Author: Caroline Kepnes
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
American release date: November 1, 2016
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Serial Killer Thriller/448 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★
Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes
How sad that Guinevere Beck, the long-time object of Joe Goldberg’s devotion (read: obsession) turned out not to be THE ONE. How sad that Joe was forced to deal with her as he had dealt with idiotic Benji and the bitchy Peach before her. But now he has Amy and life is going to be good again, right?
Right up until the time it isn’t. Joe, too caught up in Amy, his emotions overriding his common sense, ignores the red flags and goes against his own rules, and then suffers the consequences when she steals about $23k in valuable books from the bookstore (which he foolishly gave her a key to the basement), including almost all the copies of Portnoy’s Complaint Joe had amassed (at her behest), and then nopes the heck out of Dodge. Berating himself for his blind stupidity, Joe comes across clues that Amy inadvertently left behind regarding her intentions, her aspirations and her dreams. So, it’s off to Hollywood for Joe! To locate and kill one Amy Adam.
Before he goes, Joe visits Mr. Mooney and tells him what has occurred and how he is going to Hollywood. Mr. Mooney has valuable words of wisdom for Joe, which includes being fellated, not sleeping with actresses, not watching too many movies. Don’t call vegetables veggies and don’t go in the ocean.
Before arriving in LA, Joe applies for a job at a used bookstore next to the UCB (Upright Citizens Brigade) with a guy named Calvin and puts out feelers for girls trying to sell copies of Portnoy. He constructs a social media presence for himself, including Facebook, and starts to receive Friend Requests. He applies for an apartment at a building called Hollywood Lawns. The manager, Harvey Swallows, is an older aspiring stand-up comic who responds to Joe’s email with a Facebook friend request and an invitation to be his fan. Then Joe plasters a fake casting call on Craigslist, “specifically designed to appeal to Amy’s overweening ego”.
Joe is assigned an apartment on the first floor, near the office, and Harvey introduces him to another guy in the building, named Dez, who is a drug dealer. Dez emphatically warns Joe not to f*** Delilah. He meets Delilah, who turns out to be a gossip reporter who is easy on the eyes and a tendency to be clingy.
Joe establishes a routine. Well, as much of a routine as he can in a place like LA. He shops at the Pantry, where all the cashiers end their checking out process with “Ray and Dottie send their love.” Apparently, they are the owners and lovely people. He goes to the bars where he thinks Amy might show up, but she is never there, to his frustration. He hadn’t planned to spend any real time here, but this isn’t going the way he hoped. At least not yet.
An accidental viewing of a video of the comic Henderson puts Joe on Amy’s scent (Calvin actually made him watch it). Joe is convinced that Henderson and Amy are an item. Calvin is hoping to get Henderson interested in his spec screenplay Ghost Food Truck, and apparently there is a party at Hendy’s house tonight. What fortuitous timing! Now how to get in?
The next day, Joe learns about an audition that is being held for women that fit Amy’s type, and he’s convinced that she’ll be there. She isn’t, but Fate must be on his side because that is where he meets Love Quinn.
The second book in the You series moves us from New York City to Hollywood, which has a vibe all its own. Joe, being the survivor that he is, learns how to fit in without becoming one of them. Determined to find Amy and end her, he unexpectedly meets the love of his love, Love Quinn, and her twin brother Forty (tennis, anyone?). This book is no less of a roller-coaster ride than the first one, with Joe on the verge of being found out and called to order for what he’s done a number of times.
And he keeps on doing what he does best.
Joe is a great character, although honestly I wouldn’t want to meet him. He has no real conscience and kills without a second thought, although he is able to self-justify every killing. If you are interested in watching the series, which I am doing, be aware that the series does diverge in some areas. In the first season, they introduced a young boy, a neighbor of Joe’s, who lives with his mother and her abusive boyfriend. In the second season, Joe has a neighbor with a teenage sister who Joe befriends. They don’t exist in the books.
Joe’s adventures are hilarious as he learns to deal with the people who call Hollywood home. But he can’t help but remember that dang jar of urine he left behind in Peach’s mansion, wondering if it will ever come back to bite him in the a**. However, with Love on his side, he feels he can get through anything. Including Love’s obnoxious, waste-of-space twin. Unless, of course, Love figures out what Joe really is.
I enjoyed the sequel as much as the first book, and I hear the author is working on volumes 3 and 4. Can’t wait.