't wait to pick up the sequel!


What in the ever-loving fuck was this mental rollercoaster of a book?!
January 13, 2023

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Edit: it's becoming a TV show?! Yessssss 😎

I love how it says "Praise for You" on the back of the book. Praise for me? Aww, you shouldn't have!

When aspiring author, Guinevere Beck, strides into a secondhand bookstore she has no idea that she's setting the wheels of something utterly terrible in motion. That's because the owner of said bookstore, Joe Goldberg, is a card-carrying psychopath who will do anything - ANYTHING - to get what he wants.

And he's just decided that he wants Beck.

Did you shiver? I know I did. Joe Goldberg is scary AF.

...And yet, at times, creepily relateable.

YOU is a thriller that pokes fun at all the new adult books out there with overly familiar, stalkery love interests. While reading from this book, you really only have one side of the story - Joe's - and he is very, very manipulative. Part of the fun about YOU is reading between the lines, ignoring his narrative and focusing on his gestures and his dialogue, and trying to figure out how Joe appears to others, without his bias.

Also, I love-love-loved the use of social media in this book. Beck is a little too open with her life, she's an over-sharer, and Joe is able to mine the heck out of that, to figure out where she's going, who she's talking to, what her likes and dislikes are. This gets especially creepy towards the middle of the story, although I'm not going to tell you why. You'll just have to find out for yourself.

The literary references and social commentary are also excellent. Joe has some very cutting (and in some cases accurate) remarks about the upper middle class, as well as those who to aspire to be but aren't. He made me laugh, Joe did, and then I felt bad about laughing because this guy is cray.

Then there's Beck and her horrible friends. Beck is so selfish. She's a liar. She's narcissistic, self-indulgent. A social climber. Ignorant and superficial and vain. Maybe a bit of a psychopath herself? I honestly don't know why Joe fell for Beck the way he did, or why he became so obsessed with her. Beck sounds like the type of person you'd complain about to someone else over coffee. Maybe that's the point, though. Obsession isn't necessarily about the person themselves; it's about the pedestal you put them on and the rose-tinted glasses you see them through -

And what happens when those glasses break.

YOU was all anyone who was anyone was reading last year and guess what? It deserves the hype. It's dark and clever and suspenseful and has one of the best unreliable narrators since Humbert Humbert in Lolita. Plus, Stephen King said it was awesome. (Not sure how Joe would feel about that...)

4.5 stars!
Profile Image for Delee.
243 reviews1,135 followers
February 20, 2017
You've come home to me, delivered at last, on a Tuesday, 10:06 a.m. Every day I commute to this shop on the Lower East Side from my place in Bed-Stuy. Every day I close up without finding anyone like you. Look at you, born into my world today.

I have only had one other experience reading second person narration (that I can remember) Bright Lights, Big City- I have to say I wasn't a huge fan, and I found myself avoiding anything written in that point of view...until YOU...

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From the moment Guinevere Beck walks into the East Village bookstore where Joe works- he can think of nothing else- and vows to make her his.

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With the help of Facebook, Twitter and a stolen cell phone- Joe is able to hack in to "Beck's" world- Her correspondence, friends, her likes and dislikes, address, her whereabouts at any given moment- Now he is armed with enough information to become a man Beck could fall in love with.

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...But while Joe thinks he is holding all the cards- Beck is starting to show some of her true colors...and an interesting game begins...

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Ohhhhhhhh YOOOOOOU. What can I say about YOU?

The deck was stacked against me enjoying this book from the start. Second person narration...being in the head of a stalker...two raaaaaaaaaaather unlikable main characters- but all that wrong- added up to a big whopping, kick you in the face, right!!
Profile Image for ❄️BooksofRadiance❄️.
614 reviews763 followers
June 7, 2018

My favourite nutcase in non-fic lit.
Yup, it happened. I finally found a character who makes all the other sociopaths I read about seem like the most stable and sane guys.

Told from Joe Goldberg's perspective, a normal —so he thinks— Manhattan bookstore employee, who gets dangerously obsessed with Beck at first sight and the rest, as they say, is history.
The narrative is structured like a long monologue to “You”: Guinevere Beck, who becomes the object of his obsessive affection. The second person narrative fits the creepy tone of the book as it allows the reader a greater insight into Joe’s mental state and thought processes more intimately.

YOU was an absolute page-turner. I've never been so terrified and completely captivated by a character like I have with Joe. I was cringing, unnerved and gasping at every turn - screaming WTF, is he for real?

This is a 100% character-driven book and if sarcasm, snark, explicit scenes/language and dark humour is not your thing, you might want to steer clear. Really, don’t even look back.
Holly crap, Joe, how do I even begin describes him?... he's messed up to the bone with a charming disposition —which makes him even more dangerous—, calculating, extremely terrifying and utterly fascinating.
His inner monologue and his social commentary on the world and pop culture are absolutely hilarious and getting inside his head and learning the inner workings of his thoughts and emotions is what kept me glued to the pages.

He’s also extremely well-read and frighteningly meticulous in his ‘endeavours' (stalking the shit out of Beck) but what sets this book apart from others with a similar plot is that, here, both the stalker and the stalked are completely narcissistic and both are SUPREMELY messed up. While he does what he does in the name of his own distorted version of ‘love', she lies and manipulates her way through life.

The author does such a great job of putting the readers so deep into Joe’s head that, as disturbing as his behaviour is, there are various moments where he becomes a sympathetic character. He is charismatic and surprisingly sensitive that, even when he goes completely off the rails (and boy, does he ever), there's still something about him that touches a chord with the readers.
Kepnes pulls this trick off so well and makes you question your own state of mind as to why you find yourself so drawn to this lunatic of a character, be it reluctantly or otherwise.

And then there's Beck. *LONG SIGH*. As I’ve said above, this is in no way your usual stalker+naive sweet stalked girl story. No, Beck is the definition of utter detestable. She lies incessantly (almost pathologically), she's manipulative, flighty, extremely needy, self-obsessed, Incredibly pretentious, desperate and quite literally represents everything Joe loathes in society. And as we delve deeper into the story, we find that she has her own dark side to her that only the readers are aware of because Joe is simply blind to her flaws and worships the very ground she walks on. Seriously, nut jobs match made in hell. 🤦‍♀️

This book is also a startling lesson on just how much a person can find out about another through credit/debit card, social media and other means of search engines. The way he so easily invades her life and takes complete control of every aspect of it by constantly monitoring her Tweets, texts and emails and she’s none the wiser for it makes you want to examine your own web/social media presence.
Profile Image for Julie .
4,079 reviews59k followers
March 9, 2017
YOU by Caroline Kepnes is a 2014 Atria/ Emily Bestler Books publication.

Joe Goldberg may be one of the creepiest characters I’ve happened across in a very long time!!

When Guinevere Beck walks into the bookstore where Joe works, he is instantly smitten… obsessively so. He decides she is made for him and he will have her… by any means necessary.

This book was named one of Suspense Magazine’s best books of 2014 and I can see why. Joe, if you haven’t guessed by now, is a psychopathic stalker. But, the unique thing about the book is that the entire story is told from Joe’s perspective, using a second person narrative, which I rarely see happen.

I have to say being inside of Joe’s brain, being privy to his thoughts is one weirdly fascinating, dark and disturbing place to be.

Beck is not a character I necessarily liked all that much. She’s shallow, but insecure, erratic, a little unstable, and very self-centered and absorbed. She makes the perfect target for someone like Joe, though. He seems so genuinely in love with her that if I didn’t know he was a real sleaze ball, I might have thought he was sincere.

But, he’s also quite vulgar , and his thoughts are not always so sweet and flowery, as he indulges in sexual fantasies about Beck and leaves nothing to the imagination.

Joe’s narrative often made me laugh, especially when it came to his use of Twitter and his spot- on analysis of Beck’s friends or the reading habits and attitudes of customers in his bookshop. The realization that I found him darkly humorous or felt charitable towards him on occasion is a sobering thought.

The suspense builds as Joe manipulates Beck by hacking into her phone and stalking her on social media, as well as those closest to her in the most clever and diabolical ways imaginable. Don’t under estimate Joe for one minute!!

This is a very clever and imaginative novel, as well as scathing look the importance placed on perfunctory social media hierarchy, which hasn’t changed much since 2014. The story is very, very twisted and disturbing and well, I loved it!

The author did a fantastic job with the characterizations, the dialogue and with the very important pacing of the book and of course Joe’s narrative which couldn’t have been done any better.

I believe there is a follow up to this book and I am definitely going to check it out!

4 stars
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