Thursday, March 17, 2016

You and Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

What They Say.....From debut author Caroline Kepnes comes You, one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Books of 2014, and a brilliant and terrifying novel for the social media age.

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.

A terrifying exploration of how vulnerable we all are to stalking and manipulation, debut author Caroline Kepnes delivers a razor-sharp novel for our hyper-connected digital age. You is a compulsively readable page-turner that’s being compared to Gone GirlAmerican Psycho, and Stephen King’s Misery.

What They Say.....In the compulsively readable follow-up to her widely acclaimed debut novel, You, Caroline Kepnes weaves a tale that Booklist calls “the love child of Holden Caulfield and Patrick Bateman.”

Hidden Bodies marks the return of a voice that Stephen King described as original and hypnotic, and through the divisive and charmingly sociopathic character of Joe Goldberg, Kepnes satirizes and dissects our culture, blending suspense with scathing wit.

Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: truelove. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice...

What I Say.....I did this all wrong.  I read Hidden Bodies before You.  Don't make my mistake, but if you do, it won't ruin your life.  But the second book refers to the first a lot, so just take my advice and go in order.

I will say in the second book, I had a lot more sympathy for Joe.  Amy was a really crappy person, and watching him track her was fascinating.  Not that anyone deserves to have someone stalking them with intent to kill, but I was having a hard time summoning any real sympathy for her.  So that's the mark of a great writer, right?  That I'm siding with the serial killer and saying maybe the victim might have asked for it. Geez, that sentence was even difficult to type out loud.

In You, Joe falls in love with eternal student, Beck.  Initially, it just seems like a mutual attraction, but Joe's interest grows as Beck's wanes.  It's kind of amazing because from a outsider's viewpoint, Beck is immature, kind of dirty, selfish, and a bit pretentious.  And Joe sees all of that, but he seems to overlook it because once she's with him, this will all change.

But love looks a lot different to Joe than it does to the average guy.  It's less about love and more about stalking and watching and collecting.  I had to keep reminding myself that a woman wrote this book, because the guy's voice was so perfect.  Although, if a guy had actually written it, I might be telling people to check his basement for a cage.

I don't want to give any spoilers away, but Hidden Bodies continues to follow Joe's odd path, this time true love takes him to Los Angeles.  A twist in his path leads to new love, but the past keeps popping back up to haunt him.  In the form of dried urine in an old coffee cup.  In the form of a cop who remembers him a little too well and in the form of a starlet who won't take no for an answer.

Once again, Joe's path to true love is riddled with obstacles.  The real story is watching how Joe sees the obstacles and what he feels is necessary to remove them.  

This was very similar to Dexter in a way for me - you end up rooting for the bad guy, caring for him, wanting him to get away with murder, even as you remind yourself that he kills innocent people.  And yet, you still want him to be okay.

So, so good.   My sister listened the audiobooks and then immediately started them over, she thought they were that good.  I agree.

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