Wednesday, 24 February 2016

"Hidden Bodies" by Caroline Kepnes | Book Review

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes
Publishing Date: February 23, 2016
Pages: 448
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Links: Goodreads | Indigo | Book Depository | Kobo

In this sequel to the acclaimed You, Joe Goldberg is back and he's still looking for love. This time around, our charming sociopath's search takes him to Los Angeles, where despite his contempt for the L.A. culture, he fits right in. But will all the hidden bodies from his time in New York come back to haunt him?

First off, even though this is a sequel, you could easily read Hidden Bodies as a standalone novel because at the beginning, the author spends a few pages recalling the events of the first book.

I've seen Joe described as Holden Caulfield meets Patrick Bateman, and it's so true, I think that's a great description of him. He travels in search of something more in life, all the while telling us his views on the world he sees, and at the same time, he's a sociopath and he usually sees L.A. and its people in a disdainful way. He doesn't let it show though - outwardly, he's so charming and he fits right in with pretty much everyone he meets, despite his inner monologue showing us what he really thinks of those around him.

When Joe first gets to L.A. and starts acclimating to the new territory, joining social media, trying to make it in Hollywood and such, I was a little skeptical about what he was doing and what direction the story would go in. It seemed at first like Joe was going against everything he'd stood for in You. It didn't feel right. But as I got more and more into the story, everything came together and made sense, given the strange new setting. I ended up really liking the fish-out-of-water aspect of Joe being in L.A.

Hidden Bodies is very different from You. There's no more second person narration, which was something major that I liked about the first one because it's so unique. I don't think it suffered for having a different kind of narration though, and it makes perfect sense with the progression of the story from the last book. There are also far fewer book references this time around; instead, there are a lot of references to movies and music, which I liked. Once again, I have a bunch of titles I need to check out after reading Joe's story!

Overall I really enjoyed this sequel, even though I wasn't sure about the new setting at first. Caroline Kepnes does such a great job of building tension with regards to the events of the first book haunting Joe's thoughts, and by the end there was so much action and drama...I was anxious and exclaiming "Oh my god!" out loud. If you enjoyed You, I think you'll like Hidden Bodies as well, but you should keep in mind that this sequel is very different. Personally, I could read this series forever because it's interesting to read such a unique and, yes, disturbing perspective. Joe Goldberg is back in full force.

You can read my review of the first book, You, here.

*This book was sent to me by Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review.

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