You: A Novel


You

THE BOOK
You by Austin Grossman is a novel. I’m still not sure what exactly it’s about, though the blurb states there’s some kind of murder mystery involved.
WHY I PICKED IT UP
I noticed in the bookstore and was intrigued as it was a novel related to videogaming. Also the title and cover art are quite cool and mysterious. Also also, his other book sounded promising (I may actually review that one as well).
WHERE/WHY I STOPPED
I stopped on page 17 as the author launches into a monologue on how wrong it is to assume people who play videogames cannot distinguish reality (talk about preaching to the choir; like anybody who picks up a book like this is NOT going to have an interest in videogames.). This was the last straw, and would probably not be so bad on its own, but for the fact it followed a fifteen page clump of exposition with very few characters and very little important detail.
To give you some perspective, there were two lines of actual dialogue on the opening page. That’s all you get for at least the next sixteen pages.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER, IF ANYTHING
The book opens with the main character at a job interview for a videogame company which is run by two of his freinds from high school. Okay, not a bad start–we’ve immediately got some interest in whether or not he gets the job–but before we can learn anything about our main character and WHY we should care if he gets this job, we’re assaulted with a ton of exposition that really could and should have gone elsewhere.
To fix this opening, we need something in which we, as readers, can invest. We have a main character, we identify with being at a job interview, but we need an emotional reason to care in order to cinch this hook. Grossman gets two out of three okay on the hook, but he forgot the pathos and lost the reader.
I beleive the author was building to some kind of murder-mystery about another of his freinds who used to work at the company, but he took too long to address it.

RECOMMENDATION: DON’T READ
Grossman has some elements of a good beginning, but gets bogged down in needless exposition; if those things were necessary for us as readers to know, he could easily have shortened them, or introduced them at a later time, bit by bit.
Skip this one.

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