You is a pretty faithful adaptation of Caroline Kepnes' novel. The series, which originally aired its first season on Lifetime, does a great job at capturing Joe's creepiness, as well as Beck's insecurities. But there are still some differences between the — most notably, with the Season 1 finale versus the novel's ending. You book and TV show Spoilers ahead for both.
The most obvious difference is the fact that Candace is alive in the show. Kepnes' novel makes it pretty clear that
Joe killed Candace, and that he's gone on to kill more people since then. In the TV series, meanwhile, Candace shows up at the bookstore. To Joe's surprise, she is very much not dead.
It's not clear how this revelation will play into
You's second season, but it will mark a major departure from the books. Joe seems to barely consider Candace or even Beck in Kepnes' sequel, , instead focusing his attention on two new characters, Amy and Love. If Candace is still around, that could definitely throw a wrench into Joe's post-Beck relationships. Hidden Bodies
Whatever happens with Joe and Candace, though, that's not the only change between the novel and the small-screen adaptation. If you haven't read the book, here are some of the other differences between the original work and how things have played out in the show so far.
Beck's Perspective Is A Lot Clearer In The Book
Throughout a lot of the show, fans see things from Joe's point of view, narrating what's going through his mind. The book is told from Joe's perspective, too, but there's a bit more information about what Beck knows during the whole stalking process.
In the book's final scenes, in particular, Beck reveals just how aware she was of Joe's actions. If you wondered why a baseball cap was enough for Joe to go unrecognized at Beck's poetry reading in the show, well, it turns out it wasn't — at least in the book.
Beck knew Joe followed her to Greenpoint, and it kind of sounds like she was flattered by it, in a twisted sort of way. Unfortunately, it was way more than a crush on Joe's part, and he later murdered her in both the show and the book.
While some of Beck's conflicting thoughts come through at times on the show (including the moment in the video above), the book makes it more clear how much Beck knew during her relationship with Joe.
Joe's neighbors take up a significant part of the TV series. And his sympathy for the abused Paco humanizes Joe in a way. But everything that happens with Claudia, Ron, and Paco was invented entirely for the show and did not happen in the book.
Joe Is Less Sure Of Himself In The Books
A lot of the sequel,
Hidden Bodies, is devoted to Joe's fear about the mug of pee he left at the Salingers' beach house. And his insecurity about not having gone to college takes up much of the first novel.
Penn Badgley's Joe, though, seems very confident in his stalking abilities. And the mug hasn't come back to haunt him... at least not yet.
Ethan Is Pretty Different
Ethan and Blythe end up together in the book, as they do in the show. But the novel's version of Ethan is an overeager guy who loves clearance sales at the Gap. The show's Ethan is much more mellow, and he doesn't seem like the type of person to get too excited about bargain-shopping.
The Way Beck Finds Joe's Memorabilia Collection Isn't The Same
In the show, Beck finds Joe's box in the loose ceiling tile above his toilet, just where Paco told her the apartments had hiding spots. Little does she know that the box holds some seriously creepy stuff, including a pair of her underwear, her old journal, her previous phone, Candace's locket, and most disturbingly, teeth and an old tampon.
Meanwhile, in the book, Beck also discovers the box, although not in the same place. There's no Paco to tip her off. She finds the items in a hole in Joe's apartment wall, which he created by throwing a typewriter at it.
Candace Is Unequivocally Dead In The Book
Candace doesn't have a huge backstory in the book. Readers know that Joe killed her in Brighton Beach, but there's not a ton more to her side of the story. In the show, Joe has many visions of Candace, even after he starts dating Beck. And, of course, Candace's still being alive is way different than her fate in the novel.
There's No Annika In The Book
It's not too surprising that the show would give Beck more friends to interact with on screen, but the whole friend group dynamic is a little different in the book. Annika isn't there, but there's a girl named Chana. She and Lynn are also a bit different than on the show. They're more outspoken about the fact that they don't like Peach, even dreading spending time with her.
The Way Joe Kills Peach Is Different
In the show, Joe shoots Peach outside her family's Connecticut home. But in the book, the Salinger estate is in Little Compton, Rhode Island. And Joe kills Peach on the beach, like he did Candace, with no gun in sight.
Joe Doesn't Get Caught At The Dickens Festival In The Book
Even though Joe seems pretty confident in the show, Beck still spots him at the Dickens festival. The whole awkward dinner with her dad is unique to the show, too. (It probably helps that in the book, Joe added a beard onto his costume to better stay in disguise.)
Aside from Candace,a lot of these differences are pretty small, in the grand scheme of
You's story. The series is a fairly faithful adaptation of the book, with both mediums capturing Joe's creepiness and his willingness to commit murder. Even if Netflix's second season of the show isn't too similar to the book's sequel, You fans might still like reading Hidden Bodies — if only to get deeper inside Joe's twisted mind.