Friday, January 7, 2011
You by Charles Benoit
Well, I think Mr. Benoit definitely hit the bulls-eye.
You is an unusual book in several ways. It's got massive reluctant-reader appeal, with its gripping opening ("You're surprised at all the blood"), tight pacing and adroit suspense. It reminds me a lot of Gentlemen, which I reviewed back in 2010. Like Gentlemen, You has a punchy literary style, draws readers into the narration with an urgency I would call relentless, and generates questions almost as fast as you can turn the pages. In short, it's that oxymoronic, almost impossible thing, a challenging easy read.
The highlight of this book for me was the narrative voice. Benoit has used a second-person narrative style, very unusual in teen fiction because it's so difficult to pull off well. He pulls it off superbly, and as a result I found that my investment and interest in the main character, with all his faults, was strong. The second-person voice also lets Benoit pose his questions quite explicitly and directly to us, the reader, blasting us out of the voyeuristic passivity which readers can sometimes let themselves be lulled into. You is in no way a passive read.
When did it go wrong?
No, before that.
That was part of it, but that wasn't when it started.
Of course, yeah, it would be easy to say it was Zack. But that's not it, is it?"
Here's a link to Charles Benoit talking about You. Enjoy!