You Season 4: how it fits in the book series by C. Kepnes

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You is definitely one of the most successful TV series ever released on Netflix. Season 4 was out in 2023, and once again, Joe Goldberg caught the viewers with his life made of obsessive relationships, murders, and books. The TV show is heavily inspired by the book series by Caroline Kepnes, but at some point, the Netflix show took an autonomous direction, and now people are curious to understand where Season 4 stands within the story told in the books. Let’s discover it.

You can watch the official trailer for You Season 4 here on Youtube.

You Season 4: how it fits in the book series by Caroline Kepnes

The TV series You debuted in 2018 and followed the adventures of Joe Goldberg, the character created by Caroline Kepnes in her books. The show counts four seasons, released in this sequence:

  • You Season 1, released in 2018
  • You Season 2, released in 2019
  • You Season 3, released in 2021
  • You Season 4, released in 2023

Joe Goldberg is the protagonist of You, a character created and developed by the American writer Caroline Kepnes in her book series. The books written for the You series are the following:

  • You, published in 2014
  • Hidden Bodies, published in 2016
  • You Love Me, published in 2021
  • For You And You Only, planned for 2023

You Season 1 was heavily inspired by the first book of the series, You, published in 2014, whereas Season 2, released in 2019, is loosely based on the events described in the second book of the series, Hidden Bodies, published in 2016. When Season 3 landed on Netflix, the TV show decided to go in its own direction: Season 3 was produced before the publication of the third book, You Love Me, so it autonomously continued the story: in the Netflix show, the third season is entirely based on Joe’s new life in Madre Linda, as a husband and father, building family with Love Quinn. In the book You Love Me, Joe comes out of prison thanks to the Quinn family, but then they pay Joe to stay away from Love and her son Henry, and Joe moves to Bainbridge Island, where he gets obsessed with his new boss Mary Kay DiMarco, a librarian at the Bainbridge Public Library. We can build a parallel between Mary Kay and Marienne Bellamy, the librarian in Season 3, but the two characters and the stories are heavily different (and it couldn’t be otherwise because Season 3 was written before the book You Love Me was released)

Season 4 continues to follow Joe Goldberg’s life after the events we saw in Season 3. Joe staged his own death after killing Love Quinn, left his son Henry and went to Europe, committed to finding Marienne. He spends some weeks in Paris, then discovers that Marienne is in London and moves there. He will meet her, finding out that she’s scared of him, and he will try to move on, working as a professor at the university. He will enter a circle of wealthy young people and will be involved in the series of murders committed by the “Eat the Rich killer,” who will try to frame Joe as responsible for his crimes.

As happened with Season 3, Season 4 is no longer following the story described in the book series by Caroline Kepnes. In the books, Joe Goldberg never moves in Europe: the latest evolution of his life is represented at the ending of the third book, You Love Me, where we discover that Joe moves to Florida after the death of her last obsession Mary Kay and opens a bar/bookstore there. Season 4 debuted on Netflix in February 2023, when the fourth installment of the book series, For You And You Only, wasn’t available.

The Netflix series You is an independent story curated by the co-creator Sera Gamble and developed as an autonomous sequence of events no longer based on the adventures described by Caroline Kepnes’ books. The last time there was some connection between the two plotlines was when Season 3 was developed, with Kepnes anticipating to the series writers something that would happen in her third book (which was still a draft). Since then, the two plots are no longer following each other: a reason more to enjoy each part of the story separately.

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