Hidden Bodies (You #2), by Caroline Kepnes

1 Dec
hidden bodies caroline kepnes

Three of Five stars

I received this book from NetGalley to review, and I requested it because I loved “You” and adore my favorite serial killer Joe. I think this is a good solid book, and it’s fine as a sequel, but I just can’t say it was as good as the original.

There were a lot of wonderful things about “You”, enough to really push it to the highest 5 star level… but I found many of those things missing in this book. There were only a few recent pop culture references scattered throughout, and just about no book references except for Portnoy’s Complaint. I suppose those were replaced by the film and California culture references, but they weren’t the same.

In the original, Joe’s schizophrenic bi-polar brain was constantly changing its mind about the people he knew and the situations he was in. From page to page you didn’t know what mood he was going to be in… but this happened very rarely in “Hidden Bodies”. Yes, he changed several times, but it wasn’t near the ride that “You” was, in fact I think he spends an entire summer quite happily in this book and my attention started wandering. Who wants to see Joe happy all the time?

I found all of Joe’s stalking on social media in “You” to be quite hilarious and imaginative, but he doesn’t do that here, so that is missing – in fact he doesn’t stalk anyone in any way (other than Amy for a hot minute). And there’s none of the confusion for the reader about whether Joe is really crazy or if he’s no more crazy than the rest of us, or whether we’re cheering him on because he’s doing what we wish we could. In this book, when Joe is happy, he is happy, when someone is in the way, he kills them. And that’s about the whole story.

And because Joe has gotten so good at killing, he no longer really fears being caught. He fears his old mugofurine but not any of the murders in this book. So it becomes simply: This guy/girl is in my way, so now I will kill him/her, and now I go on with my life.

This may seem like I’m only complaining about this book, and I’m not, it’s quite good, but in reality I just cannot throw praise at it like I did “You”. I think my biggest problem is that there is no fun in Joe being happy. The best part of Joe is that he never wins, he is always the underdog, he always has to keep trying, and things are always just out of his reach. In “Hidden Bodies” he gets… everything. And though the ending is certainly not a cut & dry happy one, all signs point to happy ever after… and that means the end to Joe’s story.

Let me give a big plus for it: When we learn how someone has solved the mystery, it is a web of coincidences, outright mistakes, and mugofurines. Someone catches Joe using the same detective work that Joe used for his own prey. There was a fitting adversary out there afterall, and I loved all the connections and previous references.

But is it as good as “You”? Absolutely not. For me it’s just about a 3.5. However as a standalone I might have given it 4, so I’m bumping it there.
Should you read it? If you read “You”, you have to find out what happens to Joe. I won’t promise you’ll be satisfied with it, but neither will you think your time was wasted.

EDIT TO ADD 12-03-2015: I’m changing the rating to 3 stars. I’ve read over my review for “You” and it reminded me how wonderful that book was. As much as I love and respect Caroline Kepnes and her writing, if I have to be the sole voice of honesty here then I will: “Hidden Bodies” is only half as good as “You” and I just didn’t enjoy this one that much.  It wasn’t creepy, it wasn’t scary, I wasn’t rooting for Joe to succeed, and instead of rushing through the book with joy, it really dragged for me. I would read “You” over again, and even bought the Audiobook to listen to later, that’s how much I loved it. I won’t ever pick up “Hidden Bodies” again. Nothing of what I loved about “You” is in Hidden Bodies. So for an honest review, there you go.

2 Responses to “Hidden Bodies (You #2), by Caroline Kepnes”

  1. comfyreading December 1, 2015 at 12:12 am #

    I just went to netgalley and got this book because I’ve been waiting to read it and had no idea it was on there, so thank you for that. I am excited to read it even though it seems like you didn’t like it as much. I think “You” is one of my favorite books is the year, so we will see how it stacks up for me. Thank you for the review!

    • Cynthia December 1, 2015 at 12:16 am #

      I just didn’t love it “as much”, but I hope you do! I agree, “You” is definitely one of my favorites too!! Happy Reading!!

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