You really took me by surprise. I didn't read this book until after I saw the trailer for the new TV show. I went in expecting a super creepy character (Joe) and that's what I got, but there were a lot of times where Joe is very charming, poetic, seemingly a lovesick teenager (immature younger adult), and I also kind of liked him which was also really creepy.
The book showed that you might not ever truly know someone as well as you think you do. The story was also presented in a very realistic way. There wasn't anything that happened that struck me as too over the top or not realistic. There are also many hints throughout the story about Joe's past at the bookstore that made me sympathetic towards him.
I found it incredibly interesting to have the story told from Joe's perspective. This narrator manipulates the reader just as much as he is manipulating Beck. If we, as the reader, are able to be charmed by him at times, Beck surely did not stand a chance right? Anyone would fall for a guy like that. How many avid readers haven't thought about falling for the guy in the bookstore?
I also found myself disliking Beck more and more as the story went on. This is the character that we are supposed to feel empathy for, we know what Joe is doing and we should be rooting for her to make it but throughout the story, her flaws and own emotional challenges really begin to make her an unlikable character.
Normally, I would hate this in a story, but I believe that Caroline wrote the book this way on purpose--to make the reader care for the villain and dislike the heroine/victim/love interest. The only thing that stopped me from giving this book a five star was because the story read a little slow for me at parts, there were times I felt like Joe was narrating a little too much and I wanted some more action.
I do feel like in the case of this book, the TV show will actually be more entertaining than the book. That's not to say the book isn't great, because I'm giving it 4 stars, I really loved it, but, I do think that the casting for the TV show is so perfect and the creep factor will be conveyed so much better on screen that it was in the book. Reading this book for me was more like reading a dark romance and not as much a psychological thriller, in a TV series I think the thriller will translate very well. I have super high expectations for the show because of this book.