Finally I'm back after having surgery to remove a ruptured disc in my neck and I couldn't be happier to be getting back into my old routine. I have several reviews to post to get caught up and I thought I'd start off with a bang!
YOU by Caroline Kepnas was quite a listen! I was looking for something fresh and different and I found it with this audio. The story is about Joe Goldberg, an intelligent guy who runs a book shop in NYC. The aging owner of the shop is more than happy to let Joe handle the day-to-day so Joe has the run of the place.
When Beck, an aspiring writer and college student, comes into the shop Joe is quickly smitten. Beck is sexy and she flirts with Joe and by the time she leaves, Joe is convinced that Beck wants him as much as he wants her. And when Joe wants something, he gets it. No matter what. At first glance he comes across as a nice, kind of good looking guy with enough intellect to carry on interesting conversations but there is a side of Joe that can be quite scary. He gains access to Beck's phone, email and social media accounts and begins assimilating himself into her life and manipulating her friends without them even knowing it. When he realizes she is involved with another guy Joe doesn't like that at all. As weeks go on, Joe is able to maneuver in and around Beck's life even more and the lines between reality and fantasy become blurred. He obsesses over her 24/7 and all he thinks about is having her. Though Beck flirts with him and leads him on, she continues to hold him at arms length which just makes him more determined.
Joe's obsession with Beck quickly turns dangerous for the people in her life who get in the way of his plan to have her all to himself, which is what he thinks she wants too. Beck has no idea what a dangerous game she is playing.
My Thoughts on the Story:
I was looking for something new and different to listen to while I recuperated and this certainly fit the bill! The story takes off immediately with Joe meeting Beck and the outrageous thoughts he has and the bluntness of his desire for her was a startling beginning and it never let up. Joe is the only one telling this story and he is talking directly to Beck, as if she can hear every word. It makes for a very intense read. To find that kind of creative and unusual writing style in a debut novel surprising and wonderful. Caroline Kepnes made a bold move with this book and I think it paid off in a huge way. YOU is as much a fast paced thriller as I've ever read and I didn't want to stop. To put it bluntly, I was all in.
OK, all that being said, I have to make you aware that this is a very sexually explicit book. If sexual situations and dialogue don't bother you, you will be fine. I am by no means a prude but I even found myself blushing a time or two. I just had to throw that out there so you would be prepared if you take my advice and read this book, which, by the way was an Amazon Best Book of the Month last September when it came out. Another thing about this book is how current and relevant this story is in this age of technology and social media. Joe was able to hack her devices and Beck had no idea. That is scary in and of itself.
My Thoughts on the Audio Performance:
There is no other word for Santino Fontana than BRILLIANT! His portrayal of Joe was nothing short of amazing. I'm quite sure that hearing him narrate this book is why I enjoyed it so much. It's odd - it's a twisted story about a scary guy but I couldn't help feeling drawn to him. Even though Joe was scary, there was something magnetic in Santino Fontana's voice that kept me riveted. I believe this is my favorite audiobook so far this year.
The bottom line is this is a great debut novel that I would recommend highly. I would also recommend the audio version. (You'll thank me later) I'm very anxious to see what Caroline Kepnes has up her literary sleeve next. Her new book, HIDDEN BODIES, hits shelves in February.
YOU (Unabridged Audio Version)
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Narrator: Santino Fontana
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published: September 30, 2014
Length: 11 Hrs 6 Mins
Printed Length: 432 pages
Source: Purchased thru Audible