Sometimes terrible things can happen to someone no matter how many safety precautions he or she takes. In Koethi Zan’s at-times gripping The Never List, Sarah and Jennifer are two best friends intent on living their lives as safely as possible, always noting the nearest exit and carrying pepper spray. One day, they are both kidnapped despite their cautious ways. Sarah spends the next few years with two other girls, Christine and Tracey, in the kidnapper’s dangerous hands. Jennifer has a far different fate.
Zan weaves her narrative between following the girls as they try to survive in the dungeon and alternately, as women, trying to make lives for themselves. As the kidnapper continues to communicate with them from prison, the women desperately attempt to stop him from getting out on parole. This means going back to a place that they were hoping never to relive both mentally and physically.
The Never List can be a terrifying read, and I found my heart beating wildly in quite a few spots. The supporting characters are all interesting and seamlessly ingrained into the story. What keeps it from getting a 5, or even a 4, are the last few chapters, which I found completely outlandish and unbelievable (not in a good way). However, read The Never List with the lights on, for it has some parts that will definitely keep you up at night.