For You and Only You – A Joe Goldberg Novel by Caroline Kepnes #BookReview @carolinekepnes @randomhouse #NetGalley #ForYouandOnlyYou @BaysideBookReviews #thriller #suspense #mystery #WomensFiction

Pub Date 25 Apr 2023
Random House Publishing Group – Random House, Random House
General Fiction (Adult) | Mystery & Thrillers | Women’s Fiction


New York Times bestselling author Caroline Kepnes, whose acclaimed YOU series inspired the hit show on Netflix, follows Joe Goldberg to the hallowed halls of Harvard, where he earns a coveted place in a writing fellowship . . . and leaves crimson in his wake.

Joe Goldberg is ready for a change. Instead of selling books, he’s writing them. And he’s off to a good start. Glenn Shoddy, an acclaimed literary author, recognizes Joe’s genius and invites him to join a tight-knit writing fellowship at Harvard. Finally, Joe will be in a place where talent matters more than pedigree . . . where intellect is the great equalizer and anything is possible. Even happy endings. Or so he thinks, until he meets his already-published, already-distinguished peers, who all seem to be cut from the same elitist cloth.

Thankfully, Wonder Parish enters the picture. They have so much in common. No college degrees, no pretensions, no stories from prep school or grad school. Just a love for literature. If only Wonder could commit herself to the writing life, they could be those rare literary soulmates who never fall prey to their demons. Wonder has a tendency to love, to covet, but Joe is a believer in the rule of fiction: If you want to write a book, you have to kill your darlings.

With her trademark satirical, biting wit, Caroline Kepnes explores why vulnerable people bring out the worst in others as Joe sets out to make this small, exclusive world a fairer place. And if a little crimson runs in the streets of Cambridge . . . who can blame him? Love doesn’t conquer all. Often, it needs a little push.

Adele’s Review:

I could hardly wait to see which psychotic fantasies Joe Goldberg dreams up in the latest offering of the YOU series from Caroline Kepnes. Honestly, this author is a genius. She writes stories from the deep POV of a malignant psychopath, and makes us want to root for him, even when it makes us feel guilty because we know we shouldn’t.

Joe fixates on his newest target in the first pages of the book. He stalks a woman named Wonder until he learns her patterns, idealizes her as his perfect partner, and then finds a way to meet and date her. The story is written in Joe’s stream of consciousness, as if he’s talking out loud. After watching the YOU series on Netflix, I recalled the sound of actor Penn Badgley’s voice, and that helped me follow this character’s cra-crazy self-talk. This turned out to be a valuable tool, because the reader needs to let go and become fully immersed in Joe’s voice to follow the story. Joe thinks in fits and starts; sometimes with three things happening at once, and it’s the reader’s job to keep up. This reviewer found the process both interesting and enjoyable.

Joe Goldberg is a narcissist, a violent psychopath, and a serial killer. He sees himself as a good guy, and a hero, whose purpose is to show others how to love. And God help them if they don’t measure up. Everyone around Joe sees him as harmless, since he’s good-looking, charming, and a chameleon. The juxtaposition of who he is and how others see him creates numerous laugh-out-loud moments or tense scenarios. No one is who they seem to be. There are twists and turns and a few surprises I never saw coming in this highly recommended, unique novel. Loved it!

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