Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review of You by Charles Benoit.

I found You while browsing Goodreads lists, and the cover and title immediately drew me in. I usually don't go for vague, short, one-word titles, but 'You' is intriguing and personal as a title.

This wasn't the way it was supposed to go.

You're just a typical fifteen-year-old sophomore, an average guy named Kyle Chase. This can't be happening to you. But then, how do you explain all the blood? How do you explain how you got here in the first place?
There had to have been signs, had to have been some clues it was coming. Did you miss them, or ignore them? Maybe if you can figure out where it all went wrong, you can still make it right. Or is it already too late? Think fast, Kyle. Time's running out. How did this happen?

With an opening line like "You're surprised by all the blood" how could you ever put this down? The answer: you can't, and I sure didn't.

From square one, it was clear to me that You was different. It's written in the second person - something I haven't read in since Choose Your Own Adventure book in grade 3. It also begins with the books ending - the first few and last few pages identical - and then details what led to that conclusion.

You explores how the choices you make effect your future, even and especially the ones that at the time seem inconsequential at the time. Written in past tense from a narrator who knows where he's headed, You is full of foreshadowing of these ramifications.

The use of second person narration makes you feel in the character's shoes the way first person can not. Every line feels personal. You also perfectly encapsulates the feeling of being an outsider, and further makes Kyle a relatable character.

I also found the symbol of broken glass extremely powerful. I could see You as something I'd study in school - something I'd want to study in school. After finishing You I felt like finding someone else who'd read it just so I could discuss it, all the hidden meanings and themes.

An amazing young adult debut and without a doubt my new favorite book, I rate You 6 out of 5.

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