Providence by Caroline Kepnes
To be published by Lenny on June 19, 2018
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Goodreads avg: 3.54 (as of 2018-06-07)
cw: animal death, ableism, domestic abuse, cancer
An advanced copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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From the acclaimed author of YOU comes a novel that is part love story, part detective story, and part supernatural thriller.
Growing up as best friends in small-town New Hampshire, Jon and Chloe are the only ones who truly understand each other and their intense connection. But just when Jon is ready to confess the depth of his feelings, he’s kidnapped by his substitute teacher, a discredited scientist who is obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft and has a plot to save humanity.
After four years in captivity, Jon finally escapes, only to discover that he now has an uncontrollable power that endangers anyone he has intense feelings for. He runs away to Providence to protect Chloe while he searches for answers. Across town from Jon, Detective Charles “Eggs” DeBenedictus is fascinated by a series of strange deaths–young, healthy people whose hearts just . . . stop. Convinced these deaths are a series of connected, vigilante killings, he jeopardizes his job and already strained marriage to uncover the truth.
With heart, insight, and a keen eye on human frailty, Kepnes whisks us on a journey through New England and crashes these characters’ lives together in the most unexpected ways, exploring the complex relationship between the powerful and the powerless, love and identity, self-preservation and self-destruction, and how the lines are often blurred between the two
I requested this title on Netgalley mainly because I saw that the main characters were from New Hampshire. I always want to read books that take place at least in part in places that I’ve lived. The plot also looked interesting, so I gave it a shot. I’m really glad I did because this ended up being a very good read.
People who live to know a sicko are very eager to tell you their story. There’s a pride, a sense of having survived something.
Caroline Kepnes is a great writer. This is the first work of hers that I’ve read, but immediately after finishing this, I added You to my TBR. She does a fantastic job of pulling the reader right into the story and creates interesting characters that you can really relate to. I really liked both Claire and Jon, as well as the relationship between them and how it changed over time. I also loved the Lovecraft references. I haven’t read much Lovecraft myself, but am really drawn to Lovecraftian stories.
When I die, if there is a place called hell, I will go there.
I did think, however, that the characters could have been given a little more complexity. Jon and Claire are both overwhelmingly “good” people and don’t really have any flaws (at least, none that they can control). I also didn’t really enjoy the addition of Eggs into the story. I understood how he functioned as far as the plot went, but felt like he didn’t add much to the story as a character. Maybe it’s just because I didn’t like him. He was constantly lying to his wife and essentially pretended that his autistic son didn’t exist. By the end there is some redemption, but I still really don’t think he deserved to be treated so well.
I hit the road, New Hampshire bound, I’m a typical Rhodie in the sense that I think we’re the best. In Massachusetts, you have all these sweet-toothed Massholes stuffing their face with ice cream covered in jimmies, all puffed up with self-righteousness they get out of that little rock down in Plymouth. Never mind Maine; try being a woman in that state, let me know how it works out. Vermont has the worst Italian food I ever had in my life. And New Hampshire, all you gotta know is that they take pride in rocks, granite, tax-free shopping, and bottle rockets, their handles of grain alcohol so they can go home and light themselves on fire.
Otherwise, this was a fantastic read. I almost missed my train stop multiple times while reading and I kept getting so sucked in that I wasn’t sure how I could put the book down. I may end up grabbing a physical copy of this for myself, but at the very least I will certainly recommend this book to others. This will be good for fans of thrillers, contemporary sci-fi pieces, and/or the writings of Lovecraft.
I settle on a little pink dress but then I remember Carrig’s family, the wall of them, why are you so dressed up? That should be the state fucking slogan of New Hampshire.
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(Blurb and cover courtesy of Goodreads.)