I get my true crime fix daily via my favorite podcasts, I’m making my way through every Gillian Flynn novel, and I try to see every horror film I can as soon as it’s available. What can I say? I’m a sucker for some dark, twisted sh*t.
Caroline Kepnes’ 2014 novel You is everything I look for in a book. I like to refer to You as the anti-romance novel. It follows the story of Joe Goldberg, a bookstore clerk. One day, the girl of his dreams (Guinevere Beck, known simply as Beck) pops into the shop, and he’s immediately taken aback by her. You chronicles his experience meeting and falling in love with Beck (which is a deep infatuation). It’s dark, disturbing at times, and SO ADDICTING. I read the entire book in just a few days, and I told everyone I knew to read it ASAP. I even started dreaming about the characters — that’s how you know they’re good!
So, when I heard Lifetime was turning You into a show, I screamed with pure happiness and felt like the proudest mom out there. My favorite novel was coming to the small screen!
Here’s why I’m utterly obsessed with everything You (aka why you need to order the book and watch the pilot on Lifetime literally as soon as you finish reading this):
I’ve read You multiple times since I first picked up the book, so the characters are pretty much embossed into my brain as real people. The casting was incredibly important to how I’d see the show. Joe needed to have a creep factor; Beck needed a whimsical vibe; Peach needed some bitchiness. Oh, and Dr. Nicky needed to be emotionally detached and oh-so-sexy.
Lifetime checked off every single one of my boxes. Penn Badgley is somehow both beautiful and terrifying, likable and absolutely terrible all at the same time. (I will say, it is kind of weird to see Dan Humphrey stalking a woman and stealing her underwear, but *spoiler alert* I guess that isn’t all that different from being Gossip Girl, xoxo) Elizabeth Lail, who plays Beck, is stunning, smart, and absolutely naïve (in the best way). I also spent half the first episode trying to figure out what show I know her from. Once Upon A Time fans will remember her as Princess Anna of Arendelle, so you’re welcome. Peach Salinger (related to the one and only J.D. of course), Beck’s oldest friend who wants to be a little more than friends, is played by the Instagram goddess and Pretty Little Liars vet Shay Mitchell. It’s the perfect fit. Everyone’s favorite uncle, John Stamos, plays Dr. Nicky, Beck’s therapist. He isn’t in the pilot, so I’ll be patiently waiting until we get to see his gorgeous self.
There aren’t many book-to-screen changes
I’m someone who gets really protective over books, and when my favorite books get turned into movies or shows, I get a little anxious that ~anything~ will be changed, and my entire book-to-movie/show experience will be ruined. I’ve cried walking out of the theater for my favorite book-to-movie adaptations — yeah, it’s that serious. So, as I sat in front of my laptop, pilot episode buffering while my popcorn finished popping, I started to get real nervous.
Then, Joe and Beck meet, and Joe spews his line about “going at it right there in the stacks.” I knew. See, when you read a book a few times over, you start to memorize the dialogue. It’s like a song! The book dialogue is masterfully similar, if not the same, to the writing of the show. Lifetime has somehow achieved the perfect balance of “this is TV, so things need to be a little more toned down and different” and “we know you want to see Joe go full-on crazy, just like the book.” His inner dialogue is enough to make your skin crawl as you read the book, and Badgley’s voiceovers in the Pilot have the exact same effect. It’s the ole’ “I know it’s bad but I can’t look away.”
It says something about how we use social media
Joe takes as much as Beck’s name from her credit card and finds out where she goes to school, the studio where she teaches yoga, her class schedule, all about her friends’ lives, and he even reverse image searches a moving day picture to find her exact address. By the end of the episode, Joe knows pretty much everything he could possibly know about Beck without barely having spoken to her.
It’s normal to Google someone you’re meeting on a first date or for a job interview. We like to know who we’re meeting, and we’re not so keen on that kind of surprises. However, You shows just how much you can find out about a person with a simple search of their name. I’m the first to admit I’ve found information about my Tinder matches sister’s best friend’s wedding in Bali just by a first name and school. Heck, I know people who’ve used a first and last name and Venmo to find guys they see in a bar. When Joe begins his initial social media sleuth session, he even says: “Every account set to public. You want to be seen.” It’s an interesting concept You got me thinking about and maybe take precautions to prevent. To think your Starbucks barista could look at your card or drivers license and within moments of a quick search know your address? BRB, just going to put every single one of my accounts on private!
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It’s as much about the stalker as it is the stalked
While Kepnes set out to show the mind of someone so obsessed with another that they’ll do a lot for their idea of love, she also says a lot about Beck’s character. Beck moved to New York to follow her dreams of being a writer, and she works her ass off to just pay her rent. She feels pressured to measure up to her rich friends, spending hundreds of dollars she doesn’t have on a scarf for her friend’s birthday. Kepnes gets into the complexities of Beck from the start, and the show provides that exact same characterization.
It’s just absolutely addicting
Just as the first few chapters had me staying up until 4am reading (and then staying up another three hours because I couldn’t stop thinking about every little detail), I’ve already rewatched the pilot twice in anticipation for the next episode. I’m so enthralled by how the characters lives will intertwine, how Joe will continue to pull off this crazy charade, and if Beck will ever get some damn curtains or blinds to cover her windows.
For the same reason we were all so obsessed with Sharp Objects (still obsessed tbh), You tells us that you never really know a person. Except this time, we’re not wondering who the murderer is — he’s our leading man and our narrator. Creepy, huh? Thankfully, You is already renewed for season two, so there are no signs of our Joe Goldberg fix stopping any time soon.
Okay, now, it’s your turn to be obsessed, too:
Watch You on Lifetime on Sundays at 10 PM EST/PST or 9 PM CST or on the Lifetime website or app if you have a cable login. If you don’t have cable, you can still watch You on Hulu with Live TV, Fubo TV, and Philo TV.