Allow me to preface this review of You Love Me by saying I would often stare at this book between chapters, asking myself if I wanted to keep subjecting my final two brain cells to the unending thoughts of one Mr Joe Goldberg. I did, by the way. It was like watching a car crash into a fucking pet store. I couldn’t look away, no matter how screwed up it got.

You Love Me is the third book in the thrilling You series by Caroline Kepnes. Joe has swapped his life in the city for a cosy island in the Pacific Northwest. He actively wants to do and be better, which is a laugh considering he frequently stalked and then murdered people in the past. RIP.

Joe gets a job at the local library and that’s where he meets her: Mary Kay DiMarco. Here we go again.

Mary Kay is a librarian, who Joe is determined to win the old fashioned way. He will be her shoulder to cry on and a helping hand. But Mary Kay already has a life: she’s a mother and a friend. She’s busy.

If you haven’t read the books, then this will be a surprise. Season 2 left off with Joe and Love Quinn expecting a child, dot, dot, dot.

The second book, however, ended a lot differently. And from what I’ve read of season 3 so far, it sounds like Netflix is taking it in a different direction too. Will it still borrow from You Love Me‘s most messed up bits? Probably.

Not a spoiler: Joe is still Joe in You Love Me. He’s still telling himself that he’s Mr Fucking Good Guy. It was amusing to read, actually, because here is a man who is not Mr Fucking Good Guy, congratulating himself for not bashing someone’s head in. Joe doesn’t do that anymore, apparently.

Instead, he swans around town trying to be good. He fights the patriarchy, he helps people, he cares. And Joe is funny and charming (when he wants to be) and a bottomless bit of pop culture references. And he’s living in a small town now, full of annoying and nosy people, which makes it easier to like Joe and hate everybody else.

And it’s all for you, Mary Kay.

Joe’s commitment to being good lulled me into a false sense of security. I thought I guessed the plot so I blindly devoured the book, waiting for him to fuck up. It was maddening and so distracting that I didn’t see the twist coming. Or the other twist, or the next one after that, and so on and so forth until the fucking epilogue.

Netflix.

You Love Me jerked me in so many different directions I had to gasp, sometimes in shock, sometimes in straight-up enjoyment. It got me so good, and if season 3 is anything like it, then we’re in for a fucked ride. I can’t wait.

You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes is available wherever you buy your books.

Kepnes is writing a fourth book in the series, by the way. I heavily sighed when I first found out, but I will of course be reading it now. I need to know what happens next.

With thanks to Simon and Schuster for an advanced copy. 

Litty Committee is Pedestrian.TV’s twice-monthly book column. Every month, we’ll take you through the newest reads and spotlight a novel we think you might like.

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Image: Simon & Schuster Australia, Netflix