Book Review: Providence by Caroline Kepnes

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When the newest book, Providence, by Caroline Kepnesbecame available, I excitedly requested and downloaded it on NetGalley. Her first book, You, is one of my favorites, and her second, Hidden Bodies, was very strong. I rushed through Providence this week turning the pages and watching a strange story unfold before my eyes. There are many parts I enjoyed, a few I thought were just okay, and in the end would give it about 3.5 stars.


Let’s start out with a little bit about the story… two teenagers are best friends in love with one another but unwilling to tell the other. We see why they click and what is appealing in both. Then Jon goes missing. The book jumps several years later and Chloe is now dating the guy who picked on Jon when they were younger. We have no idea what happened to Jon. More time passes and we find out Jon was kidnapped by someone at their school, and when he wakes up, he’s been in a medically-induced coma for years. He’s physically matured and somehow developed a bit of a supernatural power. This is where I got worried… I’m not a fantasy or sci-fi reader, but I’m trying to branch out, so this was a really great opportunity to check out another genre.

I wasn’t disappointed. It was exactly what I thought it would be. I love how the ‘other worldly’ talents integrate into the story, but I had tons of questions like a two year old: why, how, when, where, what… yet I believe it’s important as a reader to hold your own questions at bay and read with an open mind. I never got the answers, but then again, you don’t always get them in sci-fi or fantasy (from what I understand). It just happens and you go with the fun aspects of something new or different. That said, I found ways to enjoy the book for what it is. A coming-of-age story where the main character is a bit older than normal because of everything he’s gone through. And you end up questioning what is right and wrong. Is one bad or evil action able to be redeemed, or should someone suffer / die because of it.

Throughout the course of the ~400 pages, Jon struggles to balance his love for Chloe and his inability to control the powers when he gets emotional. It’s a love story, a suspenseful drama, a mystery chase, and a bit of a reflection on life. Kepnes is fond of (and strong at, too) developing characters with obsessions, social media-frenzied anxiety, and over-indulgence in human emotional needs. I mean this in a positive way, too. She gets right to the core of what makes some people tick or focus on the little details that sit within a person’s mind all day long. It helps pull you in to the story and the characters.

Many readers will compare this to You, and if they aren’t sci-fi or fantasy genre buffs, they may struggle a little. I am not familiar with HP Lovecraft’s books, which are a central theme in this one. Although Kepnes does a good job and explaining what you need to know, it would be better if you had read Lovecraft. I hope readers will see this as something similar yet purposely different to both books, as it stands out as an interesting and quick read where you see a different slice of humanity and psychological rhythm. Character development is spot on. Plots are woven well. Settings are very clear. And there’s a subtle page-turning push you feel trying to understand where it’s all going.

For me, it’s a good book. I’m glad I read it. I’d recommend it only to folks I think would be willing to cross all the different genres and go for a peculiar and crafty ride. Thanks to NetGalley, Kepnes and her publisher for getting me an early copy.


About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.


18 thoughts on “Book Review: Providence by Caroline Kepnes

    thebookwormdrinketh said:
    April 17, 2018 at 9:21 AM

    I love sci fi and fantasy… But, I still live my answers. I still want those questions answered especially when it’s in our world and this person is the only person who seems to have powers. Maybe that’s just me! I have a book that I’m reading right now that seems VERY similar to this and I’m having a tough time with it, so I’m glad that you posted this because the writing is amazing and the premise is really interesting… Maybe I should learn from you and just sit back and enjoy the ride! Lol! Thank you and I may have to check out Caroline’s books!! 😁🍻💖

    Liked by 3 people

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      April 17, 2018 at 9:30 AM

      She’s very strong on character. I think you may like her…. from things we’ve chatted about. What are you reading?


        thebookwormdrinketh said:
        April 17, 2018 at 9:32 AM

        It’s called Anna Undreaming. I LOVE the premise and the idea behind it… But, there’s too much explanation about some things and none about others and the story is very disjointed at times jumping from different times to different characters.. But, it’s still really good! But, I NEED MY ANSWERS!! 😖😫

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        April 17, 2018 at 9:59 AM

        Yeah. Tough. Read YOU then. Not this one. I will look up the one you’re reading. Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

    Martie said:
    April 17, 2018 at 9:46 AM

    “Let’s start out with a little bit about the story… two teenagers are best friends in love with one another but unwilling to tell the other.” Sounds familiar. But yours sounds better.

    Liked by 1 person

    shalini said:
    April 17, 2018 at 12:17 PM

    Thank you for this review. This book so does NOT go into my TBR. This TBR pile is going to crash at the rate I keep on adding books.
    BTW where is the FORMAL INVITATION?
    I have never clicked on your website as I have done today, checked every hour since 1am, your time. 🤣😂


    Abby said:
    April 17, 2018 at 1:24 PM

    Excellent review! I’ve been curious on this one, so I’m glad that you read it. I appreciated your insights. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      April 17, 2018 at 1:37 PM

      Thank you. I appreciate it. It had lots of good things, but it won’t be for all readers. Hope you like if it you decide to read it.


    Fantastic review Jay, although Im sorry you didn’t like this more. I’m a huge Lovecraft fan and as you know I do enjoy supernatural and fantasy fiction, so I’m looking forward to this.

    Liked by 1 person

    lynnetteok said:
    April 17, 2018 at 5:54 PM

    I’ve loved her books and have pre-ordered this one. I didn’t even think to request it on Netgalley!
    Thank you for the review. After reading it, I’ll know better than to think it’ll be like Joe. I think when you go into a book with certain expectations and they aren’t met it can ruin things. I’ll go into this one with an open mind.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      April 17, 2018 at 6:03 PM

      Glad to help. It was a good book, and if you like sci-fi, fantasy, and lovecraft, you’ll be good with it!


    Carrie said:
    April 18, 2018 at 1:37 AM

    Great review! I haven’t gotten to this one yet but it was definitely an immediate click for me too since I absolutely love YOU.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      April 18, 2018 at 7:01 AM

      Thanks. I look forward to your thoughts. Very different approach but you see similarities in writing style.

      Liked by 1 person

    Priyasha said:
    April 19, 2018 at 2:29 AM

    Great review ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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