Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 30 September 2014
Format: Hardcover, 432 pgs
Source: Personal Library
This story is told in second person point of view. Joe, who is working in a bookstore, is instantly smitten with aspiring writer Guinevere Beck the moment she steps into the store. Joe is our narrator and he's addressing to Beck throughout this story. I have to admit second person POV is my least favourite style amongst all. Not only it is the least commonly used POV in fiction but also I think the effectiveness is not that great but I was intrigued with Joe's thoughts so I read on.
Beck isn't shy to talk to strangers and she loves sharing her thoughts online (as Joe found out later through the stuff he read on her site). As if that aren't enough, she's also an exhibitionist (as Joe knew through his stalking) and she seems to have a huge crush on a man called Benji. Joe is determined to make her his; he broke into her house to read her stuff when she was away. He pocketed her mobile when she thought she'd lost it, and knew all her comments and movements through the emails she responded to her friends (she didn't want to delete her old lost mobile in case her mother freaked out; plus she thought it wasn't a big deal). Joe's behaviours are deemed abnormal and all his acts make him an obsessive stalker.
However, Beck isn't really an angel either. She is self-centered; she likes having flings and there of course, she likes talking with strangers. The thing is, she hardly mentions Joe to her friends, despite her habit of sharing gossips and trading stories with them and this makes readers wondering where Joe stand. At times like this, it somewhat makes readers feel sympathetic towards him, given what he had done for Beck and she didn't appreciate or reciprocate his feelings. It felt strange, given he is a stalker. But of course we all knew this obsessive relationship would quickly spiral into something uncontrollable, and this is where the (creepy) thrill element comes in.
You is a dark, twisted and compelling story about obsessive relationship and deceit. Because this is written in second person POV, Joe's thoughts and behaviours shine like neon lights, signalling his dark and "protective" side. However, the more we get to know Joe, we also found out that he is actually a clever, well read person and a discipline man too. What scenario looms ahead became unknown, because the more Joe shares his thoughts, we began to see something different as well.
I wanted to say this story wasn't appealing to me for a few reasons but I couldn't. For starters, the second person POV doesn't fit my reading but in this case it fits the stalking theme. And, there isn't any likeable characters here but they are interesting in their own way. It makes you think of some people's behaviours and how judgemental we can be at times. Then there is also this unreliable factor which makes you wonder about Joe and Beck; what kind of a person they truly are. And finally, which book lovers doesn’t love a bookstore setting and having some bookish references here and there?
Note: There are some graphic account in terms of sexuality and language.