Book Review: For You and Only You by Caroline Kepnes

She is such a writer that she puts words in my mouth while I’m standing right here, rewriting life in real time, and no, she can’t do this to me, to us.”

PLOT SUMMARY:

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.

GRADE: A-

REVIEW:

I’ve been a fan of Joe Goldberg since book one, and although he’s a crazy stalker serial killer, he’s also somewhat charming and hella funny. Not to mention that he seems to put himself in the craziest situations that offer a lot of dark humor. Now, Joe finds himself being the recipient of a writing fellowship at Harvard and instantly falls in love (as usual) with a fellow autodidact and fellowship classmate Wonder. Maybe I’m a little biased when it comes to this book being a writer myself, but I found so many things relatable to both the writing process and being in critique groups with other writers. I know non-writers may find some of the scenes boring, but I enjoyed the classroom scenes a lot. I’ll say that I was a little bummed at first thinking that Joe had turned over a new leaf and was giving up his murderous ways, however, he didn’t! Although, he didn’t kill as many people as he has in the past. I don’t know if I really liked his love interest Wonder that much, she was very family orientated, obsessed with her job at Dunkin’ Donuts, and didn’t seem to really care about her writing as much initially. And honestly, she never seemed that interested in Joe either. Then again, other than Love Quinn, I never felt like Joe’s love interests have really been that crazy about him. Having said that, I know the ending hinted at a certain type of ending, but I really hope that Joe decided to take a different approach and if there’s ever a sequel, I do hope to see a certain thriller writer in it! Sarah Beth was by far, the most interesting character in the whole bunch. My only gripe about the novel is that the True Crime podcast was only mentioned a few times and quickly forgotten so that plot wasn’t explored as much as I had hoped. This book didn’t have as many crazy plot twists as book three had, and at some point, the book did feel like it was dragging along for too long for no apparent reason. But I enjoy Joe, so I didn’t mind being in his head again for this adventure.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Random House for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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