The Book of You
The Book of You is a début psychological thriller from US author Claire Kendal that’s out in May.
It’s a book about Clarissa, and her book about Rafe, her stalker.
Clarissa is your average person who has caught the eye of a stalker – a colleague she works with at the university, Rafe. Threats are wrapped up as gifts and acts of kindness, meaning Clarissa doesn’t have anything to take to the police. When she is called to do her civic duty and serve on a jury panel for a serious assault case she sees it as an opportunity to escape.
Being in court and away from Rafe during the day brings Clarissa some relief until she steps out the door to go home. As the court case progresses Clarissa draws parallels between the victim of the assult and herself, putting herself in the witness seat and imagining what her story would look like as a court case.
This brings about a new level of fear and as Clarissa’s world beyond the jury shrinks, her box of evidence builds and she finds comfort in a fellow juror Robert …
I will admit that it did take me a little while to get into it, partially because Clarissa is SO normal and average that she was semi-annoying (I do like my leads to have a bit of spunk), but as the stalking incidents stacked up the story gained momentum. I also didn’t love the ending, but that happens (anyone else feel that way about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?).
What I did like was the way The Book of You combines writing styles – with part first-person diary entries and the rest third person. Starting in the future the story slowly reveals itself as the past catches up, slipping between the two narratives without you noticing until you are Clarissa and the event happens. The Book of You even managed to have a ‘twist’ that I didn’t see – I thought the ‘something’ was going to be something else (this doesn’t usually happen – I’m the person you don’t want to watch crime TV shows with as I pick the ending in the first half of the show…).
The Book of You will also make you think about how stalking and other crimes against women, such as rape, are treated in the justice system – where the onus of proving guilt lies and the treatment of victims versus perpetrators. It also makes you think about personality and the difference between paranoid delusions and malicious threats. It did make me think about what I would do if I were in Clarissa’s position.
Overall, The Book of You is a solid psychological thriller for a début and worth the read, and despite the YA looking cover it isn’t actually a book for young adult readers.