'It is you. Of course it is you. Always it is you.'
Clarissa is being stalked by Rafe. He appears all the time, wherever she is, at her home, when she is out, in the park, everywhere, his menacing, unwanted presence is there. No matter how clearly she tells him to leave her alone, to go away, or even when she tries to just ignore him completely, to not give him the satisfaction of any response, he does not stop, he is determined she will give in to him, and that he can control her. She avoids him as much as she possibly can, but they share the same workplace, and they shared one night together, once. Then Clarissa is called for jury duty, and feels relieved because she'll be in the courtroom away from Rafe for most of the day for several weeks at least. There she gets to know some of the other jurors, including one who is kind and friendly, who she chats with and this takes her mind off events with Rafe, at least for brief periods. As she listens to the evidence in what is a violent case, things start to compare to the situation she is in. She realises what she needs to do, and she collects together the evidence of what Rafe has done. She's got her notebook, detailing all the times he has threatened, stalked, intimidated her, she keeps things he has left in her mailbox and so on, stockpiling the evidence, hoping that one day there'll be enough for it to be considered seriously by the police.
The main narrative sees Clarissa's experiences as recorded in her notebook, using the second-person. The style isn't all that common in popular fiction to my knowledge, but it is used really effectively here, like it was in Rosamund Lupton's Afterwards. It conveys with immediacy the fear she feels, the threats she endures, and the total, unwavering obsession Rafe has with her. Rafe is genuinely frightening and manipulative, utterly determined to have his way and be in control. Clarissa is an increasingly frightened victim and despite her best efforts can't seem to outmanoeuvre him. This all culminates in a dramatic finish. The other part of the narrative is in the third-person, recounting the events in the court.
The Book of You is a strong debut novel, a really cracking page-turner, a tense, excellent psychological suspense tale; Claire Kendal does a good job of getting you emotionally invested in what happens to Clarissa; I almost didn't dare read on at times and yet of course the story had me hooked and I didn't want to put it down until I'd finished.