You by Caroline Kepnes Review: A Story of Stalker Obsession

March 2, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

You by Caroline Kepnes Review: A Story of Stalker ObsessionYou by Caroline Kepnes
Series: You #1
Published by Simon and Schuster Australia on October 1, 2014
Source: Publisher
Genres: Fiction, Thriller
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher
Add to Goodreads

From debut author Caroline Kepnes comes You, one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Books of 2014, and a brilliant and terrifying novel for the social media age.

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, debut author Caroline Kepnes delivers a razor-sharp novel for our hyper-connected digital age. You is a compulsively readable page-turner that’s being compared to Gone Girl, American Psycho, and Stephen King’s Misery.

For a 21st century woman, there is nothing scarier than a stalker breaking into your home and knowing everything about you. You takes it further by finding out absolutely everything he can about Beck, by going through her phone, reading her emails, and watching her through her window and then becoming her lover.

You gives us so much more than a villain’s point of view, it shows us his sick obsession with his object of affection and how he would stop at nothing to become everything she needs in life. It’s told in second person perspective which makes the story even creepier, as Joe relates absolutely everything back to Beck, or You. His thoughts, feelings, everything he does in life is made with the aspiring and flighty writer in mind, and it really demonstrated how she unknowingly permeated every aspect of Joe’s life.

Did I mention that you’re lucky to have me? You are. I am a BedStuy man by birth, sober, collected, and well aware of my whereabouts and yours. A protector. 

And the bullshit thing is, if someone saw the three of us, well, most people would think I’m the weird one just because I followed you here. And that’s the problem with this world, with women. 

The use of social media and phone access for stalking is incredibly genius, given how smart phones are windows to our lives these days. Passwords, locations, tweets, instagram, email and even addresses can be found online, and that’s how Joe infiltrates Beck’s life, transforming himself into her perfect man. It really highlights just how much we put ourselves out there and if someone wanted to, they could find out everything just from knowing where to look. It made the stalking aspect completely plausible, and all it takes is someone like Joe.

Joe is obsessive, intelligent, intense, a sociopath and so freaking creepy. He clearly has no sense of right or wrong, and even references how easy it is for other weirdos or stalkers to stalk Beck, but doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with his own behaviour even when he breaks into her house. His obsessive behaviour becomes dangerous when he targets the people around her, from her crush to her best friend in order to get closer to her and eliminate the obstacles in his way. Being in Joe’s head is compelling, twisted and creepy, but what makes it even scarier is from Beck’s point of view, he could actually be seen as an attentive, charming guy. I loved how he worked in a bookstore, and how there’s a theme of literature and reading throughout the book, making it all that more intelligent and unique.

“This isn’t love. This is sick.” 

Beck was an interesting sexual and flighty character, who just couldn’t stick to one guy. She wears her heart on her sleeve and pursues guys that she can’t have, but just can’t commit to a relationship. She’s complex, flirty, creative and so incredibly real, it was easy to see how Joe wanted to know everything about her. The romance was one of the most fucked up ones I’ve ever seen, with Beck seemingly using Joe as a “friend with benefits” and Joe obsessively manufacturing everything in the relationship. Joe has disturbing sexual thoughts of Beck throughout the book, which makes it even more creepy.


You is a compelling, twisted and dark story of stalker obsession that is designed to make us feel uncomfortable. The use of social media, literature, flawed characters and second person perspective creates authenticity for this brilliant, creepy story. This is the best psychological thriller about stalking I’ve read, and I don’t think any other can live up to it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

The following two tabs change content below.
Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

Tags: , , , , ,

52 responses to “You by Caroline Kepnes Review: A Story of Stalker Obsession

  1. Jen

    I read You last year when it came out and LOVED it!! One of my all time top favorite books and definitely my top read of 2014! I love dark, twisted stories and characters so I couldn't help but crush on Joe while being inside his head Lol
    My recent post

  2. Danielle

    Holy crap! Just reading your review gave me major chills! This sounds creepily awesome, I am definitely going to read this although it will probably make me want to erase my social media history and then have a nervous breakdown when I realise that's impossible. lol Eek! Purchasing asap!
    My recent post Amour Amour by Krista and Becca Ritchie

  3. Oh good lord, you wouldn't want to read this one alone at night would you. See kids, this is what Edward Cullan made of himself. I want to read this now too. It's frightening how much stuff about us is out there for anyone to see really, makes me glad that I keep to myself on so many levels. You've completely creeped me out with this book Jeann, so naturally I just HAVE to have it.

    Awesome review lovely <3
    My recent post Every Word by Ellie Marney

    • It was so good Christy, I'm glad I went with your recommendation! anti-hero is the best way to describe it.

  4. Okay EEK. This sounds totally creep,y but also really good at the same time. And I kind of want to read it now, even though I had no interest in it before, haha XD

    I definitely agree with you that stalking is hella creepy, but I think it's also interesting that Beck could see this seedy as hell guy as someone who really cares to know the details in her life, and pays attention to her. *screaming*

    I think when I am in the mood for a bit of a creepy mind twister, I will pick up YOU.

    Lovely review, dear! <3
    My recent post Review: The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

    • So creepy and compelling at the same time lol. It was pretty crazy, because he was charming to Beck all the while being a total creepster. Thanks Chiara!

  5. Faye M.

    I rememeber Amir flailing about this in one of her reviews! This sounds really amazing, and it feels like the intensity might be akin to Flynn's Gone Girl somehow. The internet really is a double-edged sword – we can learn so much from it and do amazing things, but at the same time, it also leaves personal information so vulnerable to others who wish them harm 🙁
    My recent post ARC Review: Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop

    • Oh man, it's freaking amazing and Gone Girl was definitely compared to in the blurb! But it was different and also fantastic.

    • I loved it as well Benish, I'm glad I finally gave it a go! It was disturbing and I can't wait until the sequel!

  6. yamidnightreadsceline

    Ooh, this definitely sounds interesting! I love stories about stalkers, or at least actual stalkers who are acknowledged as such, not creepy "romantic" love interest-stalkers 😛

    This one sounds intruiging and creepy though. Adding it to my TBR!
    Lovely review, Jeann 😀

    • Hahaha oh Celine if you like stalker stories, you must read this one! Glad you're adding it to your TBR! Thanks lovely 🙂

  7. This one sounds so scary!!! *hides under her bed*

    I like how it's told in this second point of view and I can only imagine how much more creepier it would make the book!

    I also really like the sound of Beck. In her own way, she sounds realistic… and I am really glad that she isn't a shrinking violet or anything of the sort… it seems as though she has issues but never the less, I feel like I'd definitely enjoy reading about her.

    Joe sounds frightening but in the best way possible! After all, I don't think this book is supposed to be a very fluffy one… 😛

    I am so glad you enjoyed this! I am going to go add this one to my TBR and hopefully, I'll get a chance to read it! 😀

    Lovely review, hon!
    My recent post Review: The Bridge by Jane Higgins

    • I know right, it was downright creepy, Beck was an interesting character and Joe, gosh so freaking creepy. Glad to hear I enabled you Rashika!

  8. I remember when this one first came out and adding it to my TBR but like most books, I never got around to it. Oh Jeann you make me want to drop everything and read it now though! This one sounds so creepy but so interesting. I can't decide which LOL!
    My recent post Bone Gap: Review

    • It was really fantastic and a different angle from the usual thrillers you know? I hope you do give it a shot Nick! I\’d be keen on hearing what you think.

  9. thebigfatf

    Oh my gosh!!! It sounds so creepy but so intriguing!!! I really want to read it now. Damn, Jeann you keeping adding to my tbr which is as full as it is already.