YOU by Charles Benoit

Fifteen-year-old Kyle Chase knows the score. Just like you, he can almost recite his parents’ and teachers’ lectures as they’re saying them, because he’s heard them so many times before. “Is that all you’re going to do all day, sit in front of that computer?” “Why don’t you wear some clothes that fit for a change?” “Stop mumbling and speak up.” “Because I said so.” It’s funny how it never changes. Funny in a sad way. Kyle can’t find much to laugh about these days. His friends are idiots obsessed with partying, his teachers are robots, his parents don’t listen and the girl he’s secretly in love with doesn’t take him seriously. And he’s starting to suspect that it’s mostly his fault that his life is like this, his fault for letting important decisions slide by until the choices were made for him. Now there’s no going back. Kyle’s just floating through his days—until he meets Zack McDade. Zach is off-the-hook weird, with his strange airs, million dollar vocab and bright colored sports coats.  Kyle doesn’t like Zach, but his particular brand of smooth sarcasm and utter confidence does make school a little more interesting, a little more alive. Until he turns his massive powers of manipulation on Kyle. What happens next may be inevitable given what has come before, but Benoit’s explosive ending is not one that YOU will forget anytime soon.

What’s so fantastic about this book isn’t the topic, which will be sadly familiar to many of you. It’s the way Benoit, a former high school English teacher and adult mystery author, tells Kyle’s story, from back to front (like Gail Gile’s amazing Shattering Glass) and in a rarely used second person voice that draws you uncomfortably close to Kyle’s troubled psyche. You may want to pull away from Kyle, or deny what’s happening to him. But you won’t be able to. Because Kyle’s not that different from you. Or one of your friends. Or that quiet guy who sits slumped in the back of your Algebra class. Though this book reminds me of several other outstanding titles, Benoit has also crafted something here that is so original and raw that I couldn’t put down until I finished the entire thing. The bad news: YOU isn’t coming to a library or bookstore near you until September 2010. The good news: YOU have a really amazing read to look forward to this fall.

15 thoughts on “YOU by Charles Benoit

  1. i just read this book today. in its entirety. i NEED to know if a sequel is going to be made. or if its a possibility. i really don’t want it to end. not like that, anyway.

  2. Troy, the ending is not a happy one, but I think that’s the point. More powerful that way!

  3. I just finished reading this and I LOVE it. I couldn’t put it down until I finished it at 2 am. It does remind me of a few books but it’s unique in certain ways that make it amazing. I can actually relate to how the high school is and how Kyle thinks. I’m kind of a female version of Kyle so I think that’s why this book got to me so much. Instantly in my top 5 favorite books and I read alot so that’s saying something.

  4. This book was a waste of time. There was absolutely no plot and the character Zack made the book annoying. The lack of an ending just made it worse.

  5. I just finished reading “you” and I must say it’s one of the most accurate portrays of a teenager I’ve seen since “Catcher in the Rye” (which related to teens of that era)

    Jon R. it saddens me that you didn’t get the plot of the book. Perhaps in your life you’ve never experience the challenges that Kyle went through, challenges that 87% of teenagers worldwide go through. And you say that the ending sucked. Well yeah most ending in teen lives DO suck…Duh, that’s part of being a teenagers unfortunately. But to each his own,

    As for everyone else reading this, I feel that Charles Benoit has written a phenomenal novel. I’m actually considering using it as my next DI piece for Debate. If you haven’t read it I think you should give it a try. And if you didn’t understand it the first time, re-read. It is a powerful book. And even though most people don’t go around punching things, we all have that urge. “You” is powerful and might just be the book that connects and heals.

  6. Dani, thanks for writing such a heartfelt response. I’m glad you enjoyed it and found it realistic. I agree it’s a winner!

  7. I just got done reading this book and I loved it! the ending was very confusing for me. Can anybody please explain?

  8. I have currently finished reading a book titled You written by Charles Benoit. It is a very recent book published in August 2010 by the Harper Collins Publishers. It is a realistic fiction book written in a second-person point of view that relates the story of a typical teenage boy that has to face the serious consequences of decisions he made.
    This book goes into the mind and thoughts of a 15 year old boy named Kyle. The reader is introduced to Kyle’s current condition or a flash of the current scene then is taken back to where it started. Kyle was any ordinary boy with good grades and everything, yet when it came to high school, he just chose to go to an ordinary school and slack off. He started failing and never doing his work, he just didn’t care anymore. He became a “hoodie”, one of those boys who sit in the back unnoticed, thinking about a girl they like and always wear black jeans, black shirt, and a sweater with the hoodie up. Kyle started hanging out with the wrong crowd and got himself into constant trouble. His main goal though was to never get caught. When he starts hanging out with this bad boy, Zack McDade, Kyle doesn’t really care or know what he’s doing, but when they start sneaking out at night and breaking into the school trouble starts. Kyle doesn’t know that Zack is taking advantage of him and pushing on his weak areas. Kyle doesn’t really know how to manage his anger, so when finds out how much Zack messed up his already messed up life, he brings about a shattering end to his short life.
    As a reader, I enjoyed this book a lot. It was kind of like it was addressed to me telling me that this is what is happening to me to. It a book that I can relate to in many ways .

    I would simply describe the writing in this book as effective. Since, it is written in a second person point of view, it seems like the book is addressed to me as a reader. Therefore I’m the one who’s failing, who has a secret crush, who loves my little sister, who doesn’t care about life anymore, and whose parents gave up on me. Therefore this way the readers are glued to the book the whole time as they are taken through a descriptive moments in Kyle’s head. Therefore in a way, it is effective on them because it is like telling somebody: You did that and then you said that so that happened.
    One weak point I noted in the book was how the author was really vague about the part where Kyle has just punched the glass in anger and has sliced his arm open with a flow of blood pouring out. He doesn’t mention if Kyle is going to die or not and what happens next. Throughout the book, the author gives small hints that Kyle’s life is going to end soon, yet finally at the end there is no explanation, just an abrupt ending. A strong point in the novel was the perfect depiction of the life of a teenager and the intricate descriptions of his feelings to every move he makes, the main point which I think makes this book awesome. There is also the way the book started with addictive lines: “You are surprised at all the blood. He looks over at you, eyes wide, mouth dropping open, his face almost as white as his shirt. He’s surprised, too.”
    The author’s purpose isn’t really clear in this novel, but I think that Benoit wanted to provide a perfect insight into the mind of a troubled teen that is faced with his own decisions in a new or unique way. He writes in second person point of view, something you don’t really find and then makes it a downward spiraling story going back to where “it” all started. Therefore, he achieves his purpose of creating a whole new kind of a book that will attract the attention and not only tells a typical teenage story but tells it in an interesting way. As a reader, I thought it was really cool how the book started and ended with the same thing.
    The author shows one apparent point of view in this exciting novel, which is that the problem with teenagers is that they need to make better decisions rethink them before they actually carry out their decision because later on they’re going to have to face the consequences like Kyle did. I agree and disagree with this point of view. I do agree that we need to make our decisions more carefully yet one can never know the future so how are we supposed to know that the decision we make will get us into the trouble it did. As long as we think we know that this decision won’t mess up our life then it really isn’t our fault how things turn out. Kyle didn’t really know that Zack could ruin his life like that but he found him interesting enough so he decided to hang out with him sometimes. Kyle didn’t know that choosing an ordinary or “non-advanced” school will make him a not caring depressed hoodie that drinks beers at night and breaks into school buildings. Kyle didn’t know that waiting a while and not asking Ashley out will make it too late. Kyle didn’t know that he could get that angry and break the glass causing himself to loose all that blood. He didn’t know that his decisions would lead to such a shattering end.
    My impression from this book was that it was really interesting. From the very beginning you know there is going to be trouble and it is even described in the beginning, so you want to know what and how it happens which keeps you glued to the book the whole time till the vey end. It is really interesting the way it is supposed to be talking to Kyle but it seems like its addressed to you. This makes you also wonder who is talking and how that person knows about Kyle. You also get to experience Kyle’s troubled feelings and actions through the second-person which makes it somewhat moving and effective. It is definitely and obviously not a book you would glance at, open, and then put back down.
    This book is a must read for all teenagers. If you’re looking for one of those unique books that just seem to be different from all the others then this should be one of your top choices. After all, who finds a book written in second person point of view that is just titled YOU? As soon as you start reading it you enter the dark world of a teenager mind and you feel whatever he’s feeling. It’s this haunting, scary, and anticipating atmosphere because there was all that blood at the beginning and you wonder, what was that? So, if you’re looking to any ordinary book to read without a specific theme or genre, then this should be your top choice. If you can’t decide what to read or what type to read then you should definitely choose this, it just combines everything you can find in it!
    You was Charles Benoit’s young adult debut novel and I think that it was one of the best depictions of a teenagers mind that we can all relate to and learn from at one point in our young teenage lives.

  9. this book was awesome . i highly recomend this book for someone who ikes to read books that you have to analyze after reading . if i were too compare this book to a movie i’ve seen , i’d say it’s most like Shutter Island . So yeah you should get this book & read it .

  10. This is the best book I have ever read because I can actually understand most of the stuff in this book unlike many other books! Great job and keep making books like this because if you do I will read all of your books. I LOVE CHARLES BENOIT BOOKS!

  11. Loved the book very original but WHY does he have to die !!!!!! Felt SOOO mad at the ending but have to admit it kept me on the edge of my seat!! I recommend it.

  12. I just finished and let me say i can relate. I really do wish that there would be a sequel but i think it would ruine the powerful, jaw dropping ending. I do have one question. At the end was he dying or was it just saying he got injured.

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