BOOK REVIEW: You (You #1) by Caroline KepnesYou (You #1)
by Caroline Kepnes
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Synopsis:

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.

You made your way onto my shelf unexpectedly, a gift from a long ago friend. You sat there, totally unassuming, just waiting your turn to be read. You stared unabashedly at me as I skimmed my shelves, always skirting right past you, knowing someday I’d probably pick you up, but not wholly sure if I’d ever make the time. You sat there, waiting patiently with your gorgeously disturbing cover that always intrigued me, always enraptured me, but never quite could pull me in, despite how perfect you were. I didn’t know you, Book. I didn’t know that we were somehow perfectly imperfect for one another and that when I started you, I’d be addicted to the point of obsession…even as you repeatedly tested my morals and boundaries. Even as you made yourself hard to read (haha). But I never gave up on you, Book-I always held out hope we’d be friends. And someone obviously knew I was immensely disturbed and loved morally grey (more like black) male leads. I’m just sad it took a tv-show preview, a ridiculously addicting song remake, and an actor [I will not name] I love to make me truly see you, Book. But I’m so glad I did. Now we are destined to be together forever.

Ahhh see what I did there? Tee-hee. I know, I knooow, I’m sure this has been done, like, a million times. But I really never looked at reviews much, so I wana say I’m wholly original???? But I doubt that’s the case. Either way, WTF was this book????? WTF was this addicting, repetitive, addictive, repetitive book?

I started this story because of the show-sorry, I’ll admit it-but I’ve had it foreverrrrr. I’ve NEVER been a fan of books that make me feel bad, that clearly don’t have a HEA written out in the stars. But, for some reason, my friend thought I would love this (Joe. She thought I’d love Joe), and I always held out hope I’d be able to pick this up and stomach this one day. Apparently, that day came when I saw Penn’s beautiful, stalkerish face up on the screen with the most darkly enticing rendition of ‘I Want You to Want Me’ ever.

Two things you should know about me:

1) Put an actor I ADORE in a movie, and I’m likely to give it a try, no matter the content
2) Make a commercial, movie trailer, whatever with a song that has been remastered or, in this case, darkened, that makes it flow beautifully and I. Am. OBSESSED.

“Do you have any beards?”
She objects jokingly, “Are you quite serious, young man?”
“It’s cold out there.”
“We have beards but they’re not all Dickensian.”

She lowers the volume on the ancient tape player. Celine Dion in cassette isn’t very Dickensian either, but she concedes and points me toward the non-Dickensian, nonrefundable beards, which are in a box in the back marked JOHNNY DEPP/DUCK DYNASTY.
Fucking America, Beck. I just don’t know sometimes.

Legit, I can’t stop thinking about things. I’m like Joe in that way-I get weirdly obsessed with things-well created trailers, product commercials, tv show commercials when they are made with a song that seems as if it were molded just for the purpose of making that show (or whatever) pop. It’s super weird, but at least I can own it. SO, really, the song is what did it. Look what you made me do! (haha)

I was just sitting there with my husband, dog, and daughter, and I heard this epic and dark song and I looked up and….there You were. I was done. I started reading it the next day, which just so happened to be the day the show came out (and yes, I am studiously recording it). But I was good, I didn’t want to ruin the book. And though there were parts that reallllyyy were hard for me, I ended up really loving this. Sometimes I don’t know what will make me tick, only that it does. And I think it’s more than just Joe. I find myself pondering my life more often after just finishing this darkly seductive book. When I walk past an open window in my new house, I pause, wondering who is out there. No, I’m not that vain. However; people are creeps, and I’m used to living out in the country where no one is watching. It’s an insanely intense feeling I’m not used to, haven’t been used to since I was 6 or 7. Also, I ponder what it would be like if I were a more social media infused person.

As it is, I only use it for our handle, @starcrossedbookblog, and I have a private personal account I got once I had my daughter just so family members would stop texting incessantly for pictures of her. The jury is still out on if that is a successful endeavor, though. MY POINT IS, I’m very aware of how easy it is to be traced, followed, or just flat out stalked or seen. We sift through life on a cloud, never paying attention to the crazy surrounding us-we’re comfortable. And it’s deeply unsettling how little we see, how blind we can be, and what danger is lurking around each and every corner-whether that be some rabid beast (okay, coyotes freak me the f*** out), a serial killer, a robber, whatever…they’re everywhere. And I really need to be more aware.

So yeah, this book effected me in a way I find I am having trouble explaining without sounding vapid, but I’m okay with that, because it’s how I feel. But then there were the characters. Those selfish, psycho, into-themselves characters. Because of said characters, it’s hard to not fall for the manic, lonely, and idealistic Joe. It’s just sad to see how alone he is, how one girl’s flirty advances can set off a landslide that will forever effect everyone surrounding them.

And, I’m sorry, I’m just going to say it: I didn’t like Beck. She wasn’t worthy of his affections (yet she’s so sweet in the show, not fair), yet he went after her with every fiber of his being, even after she strung him along time and time again. I mean, yes, he is a MURDERER. I’m not dumb. I’m just sayinggg if you’re guna stalk someone, stalk someone worth stalking.

But that’s also the beauty of this book: It shows how we are all morally gray people, and that even though we don’t think we’re into ourselves, above all else, we are. We put us first, and if we stomp on someone along the way, will we even notice? Who cares? It was just some dude I saw somewhere, what does it matter? Apparently a lot, to some. *shivers*

…and because I want to be there in case you need me, I am gonna have to sell a fucking Dickens on eBay to cover the expenses of the motel, the costume, and the psychotherapy I’ll no doubt need when I realize I am permanently fucked up from from that day I froze my ass off in pantaloons and stood on a deck with a bunch of quarter-wits. The half-wits are at home watching Great Expectations, the movie.

I loved that I was always cringing, thinking to myself, GAWD I do this. I do this all the time. The excuses. The lateness. The thrill of ‘something new’. I mean, not to Beck’s extreme, but I can be careless…and I’m blind to it. I think that, even though this book made me ill at the end, that’s why I’m still thinking about it even days later. I just really, thoroughly enjoyed this book.

”Are you ready?”
“In a second,” I say and maybe Irish women don’t speak English. Celine Dion is still screaming about her goddamned heart and I’m choking on mothballs and self-loathing and if you would have told View Spoiler » about me, View Spoiler »could have rented costumes for both of us.

And the humor!!! Oh my gosh, do you know how many times I laughed out loud? How many times my husband was like, what are you even laughing at, Chelsea? My answer every time? Joe-OMG, this guy is a HILARIOUS psychopath-he says the funniest stuff! But I wouldn’t tell him what I was laughing at, because you just don’t get it if you aren’t in this dude’s mind for a while-his sarcasm. His string of thought. How everyone is so beneath him, yet he sees that he is imperfect. He isn’t rational. He isn’t sane. But that’s why I found him so funny, so darkly funny: There was a lot of truth to his crazy.

We think it-he says it.

That’s all there is to it, and I totally dug it. And, last thing: I hated Beck’s friend, Peach, too. Like…eew. But this is where it was also a really cool idea-everything we hear is from Joe’s mind-and, lemme tell ya, he is an extremely unreliable narrator.

So what is true? What isn’t? I LOVED THIS. Because even though he’s telling us how to feel, you can’t lie about what is written (texts, emails, IMs)…so, we see that Beck, Peach, Benji, whomever really are assholes…even if he embellishes it. Mind=blown.

Obviously I loved this, even after a rocky start where I was wholly grossed out by the personal masturbation and almost-public-masturbation, the sexual nature of the whole story, really.

Somewhere along the way it stopped being a shock to me and became something I didn’t want to put down and had to finish. And, honestly, I’ll admit it: I’m a sick sick sicko, because I wanted them to get together for a little bit, I wanted Joe to win Beck’s affections and for them to DO IT. I did. Why else am I reading this crap if not for the thrill of how wrong it all was? **I eat chicken, then I look at naked pictures of my friends!**


So yeah, this was a winner, even as I wonder why it was. It just clicked. And sometimes that’s all it takes. Click.

*******

What?

Don’t look at me like that…can’t a girl inconspicuously jump on a bandwagon?

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