Overview: From the author of You comes Caroline Kepnes’ highly-anticipated third novel. Providence follows the story of Jon and Chloe, best friends in their small New England town, each at very different levels of their high school hierarchy. When shy and misunderstood Jon is kidnapped, Chloe suddenly realizes that all along she loved him and struggles to balance her obsession of finding him with her need to ‘fit in’ with the popular crowd.
Four years pass, and Jon shows up to find that nothing has really changed—that is, except for him and his newfound superpowers. Shortly after returning home, he runs away to protect Chloe and his family, searching for answers about his new identity and to find a cure.
Kepnes takes the reader on a journey through New England, exploring the complicated relationship between love and longing, unrequited passion and obsession, and how the lines can become very blurred between them.
Novel Thoughts: The first 1/3 of Providence was marvelous. Jon & Chloe were being set up as the perfect star-crossed anti-hero duo, and there were so many different directions the narrative could go. The problem is, with all those possibilities, the storyline that endures is the worst choice possible.
Recc: I feel a little bad, because this book is going to get a really bad rap. The problem is not the novel itself; its that its being marketed to the completely wrong audience. There’s a certain type of person that will love this book, and I’ve included a profile of that reader:
“A 16-24 year old, boy or girl, that adores reading fantasy & science fiction. This reader grew up loving Twilight, graphic novels, and various other YA paranormal series’. If you ask them their favorite book read in 9th grade English, they will tell you Frankenstein. On this reader’s bookshelf today, you’ll find the likes of Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, and H.P. Lovecraft (this last name is integral).”
Clearly, this is such a niche group that publishing felt compelled to broaden the target audience a bit (a lot). Now, I’m not going to pretend I know the first thing about what it takes to make a bestseller, but I can’t understand how its better to sell a ton of copies of a book that everyone winds up hating, than for that same book to have a smaller but respectable following, emerging as a cult classic?
I guess that’s what happens when you’re on you're way to becoming a sellout.