💙 I read this for the Unapologetic Romance Readers' New Years 2018 Reading Challenge, for the category of: Young Adult Romance. For more info on this challenge, click here. 💙
I love weekends. You know why? They give me the perfect excuse to clean out my Kindle. I think I must have finished about eight books this weekend, and I feel so proud of myself. One of those books finished was NEVER NEVER. I've been on a Tarryn Fisher binge, because I really like her style and you never really know what you're going to get with one of her books. One of the last ones I read, THE OPPORTUNIST, even had an amnesia subplot like this one, so that was amusing but okay. I'm a sucker for a good amnesia plot. They're one of my favorite cracky tropes.
As I said, I like Tarryn Fisher, but I'm more ambivalent about Colleen Hoover. I like some of her darker books like TOO LATE and IT ENDS WITH US, but a lot of the other ones of hers I've read have really made me angry. I didn't see how two such very different authors could mesh together, but Tarryn lightened up her style and Hoover darkened it. I actually thought Hoover was Fisher, because Silas's POV was my favorite and I assumed that was because it was written by my favorite author of the two, but no. Maybe they were trying to imitate each other's styles? Anyway, they did manage to blend, so kudos to them, because I totally wasn't expecting that to happen.
The plot is weird, and kind of reminds me of those other "memory loss thrillers," like Memento, Paycheck, and Before I Go to Sleep, only this is told from a YA/NA perspective. Silas and Charlie both "wake up" in school not knowing who they are, where they are, or why they can't remember anything before their moment of dawning consciousness. When they glimpse one another and see how lost they are, they know that they aren't alone and that they must have a connection. They do. They're boyfriend and girlfriend.
As they form a wary partnership and start digging into the lives that don't even feel like their own, they discover some very disturbing revelations about themselves and their families. Legal trouble, cheating, violence, betrayal - it seems like their relationship wasn't just on the rocks, it was impaled on them, bleeding out treachery. But they also seemed to love each other, too, despite everything else, and it isn't really clear why they would want to cause each other so much pain if there was love. That's just one thing in a long list of things that they can't remember.
The book starts getting really creepy towards the end, with two particularly notable scenes that gave me chills, even if they were a teeny bit cliche. But right when things begin to pick up, the book ends on a wicked cliffhanger that occurs after one of the biggest revelations in the book. If NEVER NEVER feels short, it isn't your imagination; it's under 200 pages, and by the time you finish the book you don't really know anything more about the mystery behind these characters than you did at the beginning. It's incredibly frustrating to become that invested in the story with so little payoff.
NEVER NEVER isn't a bad book but it's definitely not one of my favorites. It's actually my least favorite Tarryn Fisher book I've read so far, although it's fine for a CoHo (I expect better from Fisher). I'm certainly not so wowed by what I read that I feel the urge to race out and purchase the sequel. There are too many other amnesia books that did it better and answered my questions better.
2.5 to 3 out of 5 stars