Author: Caroline Kepnes
Type: Standalone in a series
POV: Second person
Published: September 30, 2014
Joe Goldberg is a twenty something that lives in Brooklyn and works at a privately owned bookstore. Dedicated to reading, Joe lives a fairly solitary life but he enjoys his routine until a unique customer catches his attention.
“It is fun to fuck with you and you can’t decide if I’m pretentious or insane and I can’t tell if you’re being sweet or patronizing when you laugh.”
Guinevere Beck (known as Beck) is a MFA student at NYU without much direction in her personal life. Always wanting to be accepted by her friends and flirting with men that draw her attention doesn’t capture what she’s lost and seeking.
“Full of disclaimers, you’re like a warning label on a pack of cigarettes.”
Told from Joe’s perspective, the story unfolds with his account of Beck’s life as he stalks her. With his observations and inner monologue, getting acquainted with Joe’s beliefs and thoughts becomes second nature. Following his trail of Beck offers insight into her personality, as well as the lengths Joe will take to obtain what he wants.
“You are a woman and I am a man and we belong in the dark together and you smell good, pure. I like this”
In starting this book, I was expecting a heart pounding thriller but the story became more of a character study of humanity and often how it is sadly lacking. Ironically, the character that should have been the most repellent was the most relatable despite his creepy and disturbing methods. As for Beck, I did not like her nor did she ever seem to learn from her mistakes or try to be accountable for anything.
Overall, the storyline kept me intrigued, as I wanted to know what Joe would do next, but the pacing was slow at times and diminished the buildup of certain plot points. That said, Joe is a memorable character who will always keep the reader guessing his next move.
You will appeal to those who enjoy reading about flawed characters and their descent into immorality and deception.