Never Ending

Never Ending
Age Range
13+
Release Date
March 11, 2014
ISBN
0385908091
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Shiv's best mate, her brother Declan, is dead. It's been all over the news. Consumed by grief and guilt, she agrees to become an inpatient at the Korsakoff Clinic. There she meets Mikey. Caron. The others. They share a similar torment. And there, subjected to the clinic's unconventional therapy, they must face what they can't bear to see. Shiv is flooded with flashbacks, nightmares, haunting visions of Declan on their last, fateful family vacation in Greece. And with memories of Nikos, the beautiful young man on the tour boat. It started there, with him, beside the glittering sea . . . the beginning of the end.

Editor review

1 review
Exploration of Grief
Overall rating
 
3.7
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
What I Liked:
Never Ending alternates between Shiv (short for Siobhan) in the present and her memories of the past. She’s dealing with her brother’s tragic death in Greece, which resulted in a total media circus. Bedford does the whole thing where the truth of what happens unfolds really slowly, so you don’t find out precisely how his death happened until near the end. When the novel opens, Shiv’s dad is driving her to a special sixty day psychiatric treatment course, because she’s not been coping after her brother Declan’s death. She’s been really destructive and unhealthy since then, overwhelmed by grief and guilt.

The Korsakoff Clinic only has six teens for the session, and it’s very targeted at teens who aren’t coping well and who feel guilty for the death of their loved one. I do really wonder how this clinic functions and if it’s a really expensive option for rich people, but whatever. The treatment they undergo there is really interesting, and also horrifically painful. The reactions to each thing vary from person to person, and I just find mental health really fascinating. It’s heartbreaking to watch Shiv go through all of this.

Everything that happens is very much from Shiv’s perspective. Like, it’s third person limited, but more than that Shiv is just so much in her own head at this point. Even as she befriends some other people at the clinic, she’s not really trying to understand them on a deep level. She’s too mired in her own life. Her progress feels very natural, with all the setbacks and difficulties along the way. I’m also just thrilled the book didn’t take a paranormal turn or make anything more melodramatic than it needed to be. There’s no demonization of psychiatrists either.

What really charmed me about Never Ending though were the flashbacks with Shiv’s family. When the reader meets her, she’s a shadow of who she once was. In the flashbacks, she’s this normal teenage girl, hoping for a romantic adventure on her holiday to Greece. Her family has this amazing connection and she’s truly best friends with Declan, who is actually amazing. The family has so many inside jokes and banters delightfully. It’s in comparing what was to what now is that the pain really got me in the heart.

What Left Me Wanting More:
Hmmm, mostly I just feel like this could have gotten me in the heart a bit more, though I'm not sure what precisely was missing.

The Final Verdict:
While the story arc isn’t particularly surprising, Never Ending is a thoughtful look at death and survivor guilt. It’s a dark but beautiful story, recommended for readers who enjoy contemporaries that hurt the heart.
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