Thursday, October 20, 2011

REVIEW: Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens

Rating: 3/5 Stars
Audience: Adult
Genre: Psychological Thriller

Summary: Sara Gallagher has always felt that she didn't fit in with her adoptive family.  She has questions about the parents who gave her up and wants to know more about her medical history for her daughter's sake. Now that her daughter is six and she's planning a wedding to a wonderful man, Sara decides it's time to dig into the past. But when she finally discovers the identity of her birth mother, Sara makes a shocking discovery: Her mother was the only victim to survive a notorious serial killer. And everything she learns indicated that her father was The Campsite Killer. Sara's mother wants nothing to do with her... but her father is a different story.

Tracy's Thoughts:
I loved Chevy Stevens's debut novel Still Missing, and her second novel has many similarities. The action takes place in short, fast-paced chapters, each of which represents a different session between Sara and her therapist. And it is a page-turner without a doubt; I read the entire book in one sitting. The premise is fascinating, and the story emotionally complex. Sara's doubts about her own emotional reactions and coping mechanisms were realistic and intriguing. The characters and their difficult relationships were equally interesting.

However, for me, Never Knowing lacked the impact of Stevens's award-winning debut. The last-minute plot twist was predictable and unbelievable, and I also had issues with the therapy session format. The plot device seemed a bit stale the second time around, plus the difference in timeline (most of this novel takes place in almost-real time, while most of the events in Still Missing occurred long before Annie's therapy sessions) occasionally makes the break-up of sessions awkward and unrealistic. So, yes, I was disappointed in Stevens's sophomore effort. Still, it was a compelling read and I definitely plan to pick up her next novel.

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