Review: Never Ending by Martyn Bedford

I received this book for free from YA Books Central in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Never Ending by Martyn BedfordNever Ending by Martyn Bedford
Published by Wendy Lamb Books on March 11, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: YA Books Central
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three-half-stars

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.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a little skeptical when there’s a YA book by a major publisher I’ve not heard of. Like, intellectually, I know that it’s a problem with the publisher’s marketing, but some of me really feels like the book’s not getting any attention so it’s probably terrible. That gut feeling is really hard for me to kick, and it totally had me side-eying Never Ending in my pile. My point is that I am glad I do not let this stupid, herd-following instinct drive me, because I would have missed out on a good book. Never Ending is a dark look at dealing with feelings of guilt following the death of a loved one.

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.

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.

Favorite Quote:

“Dec, that bread is for all of us,” Dad said. “And don’t swear at your mother.”

“Am I allowed to swear at you, then?”

“I’d be surprised and disappointed if you didn’t.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif coldplay nobody said it was easy

One response to “Review: Never Ending by Martyn Bedford”

  1. I have this one on my TBR stack right now but I’ve been hesitant to pick it up. I’m glad you enjoyed it, and it’s great to see another blog feature it. I know exactly what you mean about the publisher not really marketing their books. With the amount of books that flood the marketplace each month it only seems fair that the publisher would give that book/author at least some publicity to help boost it’s sales.
    But I digress, it sounds pretty good and your review has me wanting to bump it up my stack a bit.
    Michelle @ In Libris Veritas recently posted…Review: Dead Spots by Rhiannon FraterMy Profile

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