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October 30, 2014 / Leslie

Audiobook: You by Caroline Kepnes

You by Caroline KepnesYou by Caroline Kepnes
Narrated by Santino Fontana

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio | September 2014
Format: Audio Download | 11 hours
Audio Listening Level: Easy – Intermediate
Rating: 5 stars

About the Book:

When aspiring writer Guinevere Beck strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe works, he’s instantly smitten. Beck is everything Joe has ever wanted.

Beck doesn’t know it yet, but she’s perfect for him, and soon she can’t resist her feelings for a guy who seems custom-made for her. But there’s more to Joe than Beck realizes, and much more to Beck than her oh-so-perfect façade. Their mutual obsession quickly spirals into a whirlwind of deadly consequences . . .

My Thoughts:

This was an obsessive, addictive read. My desire to know how this scenario was going to play-out made me feel a little creepy, but I couldn’t stop listening to it. It’s not so much that I liked these characters; no, it was like watching a train wreck in slow motion and not being able to look away.

Joe is a stalker. From the day he encounters Beck in the bookstore, his desire to know everything about her, to control her, becomes an obsession. He steals her phone, he reads her email and tweets, he schemes to get rid of her sometimes boyfriend, Benji, he intensely dislikes one of her friends.

What makes this book so compulsive is the way it is written from the point of view of Joe, the stalker. But it’s not written in the first person – it’s written in the second person, and it is very, very effective. Joe rambles on to himself at length attempting to justify his actions, all the while explaining them to Beck who he refers to as… You.

I can’t recall another second personal narrative I’ve enjoyed this much. The dialog is clever, the story twisted and original. The author effectively gets into the head of a psychopath and we get a peek at what he’s thinking. And it’s not just his thoughts about Beck and her friends. He has disdain for the bookstore customers and their reading choices. He goes into a hysterical rant about the type of customers buying the new Stephen King book, Doctor Sleep, on release day…

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 — and what an awful world it is out there, Beck. What a miracle that you came in here, so happy, when most of the people who come in are so miserable, everyone except for you and me and Curtis, who holds the door for Mr. Shining and starts with his bullshit.

Ummm, note that Beck is not there. The stalker is talking to himself, to You. And he does like King, just not his readers. And the rant continues.

I alternated between feeling terrified by Joe and the thought that there are people like him walking the streets, to feeling sorry for him and coming dangerously close to empathizing with him! He is so needy at times. And then there’s that cage he has in the basement and I am back to feeling creepy.

The book has been described as a romantic thriller because (without getting spoilery) Beck and Joe do
get together, sort of. And in a way, they are perfect for each other… or maybe I should say, deserve each other.

Audio production

The audio was narrated by Santino Fontana, a new voice for me, and he did a fantastic job making me think I was listening to an obsessive, unbalanced person. He portrayed Joe with emotion and feeling… kind, impatient, angry, frustrated… easily switching between Joe’s many moods. It added to the aura of unease knowing that someone like Joe was watching Beck’s every move, or could be watching any of us!

One warning – there is some explicit sexual content and more than a few swear words. While I thought the audio enhanced the book, hearing rather than reading may not be for everyone. If this doesn’t bother you, then definitely try the audio. [Audio sample HERE.]

Source: Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.
© 2014 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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Leave a Comment
  1. laurelrainsnow / Oct 30 2014 2:37 pm

    I have heard mixed thoughts on this one….but a part of me will “compulsively” revisit the product page and hesitate…and, at some point, I am sure I will click “buy.”

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


  2. BermudaOnion / Oct 30 2014 2:41 pm

    Second person is tough to pull of but it sounds like Kepnes has done a terrific job!


  3. Suko / Oct 30 2014 6:05 pm

    Excellent review, Leslie! I’m glad you enjoyed listening to this audiobook.


  4. stacybuckeye / Oct 31 2014 2:47 pm

    Hmm, your review tempts me but I usually don’t like train wreck books.


    • Leslie / Oct 31 2014 2:50 pm

      Mostly creepy… the twisted kind of creepy!


  5. Laurie C / Jan 2 2016 11:10 am

    I’m definitely going to look for this! Sometimes I have trouble enjoying books that put readers into the heads of really creepy people, but I’m compelled to try them anyway!


    • Leslie / Jan 6 2016 6:34 pm

      Audio is much creepier. The narrator was fantastic. I listened to You and I am reading the print version of the second book, Hidden Bodies.

      Liked by 1 person


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