We are almost done with the A to Z Blogging Challenge, and I’ve already written about a bunch of thrillers of various stripes, mysteries, and crime novels for 26 days in April, based on the letters of the alphabet. All posts are linked here.
Since I’m writing up thriller and crime novel recommendations, I’m also giving away a 50 USD Amazon Gift card, to support reading, and to help my next novel THE BLUE BAR along on its journey. LAST TWO DAYS TO ENTER!!
After X by Sue Grafton, I bring you You by Caroline Kepnes.
You by Caroline Kepnes : Book Description
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 by Caroline Kepnes: Excerpt
Calm down, Joe. They don’t like it when a guy comes on too strong, I remind myself. Thank God for a customer and it’s hard to scan his predictable Salinger—then again, it’s always hard to do that. This guy is, what, thirty-six and he’s only now reading Franny and Zooey? And let’s get real. He’s not reading it. It’s just a front for the Dan Browns in the bottom of his basket. Work in a bookstore and learn that most people in this world feel guilty about being who they are. I bag the Dan Brown first like it’s kiddie porn and tell him Franny and Zooey is the sh*t and he nods and you’re still in F–K because I can see your beige sweater through the stacks, barely. If you reach any higher, I’ll see your belly. But you won’t. You grab a book and sit down in the aisle and maybe you’ll stay here all night. Maybe it’ll be like the Natalie Portman movie Where the Heart Is, adapted faithlessly from the Billie Letts book—above par for that kind of crud—and I’ll find you in the middle of the night. Only you won’t be pregnant and I won’t be the meek man in the movie. I’ll lean over and say, “Excuse me, miss, but we’re closed” and you’ll look up and smile. “Well, I’m not closed.” A breath. “I’m wide open. Buddy.”
“Hey.” Salinger-Brown bites. He’s still here? He’s still here. “Can I get a receipt?”
“Sorry about that.”
He grabs it out of my hand. He doesn’t hate me. He hates himself. If people could handle their self-loathing, customer service would be smoother.
“You know what, kid? You need to get over yourself. You work in a bookstore. You don’t make the books. You don’t write the books and if you were any good at reading the books, you probably wouldn’t work in a bookstore. So wipe that judgmental look off your face and tell me to have a nice day.”
This man could say anything in the world to me and he’d still be the one shame-buying Dan Brown. You appear now with your intimate Portman smile, having heard the motherf*cker. I look at you. You look at him and he’s still looking at me, waiting.
“Have a nice day, sir,” I say and he knows I don’t mean it, hates that he craves platitudes from a stranger. When he’s gone, I call out again because you’re listening, “You enjoy that Dan Brown, motherf*cker!”
You walk over, laughing, and thank God it’s morning, and we’re dead in the morning and nobody is gonna get in our way. You put your basket of books down on the counter and you sass, “You gonna judge me too?”
“What an *sshole, right?”
“Eh, probably just in a mood.”
You’re a sweetheart. You see the best in people. You complement
“Well,” I say and I should shut up and I want to shut up but you make me want to talk. “That guy is the reason that Blockbuster shouldn’t have gone under.”
You look at me. You’re curious and I want to know about you but I can’t ask so I just keep talking.
“Everybody is always striving to be better, lose five pounds, read five books, go to a museum, buy a classical record and listen to it and like it. What they really want to do is eat doughnuts, read magazines, buy pop albums. And books? F*ck books. Get a Kindle. You know why Kindles are so successful?”
You laugh and you shake your head and you’re listening to me at the point when most people drift, go into their phone. And you’re pretty and you ask, “Why?”
“I’ll tell you why. The Internet put porn in your home—”
I just said porn, what a dummy, but you’re still listening, what a doll.
“And you didn’t have to go out and get it. You didn’t have to make eye contact with the guy at the store who now knows you like watching girls get spanked. Eye contact is what keeps us civilized.”
About the author, Caroline Kepnes
Why pick up “You” by Caroline Kepnes
Well, of the many reasons you choose a book, being entertained is one. On that count, this book delivers, fair and square. Throughout, you’re in the mind of a (loyal, book-loving) sociopath, who breezily describes the many ways in which he is violating the privacy of the object of his obsession.
I love a good voice, as you all must know by now, and this novel is clever and seductive in its use of a version of second person: the entire book is sort of a letter from Joe to the woman he is stalking, and who he persuades (cons) into becoming his girlfriend.
Beck is no snow-daisy herself, and has a bunch of flaws. Her unlikability, and the amount of time you spend in his (funny, witty, casually cruel) brain makes you actually root for him sometimes. He’s the worst kind of boyfriend, but well, he’s diverting and urbane and charming in a way so many sociopaths are. His voice, in a distant way, reminds me of the protagonist of American Psycho–but in a more entertaining, if crass and creepy fashion.
It makes sense, too, because Kepnes wrote him at a time when she had vocal chord damage, had her identity stolen through student-loan debt, her mother underwent surgery and her father lost the battle with cancer. She made Joe her voice, and channeled all her grief and anger into Joe’s creepy-good-ness.
Read it for the voice, reminiscent of Lolita and American Psycho, and I though I loved hating Joe, who knows, you might even end up liking him!
Have you read the book “You” by Caroline Kepnes? If yes, what did you think of it? What crime novels have you read lately ?
Through the month of April, to celebrate the challenge and get some support for THE BLUE BAR, I’m holding this giveaway, and tomorrow is its last day!!
Enter to WIN a 50 USD Amazon gift card for this
Entries are simple: click the RAFFLECOPTER link above, and follow the instructions. It calls for a Goodreads add, a subscription request, and a follow on Instagram.
If you enjoyed the post, click on any or all of the following to stay updated: