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.
To just read the above blurb you might think this is your typical crazy guy stalks girl novel and you might decide to pass it by, saying to yourself ‘I don’t really want to read an entire book about a stalker.’ I know this because it’s what I did when this novel was first released and I’m completely kicking myself for the fact that I could’ve been reading this 2 years ago!! It was the through the power of social media ( I sound like Joe:) that made me decide to listen to this last week when my friend Sam of Cluesandreviews.com told me to get off the fence about this book and read it! And off the fence I jumped. As I was in need of an audiobook for my drives, dog walking, etc I downloaded YOU and I can’t possibly express how outstanding the writing and narration of this book is…you just HAVE to read and/or listen for yourself.
As the story begins, we are introduced to Joe Goldberg, bookseller extraordinaire. Joe manages a bookstore in New York City and one day meets the lovely Guinevere Beck, “Beck” to her friends, and he’s immediately smitten with her. So instead of asking her to have coffee or something remotely normal like that, he gets her name off her credit card and sets about to googling her and just like that, he’s privy to her address, phone number, Twitter and Instagram which of course gives him a wealth of info about her habits and whereabouts. First of all, I’m now going to think twice every time I use my credit card! Second, Caroline Kepnes has hit on the very terrifying consequences of putting all your “stuff” on social media. Now, I know I just said terrifying and it is, but on the other side of this crazy coin we have Joe. Believe me when I say I’ve NEVER encountered a fictional character quite like Joe before. His continuous monologue to Beck, who’s the YOU of this story, shifts between being funny, witty, and charming one moment to intense, crude and oftentimes downright scary the next. Through Joe, Caroline Kepnes brilliantly skewers social media…the good, bad and ugly of a hashtag here I am way of life.
Let me just sum up my top reasons for loving this story and audiobook:
Characterization – as I said Joe will get inside your head while he slowly and unknowingly (to her) infiltrates Beck’s life and you won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough or in my case, remove my headphones for hours at a time
Pacing – The story starts with an immediacy of action between the characters and doesn’t let up until the dysfunctional ties of Joe and Beck have either been firmly established or spectacularly broken.
The Writing – Caroline Kepnes has wrote a book that left me speechless at times. Her writing flows in a way I don’t often come across. And her creative ability to write a character like Joe, who, let’s face it is a sociopath like none other, but one who I LIKED and thought was spot on in some of his ways of thinking and observations….what that says about me I’m still trying to figure out:)
The Narration – I listen to a lot of audiobooks and I have never heard a narrator capture the intensity, nuances, and downright scariness of a character like Santino Fontana does as Joe. Everything about his narration was perfect and let me tell you…for better or worse, he brings Joe ALIVE! **One note to let readers and/or listeners know, Joe often expresses himself using some very harsh and explicit language**
This book is the first in the series and, in my opinion, you absolutely MUST read this before Hidden Bodies.