You by Caroline Kepnes has to be one of the hardest books I’ve ever reviewed. Not because I don’t know what to say, but because I want to say SO MANY things that I’m not entirely sure how to do it.
I mean, before I say anything else I should warn you: this is not a book for everyone. I think that the subject matter on its own is pretty far from ‘Young Adult’ and if you don’t like getting out of your comfort zone, then this book isn’t for you.
I was really afraid of this book for the same reason. I never (read: not ever) read books that aren’t Young Adult, unless it’s a classic. But I jumped into this book regardless because I thought: ‘well, I have nothing to lose’.
I am so glad I requested this audiobook! It was amazing. If you get the chance, buy the audiobook. You’ll get the maximum reading experience out of it.
You is narrated in a sort of second-person tense (“You finish sending a text message and relax your arms”; “You undress in front of the window without realizing everyone [including me] can see it”), and it totally achieves the eerieness and creepiness it was looking for.
The protagonist is written spectacularly, because, he makes you want to sympathize with him. BUT HELLO, HE’S A STALKER! And yet, Joe is so good at rationalizing. It isn’t necessarily his fault that he decided to stalk Bec. Bec made it too easy because why would she have given him a credit card if she didn’t want Joe to trace it and find out her name and where she lived? It’s her fault; she just had to leave her window open when she was undressing… It’s scary and at the same time thrilling hearing the way the narrator just makes this seem so nonchalant. As if there were nothing wrong, because, to his eyes, nothing is.
The whole Bec/Joe relationship is another story altogether, and whoever classifies this book as a romance has got to read it again. This is not a romantic relationship at all. It’s the relationship between a stalker and an unsuspecting stalkee. It was troubling seeing how Joe could easily explain away things (like the fact that he knew what her favorite movie was and her career without even discussing it with her beforehand) and Bec believing it because it actually sounded plausible.
What made this book was definitely the narration. The audiobook narrator is Santino Fontana, whom most of you may recognize as the voice of Hans on the Disney movie, Frozen. I had no idea that Santino could deliver such a performance! He perfectly captured the ‘wholesome’ and ‘put together’ persona that Joe always tried to exude, while still sounding completely terrifying and intimidating. He didn’t need to yell or raise his voice to scare you; with only a certain inflection he would become a completely different person. It was terrifying; it was brilliant.
Overall, I definitely recommend this book. It was one of my favorite (and most surprising) reads of 2014. The audiobook narration shines and makes the story all the more amazing. If this is a book you think you can tackle, definitely do.