How to read the You series in order ahead of the third and final season

The You series differs on the page vs. screen—we'll fill you in

You, You series, Victoria Pedretti, Penn Badgley
(Image credit: Netflix)

The You series might be coming to a close, but Joe Goldberg's toxic ways will live on forever. The You thriller trilogy is made up of captivating page-turners that have hooked fans from the get-go, even if the protagonist's obsessive ways left them slightly disturbed.

Since the psychotic bookstore manager isn't due to grace our screens on You on Netflix until the end of the year, we recommend you tide yourself over by catching up with the novels that brought him to life.

Caroline Kepnes' 2014 bestseller You was the starting point for the Netflix series. The story 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!

How to read the You series in order

Currently, there are three books in the You thriller series: You, Hidden Bodies, and the recently released You Love Me, which hit shelves on April 1, 2021. 

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What is You 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. 

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What is Hidden Bones about?

You clearly needed a sequel, and author Caroline Kepnes delivers, 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? 

You - Production Stills

(Image credit: Netflix)

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?

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Are there differences between the You series on page and screen? 

Like any adaptation, storylines tend to change along the way. There are certain characters in the novels that we don't get to see on-screen (like the professor who is also in love with Beck). And, conversely, there are characters, like 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! 

Is there a fourth book coming in the You series? 

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab), Caroline Kepnes claims she's made a draft for the fourth novel of the You series (which will reportedly include pandemic elements), but it's too soon to tell how things will develop. 

However, she's ready to keep Joe's story going. 

"For me, he’s got a lot of living to do, unfortunately, and fortunately," the author joked to the publication. 

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!)