You by Caroline Kepnes is an award winning thriller, known for being on the list of one of Suspense Magazines Best Books of 2014. It was also made into a TV-show featured first on Lifetime and then on Netflix in 2018. I first heard about it by seeing the ads on the NYC subway. This is going to a complicated review because I watched the show before I read the book.
The TV Show
You the TV show was super popular and got amazing ratings on Google and Rotten Tomatoes and decent reviews on IMBD. Is it just me or are people are always more critical on IMDB? Anyway, the TV show was amazing and incredible binge-able. The second season came out really quickly and was just as amazing as the first.
When I started reading the book, I was shocked at how similar it was to the show. I’ve seen many movies and shows after reading a book and they are always wildly different. This was not the case with the book, and it almost made it harder for me to read.
The book is very well-written and in many ways, scarier than the show. Joe is a much creepier character although you end up liking him in the book just like you do in the show. Without giving you spoilers, the show added many factors that made Joe more likable and made his actions seem more justified. The book isn’t quite as kind to him.
What do Other People Think?
On Goodreads, the book has almost a 4-star rating with over 130,000 reviewers. People loved how psychologically twisted it was and the online stalking aspect is something super terrifying for anyone with an active social media life. The main complaints are ones that I agree with. Such as, the TV show was somehow better than the book!
Sequel: Hidden Bodies
While I haven’t read it yet, You has a sequel called Hidden Bodies. This book is what season 2 of the show is loosely based on. It turns out that the author has a third and fourth sequel coming. Will I read Hidden Bodies after being slightly disappointed by You? Probably not. Will I read the sequels before watching the TV adaptations? Hell to the yes. But I guess that might require me to read Hidden Bodies… oh well.
If you haven’t seen the show yet but are intrigued by the plot, READ THE BOOK FIRST. You will not be disappointed if you read it first and then watch the show. I wish I had done this but I was already watching the show when I discovered that it was first a book. This is the only thing keeping me from binge-watching Little Fires Everywhere. It is an adaptation of a book and I will not fall into the watch-first-then-read trap again.
I may have discouraged you from reading You now and for that I apologize. Keep in mind that it will take a while for Caroline Kepnes to write the sequels and if you are as desperate to know what happens next as I am, you will have to read the first two books. Or, you can check out this Insider article for major differences between the show and book.
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I loved the TV series, maybe I will read the book someday!