Apparently, I'm on a roll with the uniquely dark narratives lately. "You" by Caroline Kepnes is a compelling and engrossing story told in second-person from the point of view of Joe, a bookstore employee who falls into hopeless infatuation with one of his customers.
From the day Guinevere Beck walks into the East Villiage bookstore where Joe works, he knows she's the one. As Joe finds his way into her life, he takes begins orchestrating their love story from afar, transforming into exactly who she needs him to be and taking out anyone who gets in his way.
This may be the first book I've read told in second-person, written as a stream of consciousness from Joe to Beck. By writing in this style, Kepnes propels you right into the center of Joe's brain - it is fascinating, lovely, and terrifying all at once.
“If we were teenagers, I could kiss you. But I’m on a platform behind a counter wearing a name tag and we’re too old to be young.”
This book really turns an eye on social media, and examines how vulnerable we all are. Through a stroke of luck, Joe is able to take Beck's phone without fostering suspicion, giving him an inside look into the communications, thoughts, and schedule of her everyday life. With the ability to frame things as coincidence or chemistry, Joe is able to manipulate Beck's perception of him.
What really sold me on Kepnes's skill as a writer was her ability to make you identify with and root for Joe. Wait - isn't he the stalker we're supposed to be creeped out by?! Yes. But she makes him so real. Regardless of whether or not you want to, you find yourself identifying with him. Not only that but he is funny, really funny.
“6:08 and the next dude in line is buying the new King and The Shining just to be bold — he calls The Shining a prequel and I want to cut his face”
This novel was completely addicting and left me wanting more. I can't wait to get to "Hidden Bodies" later this year!