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The Never List

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  12,398 ratings  ·  1,744 reviews
The most relentless, deeply disturbing thriller writer since Jeffery Deaver and Gillian Flynn

For years, best friends Sarah and Jennifer kept what they called the “Never List”: a list of actions to be avoided, for safety’s sake, at all costs. But one night, against their best instincts, they accept a cab ride with grave, everlasting consequences. For the next three years, t
Hardcover, 303 pages
Published July 16th 2013 by Pamela Dorman Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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Leslie Fisher No. 12 is too young for this book. I'm 39 and I'm going to be haunted by this book. I would wait until over 17 for this one.…moreNo. 12 is too young for this book. I'm 39 and I'm going to be haunted by this book. I would wait until over 17 for this one.(less)

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Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,398 ratings  ·  1,744 reviews

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Alisha Marie
I'm just gonna come out and say it: For the love of all that is good and holy, can we please STOP comparing every single psychological thriller that has come out recently to Gone Girl?! It's starting to get really annoying. Especially to me since I found Gone Girl to be just okay. And considering that every book I've read that has had that particular disclaimer in it has also been just okay, I'm starting to view it as the kiss of death...just sayin'.

Here's the thing about The Never sta
Clumsy Storyteller
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
the book was Ok ! i liked the end of the story ( i had to skip so many pages to get to it ) that was unexpected turn of events , there was some boring scenes i felt like nothing was really happening !! i had really hard time finishing this one

the book is about two girls Sarah and Jennifer who made '' The Never List" a list of things they would never do to avoid puting their lives at risk till "Jack Derber" who abducted and tortured them day after day for years , the first part was all about kid
May 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
This novel has a plot that won't quit. Ever. Just when you think things are wrapping up, something else goes wrong, and the storyline zips off in a new direction. To me, The Never List read more like an outline for an action movie than a complete novel. Characters and plot points are fast moving but not very fleshed out, there are deus ex machinas every few chapters, and new characters are introduced and thrown away so fast I started to forget even the ones who had been there the whole time.

Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Childhood friends Sarah and Jennifer have lived their lives by a strict set of rules which they created from when they were younger. Now college students they still stick to their rules which they call The Never List. The items on the list would remind them of certain things that that they should never do which would always keep them safe. But one night after attending a party their lives would change forever.

Sarah and Jennifer are kidnapped by a sadistic psychopath named, Jack. They are taken t
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
When I was in 6th grade I wrote a paper on medieval torture, I have no idea why I chose the topic as I was always a happy, nonviolent kid. Perhaps, it was because The Man in the Iron Mask starring Leonardo DeCaprio had just come out, still the intrigue held. I feel sick even admitting my interest in the subject, but I still find it eye-rising to this day; although now I think it is more of a psychological stand point -- what would posses someone to torture another human being? The thought repuls ...more
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
My View:
The novel was not as “dark” as I expected, in fact after reading the back cover info I almost decided against reading this book, I thought it would be too gruesome and horrific for my taste. However as in all good psychological thrillers the tension and drama is created by what is not said, but what is alluded to or made reference to, and Zan uses this method to good effect.

The introduction to this novel provided the hook to claim my attention and get me reading at a cracking pace. Howe
ally  ¯\(ツ)/¯
Dec 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book was unbelievable, and not in a good way. This book to me had zero redeeming qualities. It was not a "Thriller". The author spoon fed you the entire story. Awful Fiction Crime Memoir is a more fitting category.
The main character, Sarah, makes a "Never List" with her friend Jennifer. Then breaks every imaginable Golden Rule in the book and gets kidnapped. Then breaks every rule again and gets kidnapped. Then breaks every rule again and gets locked in a house. She's far to irrational to b
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Firstly - can we stop saying books are "the next Gone Girl" it's getting tiring. This one is certainly not on par with Gone Girl at all. I read it over a few hours on a long coach trip, it kept me interested enough to keep going but I felt it lacked substance.

Due to reviews I had expected it to be scary, shocking, horrifying even. Maybe I'm a hardened crime/ thriller reader but nothing in this novel shocked me, or disturbed me (disappointed about that)

The plot starts to get a bit unbelievable af
Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen
**** 4 Torturous Stars ****

I'm on a streak of reading some pretty messed up Psychological Thrillers and I had to pick this one up and take a ride!

The book was overall very good - but not fantastic and a "must keep reading" to find out what happens next.....until the end. 

I loved the story premise and it did take the reader on a journey through rough terrain never detouring through smooth roads.

I liked how the author flip-flopped back to the past within the present story as flashbacks instea
William Lawrence
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I burned through The Never List. I didn't want reviews, author bio, or any other comparisons to effect my genuine experience of reading this book, so I shut it all out and went through with the five stars. It could've been a four star, may really be a 4.5 stars, but I gave it a 5 because it was a gripping, fast read, and A LOT of books just don't do that for me. Do I care much about Zan's Yale education or her MTV background? No, I could care less, though I honestly might not have read it if I h ...more
The Book Maven
In the light of recent news events, the timing ofThe Never List’s release is a little unnerving, to say the least.

Currently, it’s the horror story of the year: On May 6, 2013, people heard screams coming from a house located in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland. They managed to free one female, who then called the police. After the police came, they freed two more females and a child. It turns out that the adult females had been kidnapped in 2002, 2003, and 2004, and had been in captivity ev
Feb 19, 2014 rated it did not like it
Don't quite know why there is so much positive, elative hype to The Never List. Zan's writing is quite juvenile and amateur; so "trying too hard" that I found it severly difficult to take her narrative seriously without rolling my eyes every other page. The characterizations are nowhere near as feministically empowering as you would hope for such disturbing subject matter. The dialogue and Sarah's thought sternography are - especially for the first half of the book - superficial and lifeless at ...more
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-books
3.5 stars!
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here:

It’s been 10 years since Caroline (now Sarah) escaped from Jack Derber’s basement of horrors, where she spent 3 years. She’s gotten her degree and is now ensconced in her tidy little New York City apartment, where she can order in, and the doorman, Bob, screens for any unwanted visitors. Plus, there are lots of people in New York, lots of people to hear you scream. A wrench is about to be thrown into her little construct o
Patrice Hoffman
Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
*Won through a Goodreads Giveaway*

I have finished The Never List by Koethi Zan and I have to admit it was quite a rollercoaster ride. Sarah begins to tell us readers about her past and how ironic it was that someone such as herself and her best friend Jennifer were forced into a cellar for 3 years, 13 years earlier. What prompts her to tell her story is because Jack Derber, the man who abducted them, is up for parole. She's received letters from him over the years but with urgency of his possibl
Sharon Bolton
Feb 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
‘There were four of us down there for the first thirty two months and eleven days of our captivity.’

Thirteen years before this story begins, Sarah was confined in a cellar, the prisoner of Jack Derber, a sociopathic sadist, who exerted absolute control over his four victims, starving and torturing them relentlessly. One of them, Sarah’s best friend Jennifer, disappeared.

When Derber comes up for parole, Sarah knows she has to act. She has to find Jennifer’s body and prove that Derber was not ju
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Although they had made detailed lists and took every precaution imaginable to avoid getting in harm’s way, Sarah and her best friend Jennifer were kidnapped when they went away to college and were held in a cellar as slaves for three years with two other girls. Four were kept prisoner – three made it out alive.

Fast forward 10 years to their abductor’s probation hearing. Sarah thinks it will be impossible for her to even participate, but she has no idea how many demons from her past she will act
The Never List is a debut novel and unfortunately suffers from this, as despite its promising beginning, the story’s full potential is never quite reached. The horror is kept just enough out of sight – more implied than blatant – to make parts genuinely frightening, but something about the writing tones down the terror, and the result is tamer reading than would be expected from the content. The awkward first-person narration detracts from the overall atmosphere, and I found myself underwhelmed ...more
3.5 stars

This one hit me deep. Even though it wasn't descriptive with the abuse and rape, it still was a difficult book to read. The ending makes it seem like there will be a sequel and I hope there is!
Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-thriller
An apt title for this tale of desolate happenings, two friends had made a list of things, the never list, they had looked at every possibility of things going wrong, paranoia and insecurity that extra mile, they overlooked one important rule of all.
Never get in the car.
They had thought fate did not come into the scheme of things and looked at every possibility of an evil and dark end, except one.
Many years later the main protagonist is still living though her days of being gone and harmed, she h
Aug 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: suspense
A quick, but suspenseful read. I thought the characters was unrealistic, and could not really identify with any of them. The story was interesting though, and I did not expect the twist at the end.
The Story: There were four of us down there for the first thirty-two months and eleven days of our captivity. And then, very suddenly and without warning, there were three. Even though the fourth person hadn't made any noise at all in several months, the room got very quiet when she was gone. For a lo
Jul 12, 2013 rated it liked it
The Never List by Koethi Zan. Eerily Similar to Ohio Kidnapping Case? Never get in a car with a stranger. Never ignore your instincts. And, never leave your friends behind. The events that take place in The Never List will undoubtedly hit a nerve because they make use of the deep dark monsters that haunt most females worst nightmares. Conjured from waking fears, this dark horror mystery comes full circle leaving everyone, including the characters, wondering how they got back to the very place th ...more
May 19, 2013 rated it liked it
To be completely honest, I am still somewhat divided on how to feel about this book. From the very beginning it is quite attention grabbing and easy to get involved in. At first I thought the subject matter might be a bit too dark for my liking, but although there were some pretty emotional images brought about by this novel, the writing was kept pretty clean and it wasn't at all what I had feared it might be.

There were parts of this story where I felt that the characters were taking logical ste
Aug 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
Well I was roped in by the "like Gone Girl but even more disturbing" hype. I suppose I should've known better. An attention grabbing first page, then it sort of goes nowhere. This book has "first time author" written all over it. I've read far worse, but this book is just not very accomplished.

My main problem is that the very dark subject matter is grafted onto a chatty first person narrative style better suited to chick lit, and it just doesn't work. For example, in chapter 9, we are cheerily i
Pam Foster
Aug 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2013
I began this book shortly after watching the sentencing of Ariel Castro, the Ohio kidnapper who kept three girls in his home for a decade. The similarity was spooky. But our kidnapper, Jack Derber, got a comparatively light sentence and is now up for parole.
A bit absurd, unbelieveable. But so are the actions of the main character, Sarah, who was one of the victims held in the basement for three years, starved, tortured physically and mentally. It is ten years after her ordeal, she is living a
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Superb Shorter Suspense Novel

This relatively short debut novel keeps up a steady suspenseful pace with a well-constructed plot, dramatizing wickedly the psyche of female survivors of long-term degrading captivity by a psychopathic rapist. The ramifications of the abuse on the friendship between 2 of the captives were played out well with an unexpected twist.

No Shit! The Maggots in Society's Manure

The novel shows the great promise of bigger and better stories from Koethi Zan, who grew up about 2
Sean Peters
Feb 24, 2014 rated it really liked it

So different from the books I have read recently. This is a slow burning pschological thriller, with three strong female characters, especially the lead Sarah.

Disturbing, chilling, with the story taking you all over the states in America.

Different from any other thrillers I have read previously, the closest author I can think of is SJ Bolton.

Keeps you guessing all the way to the last few pages.

Look forward to tonight when Koenthi Zan answers questions hopefully two of mine.

Sabrina Grafenberger
The first 90% are okay, the last 10% are just absurd.

If you want a thriller that feels realistic, this book isn't for you. It's full of so many ridiculous surprises and twists at the end that I found myself constantly shaking my head because I couldn't believe that so many things were happening at once. I had the feeling that Koethi Zan had many good ideas and didn't know which one to put into this book, so she just threw them all in.

I also wish The Never List would've shown more of the three ye
Amir at NotSoLiterary
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review is also available at The Not-So-Literary Heiresses

4.5 Stars

I got roped into watching Hostel when it was out a few years back. See, as much as I love the horror genre, I remember being absolutely disgusted with that movie. I just cannot stand the slow torture of individuals. Give me a slasher film or a movie about a ghost girl with long creepy hair any day. This book reminded me a little bit of that movie but better; I think because it was not the book's intention to shock and disgust
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When Koethi Zan was born in the sleepy farming town of Opp, Alabama, the “City of Opportunity,” her mother was Valedictorian of the local public high school and her father the star of its football team. Her parents named her after the homecoming queen of Lurleen B. Wallace Junior College, perhaps hopeful that some of that glory would rub off on her.
But Koethi would never be a homecoming queen. I

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