We can’t get enough of Joe Goldberg, the main character of the Netflix original series called You. The series is based on the books written by Caroline Kepnes, with each season following a single book from the series. Seeing that You Season 4 is just about to drop, fans wondered – is You Season 4 also following a book, and if so, which one?
It’s unclear if You Season 4 will follow a book from Caroline Kepnes’ series. There are three You books published so far, and each was already adapted in the previous seasons. A fourth book is expected to be published in 2023, but it’s unclear how much of it will find its way into You Season 4.
I’m saying that because the show gradually steers away from the source material. The first season was tightly based on the first You book, as well as the second season, with only slight changes. But then, the third season was only loosely based on the third book, and now, Joe is in Europe for Season 4, but it likely won’t happen in the book. Let’s explore this a bit more.
How many You books are there?
As we mentioned in the introduction, there are three books in the You series so far, written by the New York Times bestselling writer Caroline Kepnes. The books are called, in order: You, Hidden Bodies (You #2), and You Love Me (You #3).
The first three seasons of the Netflix series were all based on the books – one book per season, that is.
The first season followed the plot of book #1 almost to a tee. It revolves around Joe, working as an expert clerk in a bookstore, when he starts obsessing over a girl that visited his store, Guinevere Beck. Soon, Joe learned everything about her through stalking and social media, got into her life, and then did the most horrible things to make her stay with him.
In season 2, his murderous actions forced Joe to move to another city. There, he met a new girl who he started obsessing about, named Love. By the end of the season, Joe realizes he might’ve met his murderous match in Love. The season followed the second book, Hidden Bodies, with some changes.
That leads us to the third season of the show, which was only loosely based on the third Caroline Kepnes book titled You Love Me. Joe and Love are living together in the suburbs now, but Joe starts to obsess over Marienne, a librarian in his town. By the end of the season, Joe traveled to Paris to track down Marienne, convinced they are meant to be together (go figure).
The fourth book in the series will be titled For You and Only You. Preliminary book readings have already been completed by critics, but it’s still uncertain when the book will actually be published. The publication is expected in 2023, but still not clear when.
That being said, we have a brief synopsis of the book already, and if you compare it to the You Season 4 trailer, you can already see that the book and the show kind of diverged into different paths. Let’s see how much of the book’s plot could actually find its way into the TV series.
Is You Season 4 following a book?
The short answer to this question would be – not exactly. In the fourth You book, Joe will be at Harvard, as he stopped selling and started writing books. His genius was recognized by an acclaimed author named Glenn Shoddy, who invited Joe to join his high-end literary group at Harvard.
Of course, he’ll meet a new woman there, called Wonder, and he’ll realize that they have more in common than any of the women he previously obsessed over had with him. A part of the synopsis says:
“They have so much in common. No college degrees, no pretensions, no stories from prep school or grad school. Just a love for literature. If only Wonder could commit herself to the writing life they could be those rare literary soulmates who never fall prey to their demons.
There is so much they’re up against, but Joe has faith in Wonder. He will sacrifice his art for hers. And if he has to, he will kill her darlings for her.”
Already, you can tell that the show will diverge from the book on many surface levels. For instance, Joe isn’t at Harvard, but rather in Paris first and then in London. There, he doesn’t work as a writer but as a professor. I’m sure there will be some connections between the book and the show, but Season 4 will likely only be loosely based on the book, just like Season 3.
You Season 4 Plot
You Season 4 will come out on Netflix in two parts – the first part premiering on February 9, 2023. Obviously, we can’t know the entire plot, but we can already piece some facts together from the official synopsis, as well as the trailers.
First, we know that Joe will find Marienne in Paris, but what happens to her is unknown. We have an idea, though, as Joe won’t be in Paris for long. We see that he’s now a bearded professor in London and hangs out with a completely new crowd – like in the new You book, it’ll be a crowd of rich, entitled individuals.
One girl, however, will be different. Her name is Kate, and she’s an art gallery director, and it seems she’s uncomfortably close to becoming Joe’s next thing. Except, she isn’t the naive girl that Joe thinks she is…
Meanwhile, there’s a killer on the loose, murdering the elite one by one. They call him the ‘eat-the-rich killer,’ and Joe is set on finding the culprit. Will it actually prove to be Joe or somebody close to him? We’ll have to wait and see.
Will You Season 4 be the last season of the Netflix show?
Currently, You hasn’t been renewed for Season 5 – at least not officially. However, seeing how popular the show is on Netflix, it’s almost certain that there will be more of Joe Goldberg’s adventures in the future.
After all, before Season 3 was released, we didn’t know if Season 4 would even happen, but the co-creator Sera Gamble still said to The Hollywood Reporter: “I am not scared at all of saying that we definitely could follow Joe for several more seasons.”
That could mean we’ll get more of Joe and You after Season 4, but as it always is with Netflix shows, it’ll all depend on the success of this particular season and the numbers. If Netflix doesn’t like the numbers, it doesn’t matter what the fans wish. Only time will tell, I guess.