Audio Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

Title: You (You #1)
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Narrator: Santino Fontana
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense
Length: 11 hours and 6 minutes

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.

Grace Review
Story: 5 stars
Sooooo . . .
Wow . . . . .

This is the second book this week that left me speechless when I finished.  It is absolute perfection and I can’t imagine why anyone would give this book less than 5 stars.  This story is creepy and disturbing, as you get inside the head of a stalker.  Joe’s thoughts evoked odd feelings within me – he is delusional and diabolical, yet I felt myself mesmerized to his every thought and action.  From the first word I was caught up in his world, as he slowly makes his fantasy a reality.

The obsession begins the minute Guinevere Beck (Beck) enters his bookstore.  A name on a credit card slip is all he needs and operation creep-me-the-fuck-out begins. Whether it is gaining access to her email and phone, or watching her every move outside her apartment window, the obsession builds.  She becomes all he thinks about.  His sole purpose every day is to get closer to Beck.

So Beck must be some amazing woman, right?  Ehhhh, I wasn’t a fan. I’m not sure why he was so enamored with her.  Was it just her beauty?  I personally thought she lacked depth, so obvious with her flaws.  Desperate for attention.  A sexual minx with daddy issues.  And while I couldn’t get past her flaws, they likely were part of her appeal to Joe.  As the story progresses, Joe slowly works his way into her world. But there are roadblocks for him – Benji (her current lover), Peach (her “friend”), Dr. Nikki. Joe eventually finds ways around those roadblocks, eliminating his competition.

Did you note the genre of this book?  Yes, Joe is equally as psychotic as he is predatory.  It was truly scary how his mind worked, rationalizing all of his actions.  What I found most disturbing was how I began to buy into his madness.  I COULD NOT stand Peach, and while I know what he did was wrong, I somehow found myself being ok with what he did.  And then I needed a Silkwood shower.

Joe does everything in his power to keep Beck in his world, a world where she is everything, and she is perfect. But she is not perfect, and those flaws begin to grow, destroying a relationship that was never truly normal in the first place.

The story on its own is compelling because it’s so unique.  Rarely do you get to read the viewpoint of a madman, but this author nailed it.  Joe’s inner monologue and declarations about “You” perfectly captured his psychotic mindset.

Performance: 5 stars
This is as good as a narration as you can get. One sentence in, I had chills.  Santino’s voice was something else.  I found it both sexy and creepy.  And you could sense that he wasn’t just reading words off a page, but was feeling the words.  A true acting performance.

The dialogue was fluid without odd breaks.  I was amazed how he pulled off reading Beck’s tweets with all of her hashtags, not an easy feat.  And as the sole narrator of the story, I thought he did a great job with all of the other voices, particularly the overly enthusiastic Ethan, and Long Island accent for Karen Minty (sp?).

This was easily was of the best audio books I’ve ever listened to so far.  Santino aka Joe, drew me into the world that was built in print, but came to life via my Bluetooth. Standing O!

Overall: 5+ stars
Alarmingly sexy (in a I’m-not-sure-I-should-like-this-kind-of-way), humorous, dark, frightening, and addictive.  This book had it all.  If you are prepared to take on the creepy, this book will suck you in and spit you out.  I loved every minute of this sadistic author’s words and I can’t wait for more!

Note to author: Please, please, please have Santino narrate book 2.

– Grace




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