You by Charles Benoit is noteworthy because it’s so incredibly simple. Written entirely in the second person perspective, it’s easy for the fictional character of Kyle Chase to fade into the background, as he can be replaced by just about anyone in reality – even the readers themselves. The writing, because it’s done through the eyes of a fifteen year old boy, is straightforward and unpretentious, but I think that’s what makes it so great.
Benoit’s first foray into young adult fiction doesn’t deal with vampires, magic, or other fantastical elements – it just deals with the thoughts and events that we deal with everyday. You is entirely character driven, with little actual plot. Since I’m a plot-oriented person, I expected myself to hate this book on principle, but I didn’t. This is one of the rare instances where it just… worked for me. That being said, there were still points throughout were I rolled my eyes, twiddled my fingers, and begged Kyle to get to the point. One scene earlier on in the book has Kyle finding a wallet on the staircase, but before he even acknowledges this outright he rambles for a paragraph about the wallet his grandmother gave to him before she died, and the older Velcro one with Power Rangers on it. Are teenage boys usually this chatty? I find it odd that after all those school years I honestly don’t know.
At only 223 pages in large print font, You is a quick, but satisfying read. Expect a lot of “Yeah, I’ve thought the same thing!” and, “Huh, I’ve never thought of that before,” moments that will make you reflect on your teenage years and entertain you at the same time. You makes you think. It makes you consider the choices we all make in our day-to-day lives and their consequences. It challenges you to challenge yourself and your perceptions. But most importantly, it takes all the insecurities and obstacles of being a teenager and presents them in a way that makes you feel less alone. This was an easy read that gets four stars from me. My only complaint is that main antagonist Zack felt like too much of a caricature to be believable.
Want a different perspective? Check out Kat‘s November review of the same novel.
Sydnee is a freshman at Wayne State University pursuing a degree in Journalism. Her hobbies include painting and taking long afternoon naps. She is obsessed with hunky heroes, explosions, melodrama, and magic—all things that make a frequent appearance in her stories. Her blog is http://syd-dreams.blogspot.com.