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The hit Netflix series You is actually based on a book of the same name by Caroline Kepnes. The book has subsequently become a series of novels. The streaming series, so far, has been a faithful adaptation of the novel. However, there are a few major differences between the book and the streaming series. Let’s take a look at all the ways they differ.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from You on Netflix and the book series.]

You series on Netflix starring Penn Badgley
A still from the Netflix series, ‘You’ | JOHN P. FLEENOR/NETFLIX © 2021

In the ‘You’ books, Joe and Love don’t raise Henry together

Fans of the hit Netflix series You have noticed that Joe and Love raise their son, Henry, together at the beginning of season 3. That’s one of the first major differences between the books and the show. In the book, Joe is given $4 million and a home in exchange for leaving Love and the baby — who is named “Forty,” not “Henry,” a difference which was briefly mentioned in the series — alone.

The Quinn family, (Love’s family,) makes Joe sign a contract that he won’t ever be in touch with the baby or Love again. The Quinn family, however, does allow Joe to follow them on Instagram so he can see the baby grow up.

What’s more, in the books, Love isn’t a killer the way she is in the You series on Netflix. Love’s first husband, James, died in a surfing accident in the books. And Kepnes never implies that Love killed him. It’s Joe, however, who kills all the people in the books that Love kills in the streaming series. That means that Candace and Delilah die by Joe’s hands, not Love’s — and Henry’s (Forty’s, in the book) au pair never dies, either.

The Netflix series features characters that don’t exist in the books

There are many characters in the Netflix series that don’t exist in the books. For example, Natalie — whom Joe obsesses about in the You series — doesn’t exist in the books.

Additionally, Ellie — who is a prominent character in the Netflix series — doesn’t even exist in the books. Delilah has a nameless older sister who Joe never meets in the Kepnes books.

What’s more, Joe lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington — an upper-class island off the coast of Seattle — and not Northern California in the You books.

Joe is a lot more psychotic in the Kepnes novels

As psychotic as Penn Badgley’s character of Joe is in the You series on Netflix, he’s actually extremely toned down compared to what he is in the Kepnes novels. In fact, Joe is so psychotic in the books that he drives Love to die by suicide. She shoots Joe, then turns the gun on herself. Joe ultimately survives and moves to Florida — unlike in the Netflix series, where he moves to Paris.


‘You’: Joe and Love’s Therapist Uncovers Their Biggest Fear

How to get help: In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 to speak with a trained crisis counselor at the free Crisis Text Line.