You Love Me

A You Novel

About the Book

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Can’t get enough of Joe Goldberg? Don’t miss the latest thriller in Caroline Kepnes’s compulsively readable You series, with an all-new plot not seen in the blockbuster Netflix show.

“Fiendish, fast-paced, and very funny.”—Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train


Joe Goldberg is done with the cities. He’s done with the muck and the posers, done with Love. Now he’s saying hello to nature, to simple pleasures on a cozy island in the Pacific Northwest. For the first time in a long time, he can just breathe.

He gets a job at the local library—he does know a thing or two about books—and that’s where he meets her: Mary Kay DiMarco. Librarian. Joe won’t meddle, he will not obsess. He’ll win her the old-fashioned way . . . by providing a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand. Over time, they’ll both heal their wounds and begin their happily ever after in this sleepy town.

The trouble is . . . Mary Kay already has a life. She’s a mother. She’s a friend. She’s . . . busy.

True love can only triumph if both people are willing to make room for the real thing. Joe cleared his decks. He’s ready. And hopefully, with his encouragement and undying support, Mary Kay will do the right thing and make room for him.
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Listen to a sample from You Love Me

Praise for You Love Me

“Caroline Kepnes must be some kind of storytelling sorcerer. How else can Joe Goldberg . . . be such an entertaining narrator? This high-wire narrative act continues to work because Kepnes is brilliant.”The New York Times Book Review

“Kepnes is among an elite group of writers who have crafted such compellingly charismatic criminals that they’ve both transfixed readers and transcended the page . . . one of fiction’s boldest, most inimitable voices.” Criminal Element

“Joe Goldberg has become a cultural mainstay . . . Kepnes has mastered the likeable villain with Joe, crafting an affable character with rock-solid reasoning behind all of his horrific actions.”Rolling Stone
“You may think you’ve seen the worst of Joe, but you haven’t seen nothing yet. . . . This book is absolutely wild and not in the way that you expect. . . . A captivating thriller that will keep you jaw dropping until the very last page.”PopSugar

“Reading Kepnes is like a mashup of EW and Jim Thompson . . . You Love Me delivers and then some.”CrimeReads

“I will read anything Caroline Kepnes writes. She’s one of the smartest, most insightful writers out there with a true gift for crafting flawed, complicated characters that force us to reckon with our own flaws and complications. Joe’s back (and so are all the reasons you love to hate him).” —Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sun Is Also a Star

“Kepnes writes with such malevolent energy, such dark grace and such ink-black humor. An utterly unique character and an utterly unique writer, in a marriage made somewhere between heaven and hell.”—Richard Osman, New York Times bestselling author of The Thursday Murder Club

“That peerless author who makes me laugh and glance over my shoulder on the very same page . . . Thank the reading gods that Joe Goldberg is back and just as seductive, dangerous, and witty as ever.”—Jessica Knoll, New York Times bestselling author of Luckiest Girl Alive and The Favorite Sister

“I absolutely loved it. It’s completely addictive, razor-sharp writing from Kepnes. Internet creeping at its most darkly humorous. Joe’s back, and this time it’s definitely real love.”—Catherine Steadman, New York Times bestselling author of Something in the Water

“This is Kepnes’s best yet.”—Andrea Dunlop, author of We Came Here to Forget

“A sly, subversive exploration of what people choose to reveal and what they hide in their relationships, and just how difficult it is to truly know another person . . . There's never been a better time to get acquainted with Kepnes’s dangerously appealing leading man.”Booklist (starred review)

“Kepnes’s savage takedowns . . . make Joe a more culturally aware Dexter, or perhaps a more romantic and humorous Hannibal.”LitHub
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You Love Me


I think you’re the one I spoke to on the phone, the librarian with a voice so soft that I went out and bought myself a cashmere sweater. Warm. Safe. You called me three days ago to confirm my new job at the Bainbridge Public Library. The call was meant to be short. Perfunctory. You: Mary Kay DiMarco, branch manager. Me: Joe Goldberg, volunteer. But there was chemistry. We had a couple laughs. That lilt in your voice got under my skin and I wanted to google you, but I didn’t. Women can tell when a guy knows too much and I wanted to come in cool. I’m early and you’re hot—­if that’s you, is that you?—­and you’re busy with a male patron—­I smell mothballs and gin—­and you’re foxy but subdued, showing off your legs as you hide them in opaque black tights, as concealing as RIP Beck’s curtain-­less windows were revealing. You raise your voice—­you want the old man to try out some Haruki Murakami—­and I’m sure of it now. You’re the one from the phone but holy shit, Mary Kay.

Are you the one for me?

I know. You’re not an object, blah, blah, blah. And I could be “projecting.” I barely know you and I’ve been through hell. I was detained in jail for several months of my life. I lost my son. I lost the mother of my son. It’s a miracle I’m not dead and I want to talk to you right f***ing now but I do the patient thing and walk away. Your picture is on the wall by the lobby and the placard is final, confirmation. You are Mary Kay DiMarco, and you’ve worked in this library for sixteen years. You have a master’s in library science. I feel new. Powerless. But then you clear your throat—­I’m not without power—­and I turn and you make a peace sign and smile at me. Two minutes. I smile right back at you. Take your time.

I know what you’re thinking—­What a nice guy, so patient—­and for the first time in months, I’m not annoyed at having to go out of my f***ing way to be nice, and patient. See, I don’t have a choice anymore. I have to be Mr. F***ing Good Guy. It’s the only way to ensure that I never fall prey to the American Injustice System ever again. I bet you don’t have experience with the AIJ. I, on the other hand, know all about the rigged game of Monopoly. I used my Get Out of Jail Free card—thanks, rich Quinns!—­but I was also naïve—­f*** off, rich Quinns—­and I’ll wait for you all day long because if even one person in this library perceived me as a threat . . . Well, I won’t take any chances.

I play humble for you—­I do not check my phone—­and I watch you scratch your leg. You knew that you’d meet me in real life today and did you buy that skirt for me? Possibly. You’re older than me, bolder than me, like high school girls to my eighth-­grade boy and I see you in the nineties, trotting off the cover of Sassy magazine. You kept going, marching through time, waiting and not waiting for a good man to come along. And here I am now—­our timing is right—­and the Mothball is “reading” the Murakami and you glance at me—­See what I did there?—­and I nod.

Yes, Mary Kay. I see you.

You’re Mother of Books, stiff as a robot in a French maid costume—­your skirt really is a little short—­and you clutch your elbows while the Mothball turns pages as if you work on commission, as if you need him to borrow that book. You care about books and I belong in here with you and your pronounced knuckles. You’re a librarian, a superior to my bookseller and the Mothball doesn’t have to whip out a credit card, and oh that’s right. There are good things about America. I forgot about the Dewey F***ing Decimal System and Dewey was known to be toxic, but look what he did for this country!

The old man pats his Murakami. “Okay, doll, I’ll let you know what I think.”

You flash a smile—­you like to be called “doll”—­and you shudder. You feel guilty about not feeling outraged. You’re part doll and part ladyboss and you’re a reader. A thinker. You see both sides. You make another peace sign at me—­two more minutes—­and you show off for me some more. You tell a mommy that her baby is cute—­eh, not really—­and everyone loves you, don’t they? You with your high messy bun that wants to be a ponytail and your sartorial protest against the other librarians in their sack shirts, their slacks, you’d think they’d be put off by you but they’re not. You say yeah a lot and I’m pretty sure that a wise Diane Keaton mated with a daffy Diane Keaton, that they made you for me. I adjust my pants—­Gently, Joseph—­and I donated one hundred thousand dollars to this library to get this volunteer gig and you can ask the state of California or the barista at Pegasus or my neighbor, whose dog shit on my lawn again this morning, and they’ll all tell you the same thing.

I am a good f***ing person.

It’s a matter of legal fact. I didn’t kill RIP Guinevere Beck and I didn’t kill RIP Peach Salinger. I’ve learned my lesson. When people bring out the worst in me, I run. RIP Beck could have run—­I was no good for her either, she wasn’t mature enough for love—­but she stayed, like the hapless, underwritten, self-­destructive female in a horror movie that she was and I was no better. I should have cut the cord with her the day I met RIP Peach. I should have dumped Love when I met her sociopath brother.

A teenage girl zooms into the library and she bumps into me and knocks me back into the present—­no apology—­and she’s fast as a meerkat and you bark at her. “No Columbine, Nomi. I mean it.”

Ah, so the Meerkat is your daughter and her glasses are too small for her face and she probably wears them because you told her they’re no good. She’s defiant. More like a feisty toddler than a surly teenager and she lugs a big white copy of Columbine out of her backpack. She flips you the bird and you flip her the bird and your family is fun. Is there a ring on your finger?

No, Mary Kay. There isn’t.

You reach for the Meerkat’s Columbine and she storms outside and you follow her out the door—­it’s an unplanned intermission—­and I remember what you told me on our phone call.

Your mom was a Mary Kay lady, cutthroat and competitive. You grew up on the floors of various living rooms in Phoenix playing with Barbie dolls, watching her coax women with cheating husbands into buying lipstick that might incite their dirtbag husbands to stay home. As if lipstick can save a marriage. Your mother was good at her job, she drove a pink Cadillac, but then your parents split. You and your mother moved to Bainbridge and she did a one-­eighty, started selling Patagonia instead of Pan-­Cake makeup. You said she passed away three years ago and then you took a deep breath and said, “Okay, that was TMI.”

But it wasn’t too much, not at all, and you told me more: Your favorite place on the island is Fort Ward and you like the bunkers and you mentioned graffiti. God kills everyone. I told you that’s true and you wanted to know where I’m from and I told you that I grew up in New York and you liked that and I told you I did time in L.A. and you thought I was being facetious and who was I to correct you?

The door opens and now you’re back. In the flesh and the skirt. Whatever you said to your Meerkat pissed her off and she grabs a chair and moves it so that it faces a wall and finally you come to me, warm and soft as the cashmere on my chest. “Sorry for all the drama,” you say, as if you didn’t want me to see everything. “You’re Joe, yeah? I think we spoke on the phone.”

You don’t think. You know. Yeah. But you didn’t know you’d want to tear my clothes off and you shake my hand, skin on skin, and I breathe you in—­you smell like Florida—­and the power inside of my body is restored. Zing.

You look at me now. “Can I have my hand back?”

I held on too long. “Sorry.”

“Oh no,” you say, and you lean in, closer as in the movie Closer. “I’m the one who’s sorry. I ate an orange outside and my hands are a little sticky.”

I sniff my palm and I lean in. “Are you sure it wasn’t a tangerine?”

You laugh at my joke and smile. “Let’s not tell the others.”

You Series

For You and Only You
You Love Me

About the Author

Caroline Kepnes
Caroline Kepnes is the author of You, Hidden Bodies, Providence, You Love Me, and numerous short stories. Her work has been translated into a multitude of languages and inspired a television series adaptation of You, currently on Netflix. Kepnes graduated from Brown University and previously worked as a pop culture journalist for Entertainment Weekly and a TV writer for 7th Heaven and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She grew up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and now lives in Los Angeles. More by Caroline Kepnes
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