Providence by Caroline Kepnes
Reviewed by: Jennifer Chretien, Reference Librarian
Rating 4.5 stars
Jon is an outcast in his small New Hampshire town. His interests in Spiderman and obsession with newspapers marks him as different and immature compared to his classmates and he is severely bullied. Only Chloe understands him. When Jon is kidnapped in the woods by a substitute teacher, Chloe is the only person holding on to hope that he will be found.
Jon wakes up 4 years later in an unfamiliar location not knowing what had happened to him. The only clues to what happened in those four years was a copy of H.P. Lovecraft's The Dunwich Horror and a note telling him that they did good work. He is confused but eager to resume his friendship with Chloe as if the last four years had never happened. What he doesn't realize is that life has moved on, people have changed, and things happen to people when Jon feels emotional. Fearing that he will harm Chloe and his family, Jon disappears once again. Jon's hope is that if he finds his captor, he will be able to stop his new powers.
Providence is told from three points of view, Jon, Chloe, and the detective desperately trying to solve the mystery behind the sudden uptick in cardiac deaths in Providence, Rhode Island. I found the book to be haunting, beautifully written, and heartbreaking. While there are many Lovecraft references, I found Providence to be more of a modern adaptation of Frankenstein. Even that description isn't entirely accurate. This is a genre bending work of fiction; science fiction, detective mystery, and love story. The characters were incredibly life-like and the plot jumped seamlessly between points of view and locations. To go into more detail would rob the reader of the pleasure of the story unfold. If you go into this book expecting it to be similar to Kepnes' previous works, I implore you to put aside those expectations. Providence is completely different from You and Hidden Bodies. It is more emotional and romantic without being a romance in the least. I can say without a doubt that it is one of the best books that I have read this year.