cover image For You and Only You: A Joe Goldberg Novel

For You and Only You: A Joe Goldberg Novel

Caroline Kepnes. Random House, $28 (448p) ISBN 978-0-593-13381-1

Bestseller Kepnes’s puckish fourth Joe Goldberg novel (after 2021’s You Love Me) finds the obsessive serial killer at Harvard after a fictionalization of all his “tragic, no-good love stories” earns him entry into author Glenn Shoddy’s writing fellowship. Joe assumes the other “Shoddies” will be undiscovered autodidacts like himself; instead, most are accomplished elitists. The only other misfit is Wonder Parish, a working-class Bostonian who manages a Dunkin’ Donuts and lives with her family. Joe knows he and Wonder are destined to become a literary power couple; he just has to remove all obstacles to their relationship, then convince an insecure Wonder and a derisive Glenn of Wonder’s potential—and of Joe’s brilliance. The Shoddies’ fixation on a whodunit podcast linked to Joe’s past vexes, but he knows how to handle complications: one murder at a time. Kepnes waggishly satirizes the publishing industry, and her outsized characters’ egos and anxieties lay the foundations for delightfully deranged plot twists. The book feels overlong, but Joe’s stream-of-consciousness narration engages throughout, rendering readers both confidante and accomplice. Kepnes reliably entertains. Agent: Claudia Ballard, WME (Apr.)