by Caroline Kepnes
Expected Publication Date: February 24, 2016
Length: 448 pages
Obtained Via: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from the author in exchange for honest review consideration. This in no way affected my final opinion of the work.
#2 in You
View at the Traffic light:
Charmingly murderous antihero Joe continues his twisted quest for the perfect love in this thrilling follow-up to the “deeply dark yet mesmerizing” You(Booklist). When Joe follows the woman he wants to marry to the West Coast, he never imagines that his obsession will lead him to such tragedy…
After the heartbreak of losing his girlfriend, Beck, Joe Goldberg thought he’d never love again. But when mysterious Amy Adam begins working for Joe at Mooney Books, he finds himself obsessed with his new employee. Amy is Beck’s opposite—she hates Twitter, she doesn’t even have an email address, she’s completely unsearchable online—and she quickly captures Joe’s heart. But just before Joe can ask Amy to marry him, she disappears, leaving a trail of clues in her wake.
Joe is then forced to do something so vile, so awful that he nearly loses his mind: he moves to Los Angeles to find Amy. He is tortured by a series of aspiring Angelenos—an insufferable stand-up comedian, philistine booksellers, a money-hungry nanny, and a slutty ghostwriter—before meeting his ticket to a more luxurious world: a surgically enhanced, social media–savvy heiress named Love Quinn. But Joe can’t stop stalking Amy, despite the world opening up to him with Love on his arm. Will Joe finally escape his sordid past? Or is Love just the latest casualty in Joe’s unrelenting search for the perfect match?
Dear Caroline Kepnes: I would like the recipe for your witchcraft, please, because it’s the only explanation I can think of for why I find myself so enamored with Joe Goldberg. He’s terrible. I mean, we all know that, from the very first summary of YOU. He’s a stalker and a serial murderer. He’s the villain of the story! He is not someone you want to come across in the street.
But I love reading about him. In Hidden Bodies, Joe has moved to Los Angeles, and his spot-on commentary about our world is just as spot-on as ever. Much like in YOU, as Joe begins to extract vengeance for everyone he perceives as having wronged him, he points out their flaws so effortlessly that in the end you shake your head at both Joe and them.
Joe originally moves to Los Angeles after his girlfriend-at-the-time, Amy, dumps him–and takes off with several thousands of dollars in rare books to fund her way. Well, Joe is a revenge kind of guy, and he’s not going to stand for that — he wants to make Amy pay. When he gets to California, though, he finds Amy much more elusive than he originally thought she would be. Along the way, Joe meets Love(yes, actual name, and yes, they discuss the uniqueness of it in the book), a woman who has dabbled in the entertainment industry and has been funded by her rich parents. As Joe begins to fall in love with Love, thoughts of Amy subside. Mostly. But of course, Love’s own circle of friends and family contains people that Joe aren’t so keen on. . . and Joe has a way of removing obstacles from his life. Permanently.
It did take me awhile to get into the flow of being back in Joe’s head. It felt really weird to be reading about Joe without the mix of first and second person that YOU used so well. There’s nothing like that in Hidden Bodies, only straight first person all the way through. About fifteen percent in, though, I found myself nodding along at some of Joe’s dark humor once again. Hidden Bodies keeps up the dark, graphic, explicit story began in YOU, and there’s a lot of people who won’t like these books. There’s a lot of drugs, sex, and murder, for one–even more than in YOU. But Kepnes gets into Joe’s head so well that you don’t want to look away(and not just because Joe’s the type of person you should have your eye on at all times if you want to survive).
Much like YOU, Hidden Bodies is an intriguing look into the mind of someone like Joe. I found his character progression really fascinating. While Joe has always been smart, Kepnes manages to portray the highs and lows of his mental state to the point where you can never quite tell what’s going to happen. Is Joe going to be his own undoing? Is his past going to catch up with him? Is he going to manage to evade being found out again? It’s almost impossible to tell until the very end, which accounts for the book’s fast pace. There were spots were I found some of the plot devices quite unbelievable(way more unbelievable than anything that happens in YOU), and where I raised my eyebrows. . . but I couldn’t help but to keep reading once again.
Just as mesmerizing, intriguing, and disturbing as YOU. I don’t know how Kepnes does it, but I’m fascinated by Joe Goldberg. 4/5 cupcakes.