Think of everything you post on social media. Who you are with, where you went, and where you are going. With one click, someone can learn everything about you. Guinevere Beck: went to Brown University, lives on Bank St., and will be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight. What a perfect place for a "chance" meeting. One look at Beck in a bookstore, Joe Goldberg knew he had to have her. Joe turns from stalker to boyfriend, transforming himself into Beck's perfect man. He invisibly takes control of her life, making sure she will have no choice but to run into his waiting arms, removing any obstacles in his way. But how far is he willing to go to ensure his fate?
As much as I enjoyed this book, I did have my fair share of problems. While Joe's constant spiraling and obsessiveness continues throughout the book, I found myself becoming bored with it. Yes, this is who he was and this is what we grow to expect from him. But that's the problem. You expect the spiral and the madness and at about the halfway mark I just became less interested in his crazy ramblings. The plot also seemed a bit repetitive. I felt as if I was stuck in a cycle and it just became less interesting. Joe's actions became more and more predictable and the book concluded in the exact way I expected. I was honestly a little disappointed by it. There were so many crazy and exciting ways this could have ended. Kepnes may have made this choice because she wanted to write more books, but it could have been way more exciting.
This book was very eerie. It takes romance and turns it into something sick and twisted. Kepnes does a good job of making you feel like this could happen to you. Joe could be your stalker and no one is safe. The first couple of chapters gave me chills down my spine and made me feel like I was in the mind of a psycho. Hearing the whole story from Joe shifted the narrative and allows the reader to understand the story from a new, fresh perspective. Joe spirals and shapes the narrative to match his twisted desires. Kepnes writes in a way that makes it feel like Joe could be real. The lengths to which he goes and the stakes he invents in his head are so real that it drives the story to a good place. The book also takes twists and allows you to always wonder what will happen next. Even the side characters are portrayed in such a real and vivid way, you can't help but feel like you know them from Joe's perspective. Also, the way he denies his stalking to even himself is astounding. When you are in his headspace though, it feels like it makes sense. You almost want to believe him. Almost.
The vividness of the side characters can turn into one of its greatest downfalls. The characters are vivid only in the way Joe perceives them. It makes sense with the theme of the book, but because Joe's perception is so strong, it sort of vilian-izes characters who don't deserve it. Yes, Benji and Peach aren't amazing people, but the way they are demonized seems on the extreme end. The book almost allows us to relate to Joe and sympathize with him more than others even though he's a total psycho. It is obvious that Joe is distorting the narrative and not everything he perceives is correct, but a lot of it turns out to be correct and it just feels kind of lazy. His over-analysis also drags the plot a lot. Hearing about his thoughts on college and rich people time and time again feels overdone and slows everything down.
For the most part, I enjoyed this book. It was interesting and the writing was very vivid and haunting. Kepnes knows how to write a good psycho. Even though I had a few problems with this book, overall it was a decent read. I will most likely not continue the series. I just don't think the book is for me. Even though I enjoyed the fresh perspective from the stalker. It became less fresh and more predictable as the book continued.
I would recommend this book if you are looking for a romantic thriller that digs deep into the thoughts of the stalker and gives a lot of detail.
I would not recommend this book if you like a fast plot and get easily irritated by over-analysis.
What to read after You: Verity by Colleen Hoover
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