Review: Never Fade Away

Oct 19, 2021 | Faves, Latest Reviews Old Format, Old Format Reviews

Never Fade Away by EL Esch book cover
Title:Never Fade Away
Author:EL Esch
Characters:Anno & Vincent
Published:October 20, 2021
Theme/TropeSecond Chances, rock stars, illness, depression


Vincent has been diagnosed with stomach cancer, and has been told he has only about 5 years or so to live.  Coming to terms with his diagnosis has taken everything out of him, and he has come to the conclusion that it’s better to go out on his own terms, now, rather than waiting for his disease to progress, get steadily worse and snuff out his life slowly. As he’s standing in a dingy alleyway after a rock concert, holding a gun, he gets literally knocked into by someone.  And it turns out that someone is the lead singer of the band he just saw perform, and is an international rock star.

What follows is a tender,  sometimes heart-wrenching story.  Anno is dealing with his own trauma, after losing someone close to him.  And the guilt he carries around the loss of his friend leads him to try and “save” Vincent from himself.    But Vincent, intuitively, knows that what Anno is doing isn’t entirely about HIM, but also has a lot to do with Anno’s past.

Their journey to a happy ending isn’t easy for either one of them. 

Trying to put myself in either character’s shoes was a really interesting experience.  How would I deal with it if I had a terminal diagnosis, but had 5 years left to live?  The urge to give up would be unbearably strong.    And, alternatively, how would I react if I met and formed a strong connection to someone who only had a set amount of time left?  Would I take a chance, and take what time I could get, even knowing it would end in heartbreak?  Or would I protect my heart and retreat?

Never Fade Away is unlike any other book I’ve read, and it’s one that really made me think and feel. I had to fight with myself SO hard not to skip to the end of the book just to make sure it had a happy ending… But it was really worth waiting, and going through the journey with these two unforgettable characters.  I loved Never Fade Away, and I look forward to reading more of EL Esch’s work!