For You and Only You by Caroline Kepnes

Let’s make this clear: I am unabashedly a Joe Goldberg fangirl. And for that reason alone, I enjoyed this book. However, do I think this was objectively a ‘good book’? Absolutely not. In fact, this was probably one of the more disappointing reads from the season. Here’s my book review as a Joe Goldberg fangirl and true crime fan.

Joe Goldberg is now an aspiring writer candidate for a fellowship at Harvard, writing his first novel. He becomes enamoured, of course, with Wonder Parish, a ‘hot’ female fellow. He’s attracted a famous author’s attention and, of course, will stop at nothing to ensure new love interest Wonder receives the same.

The first, second and third books in the series are formulaic in that there’s a strong serial killer vibe. Joe is unhinged! We love it! But this switches in For You and Only You. His internal monologue seems to have changed tack and he drones on about his book a lot. Like, a lot. Perhaps the author was trying to get a little meta here, a writers’ inside joke? The monologues felt long, repetitive and nonsensical, unlike the more taut and psychopathic vibes of previous books. I also missed the relationship element: Wonder feels very one-dimensional, because much of the book is about Joe and his bloody book. What ensues is a slow burn that doesn’t lead to as much drama as we expect from this series.

Joe and Wonder’s relationship also felt very naïve and childish. Was this intentional? I’m still undecided. It could be that the author wanted to show that Joe was more focused on writing than his girlfriend? But that also wouldn’t make any sense. I did enjoy the hilarious references to Substack and true crime podcasters, especially as a Substacker and fan of true crime podcasts, but these didn’t amount to much other than generic Joe Goldberg fanservice.

One for Joe Goldberg fangirls only.

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