Series: You #2
Published by Atria/Emily Bestler Books on February 23rd 2016
Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.
In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice...
Sometimes I’m really glad that I still listen to my gut instinct and don’t solely rely on reviews (though they are right most of the time). I almost didn’t pick this book up because so many people who loved You said that they found the sequel disappointing.
And I can definitely see why people think so: Whilst You is a psychological thriller with a heavy lean on contemporary, Hidden Bodies is a contemporary with a slight lean on psychological thriller. The tone is very different, yet also the same, because it is still narrated by Joe who is just as witty, intelligent and sociopathic as in the previous book.
Writing a sequel to a book such as You is an almost impossible task. On the one hand, it needs to be different enough not to feel pointless and repetitive, but at the same time, if it’s too different, readers will be disappointed. It’s a difficult balance to find. In my opinion though, Caroline Kepnes did a great job.
We experience the story through Joe Goldberg’s eyes as he, yet again, gets obsessed with a woman and follows her to Los Angeles. The story is thrilling and I never wanted to stop reading; sometimes the things Joe did made me feel so anxious that I just wanted to jump into the book and scream at him to stop. But here’s the thing about the way Caroline Kepnes writes these books: I didn’t want to jump in in order to stop Joe from doing horrendous things, rather, I wanted to stop him because I was terrified he was going to get caught. I wanted to save him. Mind you, we’re talking about a cold-blooded serial killer.
The novel is so beautifully written and dynamic, even without that original intrigue of discovering this insane story for the first time. You will go into it knowing what to expect and for some readers that will be a problem, but it wasn’t for me. True, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as You, but I just love reading from Joe’s perspective too much to not like it.
This book was not as shocking and appalling but I still found myself intrigued by the story and curious as to what was going to happen next. Joe’s commentary on Los Angeles was hilarious, even though all the pop culture references sometimes took me out of the story (a problem I also had while reading the first one). The book was full of plot twists that constantly kept me on my toes.
The side characters in this book were also fabulous. Surprisingly, I actually ended up quite liking Love. And most of the others were so despicable I wanted Joe to punch them in the face (he ended up taking the more radical route). I find that it always speaks of an author’s talent, if she can make you hate characters with such passion.
The main downfall of Hidden Bodies, was how incredibly contrived and convenient some (most) of the plot twists were. I found it difficult to suspend my disbelief and that majorly impacted my enjoyment of the story.
Overall, this may not be as good as You and you might find it an unnecessary addition, yet, I would recommend it if you love Joe. It resolves quite a few open plot threads and gives you more fun social commentary. Can’t wait for the next one in this crazy series!
P.S. I think a part of why I love this series so much it because I listened to it on audiobook. If you enjoy audiobooks at all, I highly recommend this one, the narrator is fantastic.