How to read the 'You' series in order ahead of season 4

The 'You' series differs on the page versus screen—here's how

You series, You season 1- Production Still Image
(Image credit: Netflix)

The You series isn't just a televised one—yes, like Bridgerton, Lupin and Shadow and Bone before it, the Netflix show is based on a book series by Caroline Kepnes, captivating page-turners that have hooked fans from the get-go...even if the protagonist's obsessive ways left them slightly disturbed.

Caroline Kepnes' 2014 bestseller You was the starting point for the series, which follows the head of a bookshop who becomes infatuated with a writer in the making and stops at nothing to ensure that she's his. A literary love story that gets dark, and quickly—we're sold!

If you've already finished the first part of You season 4—which debuted on the streamer on Thursday, February 9, with the back half to come on Thursday, March 9—we recommend you tide yourself over by catching up with the novels that brought him to life.

How to read the 'You' series in order:

Currently, there are three books in Caroline Kepnes' You book series: 2014's You, 2016's Hidden Bodies, and the most recently released You Love Me, which hit shelves on April 1, 2021. 

What is 'You' the book about? 

The first book in the You series, You introduces us to East Village bookstore manager Joe Goldberg. When he meets a beautiful aspiring wordsmith at the store, he becomes deeply entranced—and entirely too obsessive with her. 

Guinevere Beck's life is seemingly an open book, making it all the more simple for Joe to get exactly what he wants, even if requires something immoral. 

You: A Novel (The You Series) by Caroline Kepnes
RRP: $10.22 / £7.35 (opens in new tab)

You: A Novel (The You Series) by Caroline Kepnes
$10.22 / £7.35

What is 'Hidden Bones' about?

You clearly needed a sequel and author Caroline Kepnes delivered, much to thriller fans' delight. In this follow-up, we journey alongside the wicked bookseller as he heads to the West Coast, attempting to put his demons to rest. Will history repeat itself when Joe finds a new love interest in Los Angeles? 

Hidden Bodies: A You Novel (The You Series)
RRP: $13.74 / £6.99 (opens in new tab)

Hidden Bodies: A You Novel (The You Series)
RRP: $13.74 / £6.99

What is 'You Love Me' about?

In the highly-anticipated third installment of the You series, readers find Joe attempting to move out of the city and set up shop in the California burbs. But his new routine starts to look oddly familiar when he finds himself falling for his fellow librarian Mary Kay DiMarco. If she's not willing to go along with his quest for love, how will things play out?

You Love Me: A You Novel (The You Series)
RRP: $13.35 / £12.99 (opens in new tab)

You Love Me: A You Novel (The You Series)
RRP: $13.35 / £12.99

You - Production Stills

(Image credit: Netflix)

Will there be a fourth book in the 'You' series?

Yes, a fourth You novel is coming! Kepnes announced the new book, entitled For You and You Only, on Instagram (opens in new tab) in November 2022, writing: "I'm so excited to invite you back into Joe's head and I hope you love it in there!" 

The title will be available to purchase everywhere books are sold on Tuesday, April 25. 

For You and Only You: A Joe Goldberg Novel
RRP: $30 / £13.19 (opens in new tab)

For You and Only You: A Joe Goldberg Novel
RRP: $30 / £13.19

'You' series book versus show: how are they different?

Like any onscreen adaptation, storylines tend to change along the way. There are certain characters in the novels that we don't get to see in the TV series (like the professor who is also in love with Beck). And, conversely, there are characters, such as Annika, who exist on the show but not in the book. 

Without giving away any spoilers, particular characters who commit murder in the show don't do so in the book. Plus, a certain horrifying scene in the first season is something entirely new and not in the novel. 

It goes without saying that both print and TV need to be consumed—they're equally as engrossing and frightening! 

The first part of You season 4 is available to stream on Netflix.

Danielle Valente

Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment. 

The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos, new TV shows and relationship trends.  

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets. 

When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)

With contributions from