While this novel was good—some may even call it great—I couldn’t help but feel like this was a repeat performance of Still Missing. Had I not just read Ms. Stevens’s debut novel a couple months prior, I might have developed an entirely different opinion on the matter. The first time out the unique structure captured my attention and had me flipping pages faster than a sugar addict working his way through a dozen doughnuts, but this time the polish had worn off, and while I still devoured NEVER KNOWING, I flipped the pages with less enthusiasm.
The first half of the story, while certainly good, needed an adrenaline injection. Sure, the character and story development proved entertaining, but this is supposed to be a thriller. And when it comes to page-turners, I want to dangle on the edge of a cliff by my fingernails while a dog is nipping at the tips and a psycho serial killer points a revolver at my shaking corpse. The suspense and adrenaline came, but by then I had already pondered the existence of the universe more than once.
Sara Gallagher, though, proved to be an intriguing character, and one I understood a bit too well. Taking the world’s problems on her shoulders, she blames herself for anything remiss, prefers knowledge to a lack of awareness, and shoulders more problems than are hers to bear. Yeah, she may swallow the occasional white pill, but she has migraines, sister, along with a wedding to plan and a somewhat absentee fiancé who likes to play in the woods.
Even her relationships reminded me of my own. She had her first love Derek where she was head over heels and enamored and lost herself and ended up in what was ultimately an unhealthy relationship before she found Evan, her true love. This scenario resembled a bit too uncannily what I had faced before. At the time I had no real comparison for relationships and love and clinging to someone so tightly and losing myself so completely that I almost became two different people: one when I was with her and one when I wasn’t. Once I was in, though, I ended up so far inside the threshold there was no easy way to get out, without one of us clinging to that cliff, so I did what made sense at the time: I expunged myself from the situation.
Not being able to fix that relationship or somehow make it work, despite analyzing it from every angle, bothered me a whole hell of a lot more than what my ex thought of me. In fact, I still feel like I failed the universe somehow. But I’ve come to terms with my problems without the aid of prescription medication just as I’ve come to terms with my misgivings of this novel.