Monday, August 5, 2013

The Never List by Koethi Zan

I want to start off by saying about this book that I started it and didn't want to put it down. Even though I feel like I barely have time to read anymore, this is STILL a rare occurrence, the kind of book that so draws me in I have to keep reading. And I'm finding that this year the majority have been crime fiction. Though I really don't know if they would get classified as crime fiction, the biggest thing is that there is a crime and sometimes a mystery. (they aren't like serial detective books)

Anyway, this book was also really interesting to me for other reasons mostly having to do with survival and the lengths people will go to in order to survive. This is something I'm particularly interested as it relates to women who have been victimized by violent crimes, an idea I probably first started mulling over years ago when I read Elizabeth Scott's Living Dead Girl, and started thinking about again this year when watching Hannibal and Abigail Hobbs. Anyway! (Hannibal will come up again, lol) Sarah and Jennifer are best friends who endure a horrific car crash when they are young. It causes them to create The Never List--a list of things they will do in order to ensure they avoid the possibility of something bad happening to them. They are OBSESSIVE about it which just goes to show you already the mentality of these two young women. They don't want to suffer again like they already have, they want to live. They have a determination in them already to survive.

But one night they mess up and end up getting kidnapped and living in captivity. And I don't want to spoil too much of how things unfold, but what's important to know is that Sarah feels like there's unfinished business even years after they are rescued. And she's pretty sure her kidnapper is sending her a message from prison so she starts investigating what that might be in order to both resolve that business and finally put her past behind her. But things quickly spiral out of control and become dangerous for her and there ends up being so much more to her past than she realized.

So that's the basic premise of the book and it's really gripping! Zan does a great job of revealing things at about the rate Sarah would be learning them and increasing the tension. This is a very difficult book in that there is a lot of sexual crime and treating women as property, etc. So if you're sensitive to that in books I'd steer's pretty dark, although the language and narrative voice isn't as gritty as say Gillian Flynn.

But Sarah does struggle with her own decisions to stay alive and the things she does to survive. She wasn't alone in the basement...Jennifer was there and so were two other girls. It's fair to say that Sarah's own survival may put the other girls at risk. And to be honest I felt a little conflicted over her resolution of these feelings at the end, though I think I've come to decide they are okay. I just think they are the things a person is able to think and feel more clearly when their life isn't in constant danger.

Anyway, this is a great read, really compulsive and with interesting things to think about.

And this quote reminded me of Hannibal, lol.

"The look in her eyes was familiar though I hadn't seen it in awhile: curiosity and professional interest, masked as actual concern." She says this about a psychologist she sees! But you know it does strike at the heart of how we deal with this so much...the media, people at home...we are curious more than we actually care in most cases.

Anyway, recommended!

Review copy received from Penguin.


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