Meet Chloe Sevre. Chloe is a freshman at John Adams University in Washington D.C. Just like any other new college student, she lives in leggings and is having fun meeting new people and going to frat parties. She has straight As and a very high IQ. The only difference between Chloe and others in the freshman class is Chloe is a certified psychopath and has the diagnosis to prove it. Her primary focus is Will Bachman, a Junior at Adams, who wronged Chloe when she was 12 years old. She has set the date of October 23rd to exact revenge, meaning he has 60 days to live. Chloe is about to encounter a far more pressing problem, however. Before she can murder Will Bachman, she finds out that two students in her psychopath program have been murdered and she might be next on the list.
What is a psychopath program? John Adams University has handed out free college scholarships to seven students with a firm diagnosis of psychopathy as a reward to study their habits. Their participation is confidential, as is the identity of the other students in the program. In return, they are required to wear coded smart watches and keep mood logs to track their emotions and whereabouts. What could go wrong?
Much like the 1989 movie, Heathers, Never Saw Me Coming is a very dark novel with similar themes to the movie;lies, secrets, schemes, and no empathy. The entire book felt like a ticking time bomb with very smart narrators; none of whom trust each other because they are all psychopaths. The book is told from multiple perspectives, though the primary narrator is Chloe. There is also Terrible Charles, a senior in the same frat as the notorious Will Bachman, who aspires to be a politician and is also a psychopath. Andre is a freshman and also part of the program and he is holding a big secret. Dr. Wyman and doctoral candidate Elena Torres, head the program, though they don’t have a voice in the book.
Never Saw Me Coming hits that perfect balance of dark humor, mystery, and characters that surprise you at every turn. Surprisingly emotional, I found all the characters very compelling and addictive. The premise of the novel, Chloe exacting revenge on Will, is wild and feels compulsive but the reader finds themself rooting for her in a strange twist of loyalty. All the characters are so smart and actually likable, with one or two exceptions, though you are reminded frequently that they are psychopaths by the choices they make. The conclusion feels satisfying but not perfect. Very Much like the entire novel; So satisfying but so many flawed characters.