Fans of the mega-hit Netflix original series, You are ecstatic, as the first part of Season 4 is approaching, premiering on the platform on February 9, 2023. However, many fans don’t know that the TV series is actually based on a book series written by Caroline Kepnes and first published back in 2014.
The books are just as epic – if not even better – than the series, as you get a deep dive into Joe Goldberg’s life and psyche. So, if you can’t get enough of You or simply can’t wait for Season 4 to drop, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Here’s a complete breakdown of the You book series in order, including the 4th book that is yet to be published.
‘You’ book series in order (at a glance)
So far, there are three books in the ‘You’ series, published from 2014 to 2021. The fourth book in the series is already announced, reviewed, and expected to be published in 2023. The series is as follows:
- You (2014)
- Hidden Bodies (You #2) (2016)
- You Love Me (You #3) (2021)
- Four You and Only You (You #4) (expected publication in 2023)
The writer of the series is Caroline Kepnes, and all the books so far have been New York Times bestsellers. Keep reading to learn more about each book in more detail
‘You’ book series in order (in detail)
1. You (2014)
Synopsis: Joe Goldberg is a brilliant young book clerk working in a bookstore in East Village in New York City. He’s obsessed with books and literature, but soon, we learn that it isn’t his only obsession. You see, Joe is kind of a psycho.
This gorgeous yet simple girl named Guinevere Beck walks into his story, and Joe is completely blown away the second he lays eyes on her. It didn’t take long for Goldberg to start digging for information about her – all he needed was the name from Guinevere’s credit card, which she used to pay for the books.
Joe Googles her name, searches for her on social media, and wouldn’t you believe – there is a single Guinevere Beck in the entire New York City – his Guinevere Beck, the girl he met in the store. Her friends call her Beck, and Joe learns she’s an aspiring young writer, Tweeting numerous times a day and having all her socials set to public.
It’s like she wanted him to see every little detail about her life – or, at least, that’s what Joe thought. He slowly starts building himself into her life, controlling her actions without Beck even knowing. Soon, he manipulates his way to becoming Beck’s boyfriend and stops at nothing to see their relationship blossom.
What’s the bottom line here? Is there even a limit he won’t cross to get what he wants? Would Joe literally kill for Beck’s love and attention? You know he would.
You are kind of a love story, but hold back all the romance here. The protagonist isn’t some romantic knight in his shining armor; he’s a psycho, playing mind games to get what he wants, and nobody knows it except for you as the reader and Joe as the culprit. This book will have you twisted and thirsty for more on every single page.
2. Hidden Bodies (2016)
Synopsis: After his relationship with Beck did not go as planned – to put it mildly – Joe has to travel across the state, from New York to Los Angeles. He decides to start a new life, away from drama, obsessions, and the hidden bodies he left behind. The problem is those bodies seem to have followed Joe to the West Coast.
Some of them only in his mind, as dark, restless thoughts, while some, quite literally, didn’t stay buried. And, as Joe seamlessly blended into the LA lifestyle – even met a really beautiful, sweet girl ironically named Love – his past starts catching up to him.
Joe does his best to keep his secrets – his hidden bodies – tucked away safely. He knows that Love can’t find out, and if she does, her safety cannot be guaranteed. The thing is, when Love finds out, she doesn’t judge. In fact, Love might have some hidden bodies in her past as well…
The sequel of the first You book was depicted in the second season of the Netflix show (and, partially, the third) and was just as riveting as the first book, if not more. Joe might’ve accidentally found his match, if not somebody even more obsessive and psychopathic.
Looking at himself in the mirror isn’t as fun as he thought, though…
3. You Love Me (2021)
Synopsis: In the third You book titled ‘You Love Me,’ Joe decides to get away from the big cities and leave Love behind. Now, he just wants a peaceful life in a quiet little town on an island, surrounded by nature, in the Pacific Northwest.
He doesn’t want to obsess about anyone or anything, nor does he want to deal with the pretentious scum of society that calls themselves the elite in LA and NYC. However, as you might’ve guessed, his peace and quiet don’t really last all that long.
When Joe starts working at a small local library, he meets Mary – a beautiful, smart young woman, whose also the librarian there. Mary is a single mom with a super busy life, but that doesn’t stop Joe from trying. Only this time, he promised himself – no stalking, no obsessing. If Mary was to fall for him, it needed to be the right way.
Joe becomes Mary’s shoulder to cry on, a helping hand, and someone she could talk to. As Joe hopes that they can heal each other with time, he soon realizes that Mary isn’t as ready to make sacrifices in her life for their relationship as he is… So, naturally, he starts pulling strings to nudge Mary in the ‘right’ direction…
4. For You and Only You (Expected publication in 2023)
Synopsis: Last but not least, the fourth book of the You series isn’t out yet, but is expected to be published at some point in 2023. The title is For You and Only You, and here, Joe takes on a different role after nothing really worked for him. Instead of selling and repairing books as he has done so far, Joe managed to join a writing fellowship at Harvard University.
Yes, our psycho book clerk is now a writer – and a good one, indeed. An acclaimed author name Glen Shoddy recognizes his work and marvelous brilliance in writing, so he gets Joe to join him and the fellowship at Harvard. Joe hopes that – finally – for once in his life, status won’t matter, but only intellect. Of course, he’ll soon realize he was wrong.
Luckily, he meets a new girl (luckily for Joe, not for the girl) named Wonder. She loves literature just as much as he does, and Joe finally realizes that he has found his soulmate. Only, Wonder isn’t as keen on writing as he is, but that’s why she has Joe. Oh yes, he’ll sacrifice everything he has so they could be that one perfect literary couple.
If he needs to sacrifice his writing, so be it. If he has to draw some blood, so be it. If anybody knows that love sometimes needs a bit of a push instead of just happening, it’s Joe. Even if that push is… down a flight of stairs?
Do you need to read ‘You’ books in a particular order?
The best way to read the ‘You’ book series is in chronological/publication order. The story continues, and the characters progress throughout the books, so reading through the books as the author intended is the only way you’ll get the full experience of the franchise.
You could theoretically read every book separately but wouldn’t get many important references, character developments, plot points, etc.
Will there be more You books?
As we mentioned, the fourth book in the You series will come out in 2023. There is still no word about a potential fifth book coming out after, which is reasonable, considering that not even the fourth book is out right now. However, considering the popularity of the books, I don’t see a reason why Caroline Kepnes would stop producing more of this marvelous content.