Book Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

Caroline Kepnes


Joe Goldberg is an average guy working in a bookstore in the East Village. In walks Guinevere Beck a beautiful aspiring writer. They flirt and Joe’s obsession begins. It’s not hard to find out more about the girl who goes as “Beck” because she’s all over social media and that’s how Joe gets his foot in.

You is an addicting story about a guy who seems pretty normal, loves books (he’s a bit of a book snob too), but will stop at nothing to get to the girl. Joe is a weird combination of likable and a little bit scary, a perfect character for a thriller.

And Beck is a mystery. Her public image on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is one thing, clever, cute, literary. But she has a reckless side that Joe wants to protect her from. He’s working people, but is she doing the same? A mix-in of ambitious, needy and maybe not-so-good friends makes Beck’s character even more interesting.

You is told from Joe’s perspective. Not talking to the reader, though. He’s talking to Beck. And the whole time he’s explaining to her what he’s all about.

I devoured this book. I don’t want to say too much because this is the kind of story you want to experience, one creepy moment at a time. You might wonder why I’m giving 5 stars to a book that might seem a little trashy when you start reading it. Read on and you’ll discover that the genius of the storytelling is that Joe’s character becomes almost completely knowable by the end. I say almost because there are plenty of issues to resolve at the end of You, explained, I hope, in the sequel, Hidden Bodies.

Anyone who likes to read will love Kepnes’s literary references because, you know, the story does revolve around a bookstore. And the music references are equally fun, especially the one that indirectly refers to the book’s title. It was only by chance that I caught it.

You is a Lifetime series and I’ve already started watching it. It’s equally addicting. I recommend the book to readers who like stories of obsession and complex characters.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

23 thoughts on “Book Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

  1. I didn’t read the book, but got addicted to the series on Netflix. I was hooked the second I learned Joe worked in a bookstore, lol. Great review without spoilers, Barbara!

    1. Hi Teri – currently watching Season 1 – don’t tell me about Season 2 – I hear it’s just as good and I haven’t decided if I’m going to read Hidden Bodies first! It’s a great story and Joe is really creepy/quirky/funny (can I say funny about a murder story?) on the show. Thanks for the visit!

    1. All my kids have watched Seasons 1 and 2, recommended I watch, and my oldest son gave me the book for Christmas. Currently watching Season 1 and think it’s great. Thanks for reading and commenting, Jan!

  2. This is a series? Boy, I need to get out more. 🙂 Great review, Barbara! You had me at “aspiring writer.” I love books that have a writer as a main character. Did you have to make any adjustments reading from Joe’s POV? That would be different for me. T

    1. Hi Jill – my kids started talking about the Lifetime show and told me I would like it because it revolves around a bookstore. I got the book for Christmas and decided to read it before I watched. Now I’m currently watching Season 1 – it’s really good! I enjoyed both characters – Beck as a young writer and Joe as a bookstore guy. I didn’t have trouble with his POV – it’s different that he’s talking to Beck, but it works! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    1. Hi Lynette – it’s a great storyline – I’ve always liked the nice guy/creepy angle in a story (not in real life – eek!). I’m watching Season 1 right now. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

    1. I know what you mean about Joe. And he’s cute on the show! Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Stephanie. I just finished Season 1. I think I’m going to read Hidden Bodies before I watch Season 2. Hope you’re having a nice weekend 🙂

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