I won this book on a GoodReads Giveaway, and, since I'd read and loved Steven's debut novel, Still Missing, waited the few weeks anxiously until the package arrived. It was so worth the wait.
Stevens again uses the conceit of a therapy patient's one sided conversation with her psychiatrist. As a psychotherapist myself, I rather enjoyed hearing the "other side". But I do question whether it was wise for Stevens to use this technique a second time. That said, however, I thought that the author really expressed an adoptive child's (now adult) ambivalance in wanting to search for her birth parents yet being afraid of hurting her adoptive family and also concerned (justifiably as it turns out) with how she will handle what she discovers.
In Never Knowing, Sara does indeed track down her mother and the reception is as disasterous as any worst case scenario could dream up. Not only does Sara's birth mother, Julia, not want to reunite, she appears deathly afraid. Not understanding the rather extreme reaction, Sara hires a PI and uncovers the horrible truth of her conception: the vicious rape of her birth mother by an infamous--and still at large--serial killer.
Guess who finds out Sara has been looking for her parents?
Never Knowing is a nerve wracking psychological thriller that doesn't quit. While it's true, as other readers have noted, that Sara is a neurotic, whiny mess, my opinion is "why wouldn't she be?" Despite that, she is a survivor and one that proves a more than adequate adversary to her pathological, serial killer/rapist father.
Overall, I believe this is an outstanding sophmore novel and I look forward to more from Chevy Stevens. I highly recommend Never Knowing.