Providence

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Aug 2018

Member Reviews

My apologies for not being able to read this book in time and review it. You and Hidden Bodies are 2 of my favorite reads and I am sure this book was just as good.
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I loved the You duology and I was super excited to check out her new book because it takes places where I live, in Providence. And even though this is a very different book, I was not disappointed. Kepnes really knows how to write an engaging book with complex characters.

What I loved about this book is that it's not your typical mystery or thriller. Yes, there are elements of that here. Kepnes writes a story that has you wondering and questioning from beginning to end. She does a great job of establishing a cat and mouse narrative where you root for both of them to succeed which adds a lot to the drama and adventure. But there was more too it then that. There is kind of a science fiction/horror element here. It's inspired by an H.P. Lovecraft story so that should give you some indication of what we are working with. And Kepnes did a great job of weaving the two together to craft an engaging and interesting story.

The book alternates perspectives between Jon, Chloe, and Eggs. This is kind of hit or miss for me but here it worked. The first half of the book is just Chloe and Jon. When Jon gets kidnapped Chloe, his best friend, is pining for him. It's a sweet story of friendship and seeing both perspectives you want them to reunite. But the really interesting part is when Eggs joins the narrative. There is a lot of mistaken intentions and misunderstandings that make the book full of conflict and drama. But I also think this was aided by the fact that for most of the book I listened to the audiobook and each character had a different narrator. They all did a really good job. I picked up the audio because Jon is narrated by MacLeod Andrews who I love, but I also really enjoyed the narrator for Eggs. He had the perfect Rhode Island accent. It wasn't too over the top and I loved that. Plus he has narrated some Lovecraft which was extra cool.

Kepnes also did a great job with establishing the characters. I loved in You how she was able to get you to sympathize with a serial killer, and in this book she gets you to sympathize with two different people who are on opposite ends of the conflict. It's not hard to sympathize with Jon. He was kidnapped and the backlash from what happened to him has crazy consequences. It was cool seeing him grow and develop throughout the book and become a little bit more grey in what he was doing morally. Eggs however lives in the grey. These are the types of characters who are doing the wrong thing for the right reasons or the right things for the wrong reasons. But either way, those are the kinds of characters that I love reading about. 

I also really appreciated the setting of this book. As I said before, I live in Providence and I was a little nervous that this book wouldn't capture the city that I love but I think that it didn't. The entire book didn't take place in Providence, but the part in the city was great. There were landmarks that I recognized and she captured what it is like living in a college town (they are sometimes as annoying as she let on). Kepnes must be familiar with the city or she did her research. Either way I really appreciated that. Her books are usually show a lot of affection for New England and I appreciated that. 

On the whole this was a really good read. It didn't blow me away like You and Hidden Bodies did but it still struck a cord emotionally. It had a lot of conflict and an engaging plot, great characters, and a setting that I really enjoyed.
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This isn't exactly an edge of your seat kind of read, but it's definitely interesting. It's more like floating down a scenic lazy river than an exciting trip through rapids. Yes, it's a mystery with an odd, yet cool, supernatural aspect, but it's also a love story in that somewhat offbeat way Caroline does so well.
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YA angsty teenage love is something I don’t enjoy in my books and unfortunately that was a major theme. The characters were well-developed, the story arc just didn’t work for me, as romance, especially teenage romance, is not a genre I enjoy. When the story took a mystical and sci-fi turn it,  I found my interest flagging further. H.P Lovecraft's works plays a strong part in the story, but I'm not familiar with it at all. 

I loved the author’s previous two books, but this one did not interest me at all.  Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an ARC of this book. Because I feel I was the wrong reader for this book, I am not going to leave an unfavorable review on social media.
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Providence is thrilling and kept me on the edge of my seat in true Caroline Kepnes fashion. I was drawn to Jon as I was to Joe Goldberg (You & Hidden Bodies) in a haunting way, constantly torn between empathy and fear.
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I so wished that I could review this book but something wonky happened to my Amazon account that it lost this file before I could transfer it to my new Kindle.

Thank You ever so much for allowing me to have a chance to read this book.
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Meet New York Times Bestselling Author, Caroline Kepnes. She's a great mixture of lightness of being and dark shadows. Listen in on Willow's conversation with this wonderfully intriguing character writer/ blackjack player/ grade school choir dropout.

http://www.willowaster.com/podcast/2018/6/21episode26-caroline-kepnes

"There’s nothing I like more than getting into someone else’s head and seeing what it’s like in there."
— Caroline Kepnes
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This book ultimately left me feeling disappointed. It felt like it was trying to be too many different genres - YA romance, sci-fi, cop thriller - without truly nailing any of them. Providence tries to be a love story between two teenagers, but I ended up just feeling frustrated by what kept them apart. I'm all for some Lovecraft allusions (of which there are a lot), but Kepnes doesn't really follow through on any of the true horror elements that could have added so much more suspense to the story. It felt so unfinished to me too. I'm sure Kepnes is planning on a sequel, but I won't be reading it.
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I am a huge fan of Caroline Kepnes and this book did not disappoint.  It is different than the other books I have read of hers but I still really enjoyed it.  I highly recommend this and her other books.  If you have not tried her books, do it!  :)
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What a great story. The author fleshed out the characters so well, I enjoyed them all so much. I love that the ending was bittersweet and wasn't your typical happy ending. I really hope the story will continue on, there is so much more to look forward to with this story.
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You is one of my all-time favorite books and eventhough I didn’t enjoy Hidden Boddies that much, a new Caroline Kepnes book was something to get excited about. I wanted to point out that Providence has nothing like You and Hidden Bodies so as much as possible, try not to have very high expectations especially if you loved Joe Goldberg. Yes I know it’s hard but let’s keep an open mind before reading Providence.

On his way to school, Jon’s excitement to finally tell Chloe, his best friend, how he feels got cut short when he gets suddenly attacked and kidnapped. After four years, Jon wakes up in a basement room and next to him is a book with a short written note from his kidnapper who happens to be his substitute teacher. Jon, who is now back to his home and Chloe, realizes that he can hurt (unintentionally) the people around him so he decides to leave their town to protect the ones he love. He disappears to find out what really happened to him.

Fast-forward to present, Chloe is now a successful artist in New York. Jon is still in his mission to find his captor and causes series of fatal accidents that catches the attention of Eggie, a local detective. Obsessed with the sudden deaths of the local residents, he does everything to track the killer and is now determined that he has found the right one.

I was immediately drawn into the story because of Jon. He’s such a precious kid and I just want him to be happy. Chloe is an okay character but I didn’t really care that much about her compared to Jon . Oddly enough, I found Eggie’s story interesting. This book is written in the perspectives of these three characters and I had fun reading it.

This book has a lot of H.P. Lovecraft references I’m not familiar with (because I haven’t read any of his works) but I didn’t mind because the author provided enough details to help the readers understand more what the theme in the story is. Honestly, it’s really difficult to classify the genre of this book. It has a bit of everything. Mystery, sci-fi, urban fantasy, supernatural, thriller, crime fiction, drama, and romance.

Why I gave a 3-star rating? I felt like there’s something missing in the story. I wanted it to be more suspenseful. I was waiting for something big to happen especially towards the end but it didn’t come. Sure there’s a plot twist but it wasn’t really that impressive. There were so many questions that were left unanswered which was a little dissatisfying. I wanted to learn more about Jon’s disappearance and what really happens while he’s in the basement. What exactly did his sub teacher do to him for the past four years? Also, I didn’t totally get why Jon simply run away and didn’t tell her best friend and love interest, Chloe, why (or that) he has to leave. He could have give her at least some lame excuses. Communication is really important, guys.

This may be a different book from the other two novels I mentioned in the beginning of this post but there are still some similarities that will tell you that this is a Kepnes book. Aside from the brilliant writing, we have characters with obsessions and we see how social media plays a huge part of it.

Final Verdict : Caroline Kepnes is a very talented writer and I really admire her. I’m really happy to have read this book and will still read her future works.
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This book was nothing like Kepnes previous dark demented thrillers and honestly, I was disappointed about that. I am a mystery/thriller type of girl and while I thoroughly enjoy other types of material, I just wasn't a fan of this book. The book contains a lot of Lovecraft references and I didn't get those. In fact, I really just didn't "get" the book as a whole. Just not my cup of tea.

I was provided a copy of this book by Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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If I’ve been away for a long time, part of the reason is this book. Providence is not an easy read, and that’s due to the subject matter. It’s a love story, but it is a very ugly love story. Seeing as though I’m just putting myself out there in the dating scene again, it is probably the kind of book that I wanted to skip over and move on from. That’s not to say that the book is terrible or poorly written. It isn’t. There’s a fair bit to admire in the telling of this tale – the way it feels literary with its multiple narrative viewpoints, but yet feels pulpy in a horror novel way. However, if you’re looking for an uplifting tale, your best bet would be to probably look elsewhere. 
Providence is the story of a boy named Jon Bronson, who has a crush on a neighbour and classmate named Chloe. One day, he is kidnapped and put into an induced coma by his capture. Four years later, he re-emerges, but is a changed person. He now has a superpower – he can cause people to go into cardiac arrest at will. Thus, upon discovering this with his friends and family, he secretly goes into hiding so that he cannot hurt the ones he loves. Chloe, meanwhile, holds a bit of a torch for Jon, becoming a celebrated painter who paints images of him. However, she, too, after awhile moves on and is set to marry the nemesis of Jon – a boy who bullied Jon while growing up. At the same time, a homicide detective nicknamed “Eggs” is twigging into the fact that a whole bunch of young people dying with no history of heart failure isn’t just a coincidence, and gets closer and closer to nabbing Jon as Jon carries out his deadly business, which, it should be noted, he can’t help.
Providence is probably a bunch of things, but, to me, this is a story about family and what binds them together, and how they may lose each other. Jon, of course, secretly still pines for Chloe, but can’t bear to be near her for the fear of hurting her. In that sense, I suppose this novel kind is a riff on the notion of how people can hurt other human beings with their emotions. It is also a bit of a beauty and the beast horror story: Jon is given a copy of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwhich Horror as a parting gift from his captor, so I suppose you could say that this book is one big power chord about the impact of other books, whether they are celebrated or not. (This is my first time being acquainted with The Dunwhich Horror, so my impressions of it are that it might be a lesser work in Lovecraft’s oeuvre.) 
Despite this, and the fact that the book is well written, I had a hard time handling it. The notion of being separated from someone you immensely care about – and having the reason for it being not your fault – is a bit tough to encounter. And, so, I read it slowly, only approaching it when I felt like I was really ready for it. I literally went weeks before opening my Kindle to the slow burning sense of disgust that this book wants to make you feel. So, yes, a tough read indeed. Would I recommend it? It’s hard to say. I enjoyed the book when I felt comfortable enough to read it, and it works as a piece of well-versed entertainment. However, if you want a feel good romance about the state of human emotion, well … maybe not so much. 
What does hold the book together is the narrative bits featuring Eggs as the protagonist. He’s something of the moral glue for the characters as he slowly starts zeroing in on what may be really happening to them. He’s not perfect – he has a son presumably with autism who is dead to him – but you do want to see Jon get captured if only so he’s not a danger to himself, lest of all others. Consequently, the Jon chapters are a little tough. Yes, he does manage to kill some particularly nasty people, but he also inadvertently kills some nice people too. 
If there’s a major flaw with this work, it is that we don’t get a sense of the justification for why Jon has been made this way by his captor. Why would someone want to give someone else the power to kill people indiscreetly? Providence never really answers this question. Thus, there is a bit of a dark hole in the narrative of this novel. Why pick Jon? It is because he’s young and in touch with his feelings? Is it something more? We never know.  And then there is the whole question of how this kind of telepathy really works, and why the captor seeks this power out. (Let alone why he wouldn’t want to be granted the power of giving people heart attacks to himself.) There are a lot of questions that aren’t really answered in this work, and that’s kind of problematic. I suppose that Providence is meant to be an easy-going good read, a piece of horror fiction, but there’s something vacant about it. 
Thus, my feelings for this book are rather mixed. Are we supposed to enjoy the fact that Jon has the ability to take out people of all walks of life? Or are we supposed to empathize with Eggs’ quest to get to the bottom of things and put the cuffs around Jon? I don’t know. I certainly wouldn’t want to question a novel’s morals – after all, this is probably just meant as a thriller. However, there were elements that troubled me. And saddened me. I felt sorry for Jon and Chloe and wished that true love could find them in the end. Whether or not they get that is up to the reader to decide. Anyhow, I apologize again if I was a little pokey with this one, but you can say that Providence conjures certain feelings. Whether or not you want to feel the yearning that this novel mines so acutely is another question altogether.
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Oh, I SO wanted to love this book. I was a HUGE “You” and “Hidden Bodies” fan so I had such high hopes. Unfortunately, this one fell flat for me. The hardest part of this book for me was not being able to connect with any of the characters. I appreciate her writing style and it was so different than her previous 2 books (esp the paranormal aspects) but this one just could not keep my interested piqued no matter how hard I tried to love it!
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I wanted to love this book. I did. It took me forever to finish this story. I kept putting it down, reading another book and coming back to this one. I think the pace was too slow for me. Even after I finished I felt like there wasn’t information given. Answers were missing.
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** A copy of Providence was provided by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ** 

I loved You by Caroline Kepnes. I was looking forward to Providence even though I did not care for the sequel of You. 

This book was so creative. It reminded me of a Stephen King book. A lonely adolescent with one friend/love interest is kidnapped by a substitute teacher.  4 years later he wakes up in a mall basement with no memories of the past 4 years. He is big and strong now.  His only friend is so happy he is back. But something weird happens to people when they are around him. 

This book has a strong storyline. It’s suspenseful and interesting and it has likeable main characters.
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I received a netgalley of Providence by Caroline Kepnes, in exchange for an honest review. I was anxiously awaiting another novel by this author and I was not disappointed. The story follows an awkward boy names Jon who is kidnapped in middle school. Four years later he returns but he is not the same. Unaware of what has happened to him and what to make of his new powers, Jon tries to coexist and protect the ones he loves. Chloe is the girl Jon left behind and she just wants to reconnect with her old friend. However as much as Jon would love this he must stay away to protect her. The book is part love story and part mystery. I highly recommend.
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I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This was my first Caroline Kepnes book. I requested it because I recognized the author. That being said, it wasn't quite what I hope it would be. The writer's style was good and that story was okay, but I just had a hard time getting into it.
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Let me preface this by saying I'm NOT a sci-fi fan. At all. But this was a very compelling read and I was very interested in what happened next. Good job, Ms. Kepnes.
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Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of Providence from the publisher (Lenny books) and Netgalley.  All opinions expressed below are my own.

Synopsis:
Growing up, Jon and Chloe are best friends, which people don't always understand.  Jon is dorky and weird - the kid that gets bullied and picked on.  Chloe is pretty and popular.  One day, when Jon is walking to school, he is kidnapped by a substitute teacher.  Years later, Jon escapes after being held in a medically induced coma.  The only problem is, people keep dying around him. 

Review:
Okay, I'll admit it - I wasn't a big fan of YOU by Caroline Kepnes.  I feel comfortable saying that because everyone is obsessed with the book.  Yes, it was different, but it just didn't mesh with me as a reader.  In spite of that, I was still interested in reading Providence.  I didn't know much of anything about the plot prior to starting the book. 

I really enjoyed the supernatural/science fiction aspects of this story.  I had never heard of H. P. Lovecraft, so this was a new and informative storyline for me.  While I wouldn't classify this as truly suspense or thriller, it definitely had a creepy vibe where you didn't quite know what would happen next.  I enjoyed the author's take on the themes of self imposed isolation which was explored differently in each character. 

Overall, I rate Providence 3.5 stars.  I liked this one, but didn't love it.  I'd definitely recommend it for fans of Kepnes' other works.
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