Review// You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes

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Author: Caroline Kepnes
Series: You #3
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Book Length: 385
Publisher: Random House
Review: 1/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Joe is done with the cities. He’s done with the muck and the posers, done with Love. Now, he’s saying hello to nature, to simple pleasures on a cozy island in the Pacific Northwest. For the first time in a long time, he can just breathe.

He gets a job at the local library—he does know a thing or two about books—and that’s where he meets her: Mary Kay DiMarco. Librarian. Joe won’t meddle; he will not obsess. He’ll win her the old-fashioned way: by providing a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand. Over time, they’ll both heal their wounds and begin their happily ever after in this sleepy town.

The trouble is, Mary Kay already has a life. She’s a mother. She’s a friend. She’s busy.

True love can only triumph if both people are willing to make room for the real thing. Joe cleared his decks. He’s ready. And hopefully, with his encouragement and undying support, Mary Kay will do the right thing and make room for him.

My Review:

If I could sum this book up in one word, it would be: disappointing, which actually shocks me because You is on my favourites shelf, and I enjoyed Hidden Bodies too. But oh boy, this was Not It™.

Joe was insufferable in this book. Between his “Meercats”, “Murakami’s”, “Mothballs” “RIPs”, and “Rats”, I wanted to pull my hair out. Just call people by their regular names, please. It felt like he was going around in circles bringing up the same made-up nicknames for people and things and its like we get it! The first few times it was okay, but it kept happening in literally every chapter and it really irked me; it did not seem authentic, it just seemed like he was trying way too hard.

In the other 2 books, but especially You, I loved being inside Joe’s mind. I thought his character was so well written that I actually wanted him to kill Beck, and Love, and Peach, and everybody else who crossed his path (I know, it sounds bad), but this time, I didn’t – I just wanted him to stop talking. What made him such a good character to me was that he had this affect on me before where I knew he was a bad guy, but I somehow still wanted him to succeed, and that was not the case here. I just felt annoyed the entire time and I’m honestly so sad about it!

Also, the way he and Mary Kay met and were instantly in love felt so random and forced upon the reader. I guess I’m just used to Joe kind of chasing the woman a bit, like a cat and mouse game, but there was none of that suspense involved in their meet. It was kind of just like, ‘well, she’s married so I guess I have to convince her to not have any morals about this affair I’m trying to get her into’. However, I hated how hot and cold she was too – honestly just make up your mind already! And do not get me started on Melanda. Not only did her dialogue annoy the heck out of me, but the way he was texting from her phone gave me second-hand embarrassment; it felt extremely animated, as if he were trying to type like a 16-year-old girl, even though she’s probably like a 30-something year old woman. Her dialogue made me think she was in her 50s, his texting pretending to be her made me think she was 16; it was so strange.

Anyway, as upset as I feel to have to say this, I think it might be time for me to retire Joe and his narrative from my rotation of insta-pickups; I just can’t take another one like this, and I would rather not continue to taint the image of one of my favourite books by reading something that I’m no longer enjoying the direction of.

– Catherine

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Dark Academia Book Aesthetics 💀☕️ | Read and TBR

As described by Wikipedia, dark academia is an aesthetic centered on higher education, writing, the arts, and classic Greek and Gothic architecture, as well as romantic longing and death — think 19th and early 20th century at private schools in England; bitter black coffee; blazers; vintage jewelry; and dark colours.

Today I will be talking about some books I’ve read with this theme, as well as books I want to read.

If We Were Villans by M.L. Rio

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If this cover does not scream dark academia, I don’t know what does; that skull is making me think that this book will be eerie and mysterious. I haven’t read this one yet, but it has a really good rating on Goodreads and the plot sounds intriguing. The protagonist, Oliver, is an actor studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college. One of the actors in the play ends up dying, an the other actors have to convince the police that they didn’t do it. However, Oliver had gone to jail for 10 years for the crime, so it sounds like we as the reader have to figure out if he actually did it or not.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

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Whoa, skulls on the cover again. I guess skulls are a thing for dark academia, which would make sense if death is part of it. I have read this book, and I feel like this might be a controversial opinion, but personally, I wasn’t a fan. However, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that it exudes allll the dark academia vibes. This is the story of college roommates, Victor and Eli, who in their senior year start conducting experiments surrounding near death experiences. Victor goes to jail, and when he gets out, tries to find Eli, who is now his enemy. I guess jail is another dark academia thing, because both this book and If We Were Villans seem to have that going for them. 🤷‍♀️

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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So this book is one I started ~ a year ago, haven’t finished, but plan to start over and complete. From what I’d read, it was really good! I think the intimidating part is that I own an e-copy but don’t own a kindle, so I had to read it on my phone, and given the fact that it is 771 pages in paperback, it was a little daunting to read on such a tiny screen 😬 but anyway, that’s besides the point! This book is about a boy named Theo who survives a tragedy that kills his mother. Theo clings to a small painting that reminds him of his mother, and that draws him in to the world of art. Ultimately, this book is about love, identity, and art – all at the forefront of dark academia.

Has anyone read any other good books with a dark academia vibe? Have you read any of the ones I mentioned? I’d love to know your thoughts 🙂

-Catherine