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You Know You Want This

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  1,054 ratings  ·  251 reviews
From the author of “Cat Person”—“the short story that launched a thousand theories” (The Guardian)—comes Kristen Roupenian's highly anticipated debut, a compulsively readable collection of short stories that explore the complex—and often darkly funny—connections between gender, sex, and power across genres.

You Know You Want This brilliantly explores the ways in which women
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by Gallery/Scout Press
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3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,054 ratings  ·  251 reviews

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Feb 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well. The stories are well written. They are. But I didn’t like this book. It’s so bleak. There is no joy, no air in these stories. There is nothing wrong with that but it didn’t make for a great reading experience. So many of the stories were flat. Garish without heart or soul. Violent and grotesque without purpose. There isn’t a character or story I will remember with fondness. The characters were often flat, caricatures. I can’t say I will remember much of this book at all. I really tried to ...more
Larry H
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow, what a crazy collection of short stories this was!!

Kristen Roupenian's debut collection, You Know You Want This , is at turns frank, brutal, disturbing, kinky, poignant, emotional, and eye-opening. Her stories are about relationships of all kinds—parental, romantic, sexual, those between friends and lovers, and even those between relative strangers. The relationships are rarely equal, in that most often, someone has the upper hand, although it might not always last for long.

This collection
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, 2019-read
I went into this equally curious and suspicious: I applaud a writer who gets the internet talking about a short story (, but the hype around Roupenian's debut collection has gained proportions that invite some kind of backlash. Looking at the actual material, the book as a whole is a little uneven and in parts feels underdeveloped, but hell, this is an exciting writer who has the potential to go places. Roupenian ventures into the darker recesses of the h ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I went into these stories braced not to like them. I quite enjoyed Cat Person and the surrounding controversy, but heard these stories were full of unlikeable characters and disturbing situations. And they are, but Kristen Roupenian has an uncanny sense of the inner lives of people - their messy, uncomfortable, inner lives. There is one story in here that feels like it doesn't fit unless you think of the characters as cat people. And really, it does fit in the way that the male character is a wh ...more
Jessica Sullivan
If you were alive and online in 2018, you probably read and talked about Kristen Roupenian’s short story, “Cat Person.” Well, get ready for her debut collection, because it’s here and ready to punch you in the gut—or, perhaps more aptly, bite your face off.

Drawing comparisons to Carmen Maria Machado and Ottessa Moshfegh, this dark, perverse, macabre collection explores relationships with a distinct focus on power dynamics. The subjects are mostly women, and they are at times the victims and the
John Decker
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
There are three stories in this that are terribly clunky and out of place. I cannot bring myself to give it five stars. But the remainder of these are fantastically disgusting. This collection takes the absurd and wince-worthy all the way — sometimes for ambiguous, sometimes sociopolitical reasons — and I am here for it.
Jessica Woodbury
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, story-collection
3.5 stars
I don't blame anyone for wanting to immediately capitalize on the massive success of "Cat Person" by getting a collection of stories out as soon as possible, but I can still wish they'd waited a bit until the collection was more solid and cohesive.

I do not mind so much that the stories here can vary quite widely in theme, style, and genre. But there are two or three particular buckets you can sort them into rather than a mosaic of a wide variety of styles, leaving it feeling like a few
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
I think it's safe to say that the majority of people reading this book have done so simply because we read 'Cat Person' last year and were curious what else the author of it might come up with. I know that's why I picked it up.

Cat Person was an interesting story in many ways. For one, it was all too familiar to a lot of women, myself included. It wasn't particularly well-written (in that the writing style was nothing extra special; it just described what it needed to and got the job done), and t
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018, short-stories
These stories were a mixed bag and my suspicion is, that the publisher asked Roupenian, after the phenomenal success of Cat Person, if she had any other stories to publish. A lot of them feel quite unpolished and young, relying on shock value and overstretching the point.
Cat Person, with its razor sharp observations and truthfulness, still surpasses the other stories by miles. Some stories were intriguing, but most of them lacked the mature style of her famous story.
I'm very much looking forwar
Kristen Roupenian got a book deal on the strength of Cat Person, the New Yorker short story that buzzed across the Internet in late 2018, stoked by the still red-hot embers of the #metoo movement.

Last year, I read and loved the story Cat Person.
This year, I read the collection You Know You Want This and loved the story Cat Person.

And that's the unfortunate truth: this collection is wildly uneven, a hodgepodge of ideas that needed a bit more germination or different execution. The lightning in
Jaclyn Crupi
Nov 24, 2018 rated it liked it
A collection of mediocre short stories, nothing more, nothing less.
Skyler Autumn
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
5 Star

ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT! I am in love with Kristen Roupenian, I will read whatever this woman writes. You Know You Want This, is a perverse collection of short stories that examines relationships, sex and gender dynamics. From the mind that created 'Cat Person' (a short story that still haunts my dreams) you get 12 unique tales ranging from an exploration of what makes someone the nice guy, to a perverse menage a trois that has deadly consequences.
Janelle • She Reads with Cats
Thank you so much Gallery Books for my free copy of YOU KNOW YOU WANT THIS: “Cat Person and Other Stories” -

This collection is illustrious, unsettling, provocative, compulsive, and at times, villainous. I loved all twelve stories in very different ways but they all have the same cohesive, sharply written voice.

In the opening story, “Bad Boy”, a couple takes in a friend who has just been through a breakup and begins to use him in ruthless ways. In the story “Sardines”, an off putting 11-year-old
Gaby Lee
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
such a solid debut collection of short stories; visceral, compelling, often deeply unsettling. If Difficult Women by Roxane Gay and Her Body and Other Parties had a love child
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
„Seit er 35 war, konnte Ted beim Sex nur einen hochkriegen und steif bleiben, wenn er sich vorstellte, dass sein Schwanz ein Messer war und die Frau, mit der er gerade schlief, sich daran aufschlitzte.“

Die Short Stories von Kristen Roupenian geben unstreitig viel Stoff zum Diskutieren. Unkomfortabel, verstörend, hitzig. Lakonisch, einzigartig, modern. Realistisch, bizarr, befremdlich. Es gibt tausend Adjektive, die dieses Buch beschreiben würden, es wäre auch überhaupt nicht möglich, das Buch nu
Chihoe Ho
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
What a weird yet thought-provoking bunch of stories! It was my first time reading the viral sensation that was Cat Person through this colection, and while it truly is a piece of engaging reading as part of the current #MeToo movement, there are definitely much stronger stories in this book. That said, there are also some very awkward pieces that didn't resonate as strongly, and made You Know You Want This an uneven read, even if the discrete short stories were meant for individual consumption.
Read on submission and was insanely impressed. Still thinking about many of these stories.
Brandon Forsyth
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There’s maybe one or two weak spots - but the rest of what’s here burns with such unsettling intensity that you can’t help but leave here changed. Roupenian’s protagonists are defined by desire, and the way it moulds them and changes them and twists them makes you feel like you’ve listened to Radiohead’s “Creep” over and over again. You may want to shower afterwards. CAT PERSON just scratched the surface - believe the hype, this is a writer to watch for years to come.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Now that I have that out of my system I honestly don't know where to start...this collection of short stories has skyrocketed to one of my favorite collection that fast...yes I know I sound like a crazy person with all my rambling but I honestly loved each and every story in this collection. EACH and EVERY STORY...I can't put into words how they made me feel because my feelings are still al
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
3.5-4 stars. Thanks to @gallerybooks for sharing this book with me! You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian is a wonderfully strange and oddly relatable short story collection. Many of her stories made me cringe but the way she captures true thoughts and feelings that may be hard to admit felt really unique. I love Kristin’s voice and I read this collection in just a couple of sittings - every time I finished a story, I wanted more, which is pretty unusual for me!

Standouts for me were Look a
Emily Yang
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Roupenian works best when her narrative arc is restricted to desire — stories like "bad boy" and "biter" are emblematic of her approach, which turns characters solely into what they want, the narrative arc powered by desire's inevitable race to the bottom. There's more depravity here than feels truthful or instructive, and while there is a lot of what Joan Murray called "grip and shove" to these stories, I often found myself wondering why I was being subjected to this festival of humiliations. I ...more
Chris Roberts
Jan 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
The especially vulnerable,
short story collection,
lacking a cohesive narrative,
jammed together, each tale's spirit not resurrected,
competing words and author's ego,
congeal, congregate and conceal,
separateness is lost.


Chris Roberts, God Suddenly
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: partner-read
Full review to follow
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wowowowowow. A short story collection where every single one is a banger. Dark and twisted and wonderful.
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book by Kristen Roupenian is far and away the best collection of short stories I have ever read. I have never not been able to put down a short story collection, I usually go very slowly because there is nothing to keep my attention. Roupenian is in a completely different league though. Each story is so different, some mystical and horrific, some completely grounded in reality and focusing on details about love, relationships, and gender that I have never seen any author get as well as she ...more
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Boah. Nach dieser Kurzgeschichtensammlung möchte ich erstmal ganz lange nichts von Roupenian lesen. Und ich bin doch froh, dass ich kein Geld für das Buch ausgeben musste (auch wenn natürlich nix umsonst ist) - damit danke an den Verlag für das Rezi-Exemplar.

Roupenian wurde durch die Geschichte "Cat Person" bekannt, die im New Yorker erschien und bis heute zu den meistgelesen Stories überhaupt gehört.
Dementsprechend ist "Cat Person" in dieser gleichnamigen Kurzgeschichtensammlung auch die stär
Bad Boy: ★★
Look at Your Game, Girl: ★★★
Sardines: ★★★.5
The Night Runner: ★
The Mirror, the Bucket, and the Old Thigh Bone: ★.5
Cat Person: ★★★★★
The Good Guy: ★★★★
The Boy in the Pool: ★★★.5
Scarred: ★★★
The Matchbox Sign: ★★★
Death Wish: ★★★.5
Biter: ★★★★.5

3.1 stars, rounded to 3

so. i might've jumped the gun on this one. when i read cat person, i was absolutely smitten with it. i was astonished at how real the story was, how truly contemporary - in a very ugly wa
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow this book instantly grabbed me. Will admit I already read the Story CAT PERSON. Which is what initially interested me in this book and once I started I could barely put it down. As I was that eager to keep going along with the stories and read the next one. Read it over and in under 36 hours.

which can be rare at least for me when it comes to short story collections. Usually i want to prolong good books and writing, but before I knew it I was flowing right through these stories. Which isn’t e
Zu beschreiben, wie mir dieses Buch gefallen hat, fällt mir wahnsinnig schwer. Weil alle Kurzgeschichten so kurios sind, so real, so alltäglich, so übernatürlich.
Der Schreibstil ist so angenehm - und einfach nur großartig - dass ich von der ersten Seite an gefesselt war und mich geradezu dazu zwingen musste, jeden Tag nur eine Geschichte zu lesen.
Die erste Kurzgeschichte ist an dieser Position gekonnt gewählt, denn ihre Spannung nimmt stetig zu und gipfelt in einem eigentlich abartigen Moment. D
Ah, this is so disappointing. I had high expectations for this collection because I thought Cat Person was so smart, but the rest of these stories all seemed underdeveloped and deeply cynical. There's no lightness to any of them, and overall, this collection struck me as dour and unrealistically bleak. Surely the characters in these stories could have been given some redeeming qualities? The worst part is, I think Roupenian could have improved these stories (based on the quality of her writing i ...more
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I graduated from Barnard College in May of 2003. A few weeks later, I left for Kenya with the Peace Corps, where I spent two years teaching Public Health and HIV education at a small orphans' center a few hours from the Ugandan border. During that time, I began learning Swahili and first encountered the literary magazine that later became the focus of my dissertation. Once I returned home, I worke ...more
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