Book Review – You

#1 in the You series.

Joe Goldberg works at a bookstore where he meets Brown University student Guinevere Beck. He falls into a deep obsession with her and begins stalking her. Only, he’s not some run of the mill stalker who gets caught trying to peek into her windows at night. Joe is intelligent enough, and well read enough, to insert himself into her life so deeply and remove people he thinks are bad for her so efficiently, that she doesn’t even realize he’s totally unhinged until it’s too late.

This story is told entirely from the perspective of Joe. It is a horrifying glimpse into the mind of someone who completely lacks the ability to empathize with someone else. The whole time we’re reading about how his decision making process works and it’s terrifying. He’s totally unhinged and rationalizing his every action in a way that screams psychopath. He’s this weird mix of Ted Bundy (charming), and Israel Keys (methodical), with a large dose of Patrick Bateman thrown in. He fooled loads of people into thinking he was just some guy by controlling himself completely during every interaction he ever has to keep up appearances. He acted how he knew people expected a “normal person” to act at all times. Creepy! And the scariest part is that you could know someone like this in real life and you would probably never know it.

Guinevere (known as Beck in the story) was Joe’s newest obsession and you want to feel sorry for her, but her life wasn’t all that it appeared either. She was mentally unstable, made intentionally poor choices, manipulated and used her “closest friends”, and didn’t really care when they went missing or died. Plus, she wasn’t a good person either. This doesn’t mean she deserved what she got, but it does explain why things turned out the way they did for her in the end. It was just really sad.

The rest of the characters in the story were all some kind of messed up as well, as Beck seemed to surround herself with damaged people that she could take advantage of. The only non-weird person seemed to be Ethan, who worked at the bookstore and was a fresh break from all the insanity going on in this book.

This book was a wild ride that I could not stop listening to. The narration on this audiobook was fantastic and it kept me on the edge of my seat. Seriously, it was like a terrible car crash I could not tear my eyes away from. I had to know more and I kept waiting for the ball to drop and consequences for Joe to start smacking him down but… you’ll have to read it.

This one gets a 4 out of 5. This was probably the most frighteningly uncomfortable book I’ve read in a while and I enjoyed how twisted it was. Knowing people like this exist makes it even more horrifying and I really hope that no one I know ever crosses paths with someone like this and becomes their hyper-focused obsession.

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