I’ve actually had You on my shelf for a good few years now. I picked it up right when i started Uni (i think) as i found it cheap and liked the sound of it. As the years passed, i’d heard more and more mixed reviews that honestly put me off reading it. Then the announcement of the Netflix series came around, and well, i picked it up.
Thriller isn’t a genre that i read from often. Occasionally i like a really good shocking book or something that could scare me, and i’ve built up quite a few books on my shelve for times when i want something like this. I picked up You because of the Netflix series, and honestly i didn’t really know what to expect. I knew it was based on a stalker, but i didn’t know the premise of the book or what happened. i wanted to read it before watching the series mainly, and going in to it knowing nothing excited me.
The whole story felt quite generic to me, it wasn’t unusual really in the sense that it is literally boy stalks girl and it all gets a little out of hand. Joe (the protagonist and stalker) clearly has some mental health issues that aren’t addressed in the book. He becomes obsessed very quickly and has delusional tenancies which justifies what he is doing. This part is really effective in the sense that knowing someone doesn’t understand what they’re doing is wrong, is quite scary to read about.
One of the aspects to this book that i’m not sure worked hugely well, was the fact it was very much a monologue of Joe and what was happening. It was this thoughts in to the situation, which made everything seem a little more reasonable (stick with me, i’m making a point). Because Joe was constantly reasoning with himself why he’s making good choices about stealing from his targets flat and reading her emails for example, as a reader you have to take a step back and reason with yourself that he is actually in the wrong, a lot of the time in the book. I really liked this aspect of manipulation that draws the reader in to the story a little more.
On the flip side to this, the monologue aspect to the story made it quite difficult to follow, and in general i just didn’t enjoy it as much as i thought i would. The main complaint i’ve seen about You is the fact it’s written in second person, which has put a lot of people off reading it. I, however, got used to this very quickly and barely noticed it by the end of the book. I think it was written really well and i actually enjoyed the change in writing from pretty much everything else i read.
Overall, i really did enjoy this book. It was entertaining and kept me interested. However, i had some issues with cliched story-lines and also the ending just didn’t sit right with me. There were some plot points to be worked on, however, as a novel from the mind of a stalker, i thought it seemed incredibly well researched and the voice of Joe came off wonderfully.