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What I Like About 'You'

by Kurt Mason 3 years ago in review
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Caroline Kepnes' romantic, funny, sexy, psychological thriller will keep you turning pages until the very end.

As someone who usually advocates for people to read the novel before they watch the movie/ TV show, I have to admit that this isn’t how it happened for me this time. After scrolling through Netflix for what felt like hours, I finally decided to watch some of the trailers that I kept getting notifications about. After about 20 seconds of the trailer, I immediately began watching You and I could not stop. After finishing the first episode, I was completely and totally hooked. Once I found out that the show was based off of a novel, I knew that I had to get my hands on a copy. For me, as much as I loved the show, I found the novel to be far superior. Granted, there were some areas where I think that the show took creative liberties that worked out in the end, but I found the novel to be simply captivating.

The way that Caroline Kepnes—in her debut novel, no less—was able to bring the character of Joe Goldberg to life, creating a character that I completely admired and rooted for, but also a character who I found so unnerving that at some points I physically cringed, was invigorating. Using the first person point of view and allowing the reader to get lost in Joe’s mind fostered a connection between the reader and the protagonist that is unparalleled. Joe, though, isn’t the only star of this novel. Guinevere Beck (known simply as Beck throughout the novel) also demands attention from the reader. Much in the same way that I both rooted for—and cringed at—Joe, I found myself doing the same with Beck. It was easy to get wrapped up in the love story that was unfolding with each turn of the page, but I would occasionally have to stop and remind myself that there were darker, more sinister, actions happening under the guise of love.

All of the characters in the story, those that seemed to fill every page, and those that seemed only to occupy a few lines here and there, became relatable and added a depth to the already complicated story between Joe and Beck. Each character seemed to represent a larger emotion or stereotypical trope of the romance genre: Lynn and Channa; the devoted best friends; Peach, the jealous friend with deeper, darker intentions; Benji, the trust-fund “bad boy” that you just can’t say no to; Ethan and Blythe, the unexpected duo that learned to love and laugh (actually, these two made me laugh out loud a few times) despite their differences; Dr. Nicky, the other man; Karen Minty, the other woman; and so many more.

Filled with literary references and plenty of ideas for future reading suggestions, I found that the literary theme was comforting in a way. The world of used book stores and educated people discussing and making literature such a focal point of their lives isn’t something that you see everyday. You was a novel that kept me turning pages until, just as suddenly as it had started, this whirlwind rollercoaster of twists and turns, came to an end.

For anyone in the market for a romantic, funny, candid, sexy (Kepnes certainly spared none of the juicy details of what went on between the characters), psychological thriller, I would recommend making your way to the nearest bookstore (keep an eye on the cashier) and pick up a copy of You—you won’t regret it.

5 out of 5 stars


About the author

Kurt Mason

Teacher • Writer • Reader • Watcher of Movies • Player of Games • Lover of Animals

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