Book Reviews





The Never List by Koethe Zan - review

“Or is it the case that no one gets over anything? Is there really that much pain and suffering continuing right now at this minute, in millions of hearts, in bodies carrying on the burden of existence, trying to smile through tears for fleeting, passing moments here and there-when they can forget what happened to them, maybe even for whole hours at a time? Maybe that's what it is to live.”   

Title: The Never List
Author: Koethe Zan

Publisher: Vintage
Source: Purchased paperback
Available: Now
Buy it: Here


Sarah and Jennifer are best friends. After a car accident when they are young, they start keeping The Never List; everything they should never do, in order to keep themselves out of danger. What starts as fun soon becomes and obsession, though, and as the girls reach University, they are frightful and wary. That is until one day they break their own rule: Never Get Into The Car. Ten years later, Sarah is trying to work out where her best friend is...


I found The Never List to be a quick and exciting page turner that would make a great holiday read for fans of crime thrillers. The book had just enough darkness to keep it intriguing but never stepped over the line into horror territory, that keeps it at the "light read" end of the genre spectrum! I actually really enjoyed the fact that this was so, as I'm finding a lot of books in the crime thriller genre are trying to graphically out-do each other. It was nice to just sit back and enjoy a twisted tale again!

The characters of the taken girls were really well developed for such a fast paced read. You really felt their differences, and where their strengths and weaknesses lay. The psychological aspect of their experience was often sporadic though - in some ways it was very well considered, and at other times I felt it didn't go deep enough. Flashbacks always kept just shy of any hard-hitting fact to explain the extent of some of the longer lasting mental effects.

This leads me to the only frustrating thing about The Never List; The lack of detail given to the reader about "the box". I really expected a revelation of it's use, manipulation and purpose at the denouement of this novel, but it was all just kind of forgotten. Considering the opening page of the book gives such a nod towards it's presence, I was really expecting something!

That said, it was but a slight disappointment in an otherwise great read. It's not a calculated novel in the sense of Gone Girl but comparisons in reference to it's atmosphere and style are well deserved. I'll be recommending The Never List to friends.


The Never List is a fast paced and thrilling novel, extremely dark in parts and hopeful in others. I feel some of the darker elements of the plot were left unexplored, which gave the ending a bit less punch than it could have had, but overall a great read for fans of dark thrillers.


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