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They Never Learn

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Scarlett Clark is an exceptional English professor. But she’s even better at getting away with murder.

Every year, she searches for the worst man at Gorman University and plots his well-deserved demise. Thanks to her meticulous planning, she’s avoided drawing attention to herself—but as she’s preparing for her biggest kill yet, the school starts probing into the growing body count on campus. Determined to keep her enemies close, Scarlett insinuates herself into the investigation and charms the woman in charge, Dr. Mina Pierce. Everything’s going according to her master plan… until she loses control with her latest victim, putting her secret life at risk of exposure.

Meanwhile, Gorman student Carly Schiller is just trying to survive her freshman year. Finally free of her emotionally abusive father, all Carly wants is to focus on her studies and fade into the background. Her new roommate has other ideas. Allison Hadley is cool and confident—everything Carly wishes she could be—and the two girls quickly form an intense friendship. So when Allison is sexually assaulted at a party, Carly becomes obsessed with making the attacker pay... and turning her fantasies about revenge into a reality.

378 pages, Hardcover

First published October 13, 2020

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About the author

Layne Fargo

5 books1,180 followers
Layne Fargo writes dark, dramatic stories that support women’s rights—and also women’s wrongs. She’s the author of the novels THEY NEVER LEARN and TEMPER, co-author of the #1 bestselling Audible Original series YOUNG RICH WIDOWS, and co-creator of the UNLIKEABLE FEMALE CHARACTERS podcast on Lit Hub Radio.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Layne worked as a dramaturg, a librarian, and a knowledge manager, and she still loves going down a good research rabbit hole. She lives in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago with a rescue pit bull and cat who are best friends, the only man she never wants to murder (well, almost never), and way too many books.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,570 reviews
Profile Image for Kat.
270 reviews80k followers
July 20, 2021
calling all “good for her” cinematic universe fans, this one’s for you babes!!!
Profile Image for Larry.
76 reviews8,738 followers
October 14, 2021
So, I have been convinced to “correct” my review of this book by Kat. Seems I failed to understand the true genius of this story, and I would like remain part of the family…

Really liked this book, another case of wanting to give 3.5 star rating. Though I did guess the balance of the story about 20% of the way into it, I still enjoyed the writing style and was invested until the end. A vigilante professor, with a noble cause - who knows, might make a great, binge-worthy streaming series?
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews116k followers
May 16, 2022
I think people who enjoyed the movie Promising Young Woman would also enjoy this book. I can see how the story would be cathartic for those looking to read about a woman killing a bunch of dudes who deserve it. I hate men as much as the next gal, but I personally need more depth from radical feminist stories other than “let’s kill men cuz they suck go girl power!” Vigilante justice can be fun, but I would have liked more nuance with discussing gender dynamics, rape culture, and seen the main character challenged more for a rewarding and thoughtful story.
Profile Image for Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill.
572 reviews618 followers
July 9, 2020
Holy crap...what in the actual hell did I just read? No, really?! WOW. This was a page turner that is for sure! If you like edgy, dark and twisted with a bit of snarky humor- here you go!

Scarlett is a killer. In fact she has been killing for the past 16 years. She has it down to a science. She has never been questioned and certainly never caught. What the heck is her secret? Okay guys Scarlett only picks dudes that deserve it...well in her mind. Vigilante or sociopath? I am going to go with sociopath. As the rage builds in her year after year, she picks her "victim" out, she plans, stalks them and then goes in for the kill. Then wipes her hands clean and is off to teach English. I must admit this woman scares me a little...

We also follow along in the life Carly Schiller a student at Gorman. Carly becomes a bit obsessed with her roommate Allie. Her obsession leads her into a world that can't be unseen. A tangled web is woven- I will just leave it right there as not to spoil it for you.

I loved the dark, twisted plot. However wrong it was, it actually made me laugh a couple times because Scarlett had some snarky thoughts that were just fantastic. Will her luck run out after 16 years of killing? To quote the killer herself- she has spent 16 years murdering men and she is not about to get sloppy now! You go Scarlett! I think...

Thank you so much to Gallery/Scout Press for this ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,308 reviews44k followers
December 9, 2021
Well, this is How to Get Away with murder meets Unbelievable waltz with a little “13 reasons why” and we have kickass punisher/vigilante/ #metoo movement follower English professor Scarlett Clark: reminds us of Black Widow (she didn’t get married but the men should beware! Because she is ready to bring justice to the bullies, rapists, stalkers, weirdos!), a good kind of serial-punisher! Don’t worry, she doesn’t choose students to commit murders for her like Annalise Keating had done and help them to get away with it. She works alone and she chooses the real scumbags, the worst predators at her list.

She’s committing these cold blooded murders for years and she really knows how not to get any attention and how to misguide the law officers: Never leaves a trace, DNA any clue, distorting the crime scenes and deceives the officers the nature of murders.

Now she is working at the Gorman University and she already punished a rapist student by poisoning him and made the entire people think he killed himself. Now she is focused on her big prize: Professor Alex Kinnear, his pretentious nemesis, womanizer, cheater, stealing his colleagues’ longtime works and getting credit from them. But she’s in trouble because Dr. Mina Pierce, ex-wife of Alex starts her own investigation because she finds the suicide patterns at the campus so suspicious and she works on a list consisted of Scarlett’s most of the victims. Could she find any clue directly point at her?

In the meantime, we’re introduced the second narrator: Carly Schiller, 18 years old, introvert, quirky, having problems with her dysfunctional family, hating her cheater dad, trying to keep her head above the water throughout her freshman year. She also attends Alex’s classes who encourages her creative writing and shows her friendly attention. Carly’s decision to lay low and live in the shadows changes when she find out her roommate Allison she had a long time crush was sexually assaulted at the party. Now it’s time for her sharpen her nails, clenching her fists and seeing red. She wants justice. Could the silent and shy girl turn into a mean avenger to help her roommate?

In the middle of the book, there is a twist I saw it at the beginning but it is still good one. The way of the narrators’ stories’ interception is also well written, smart and satisfying. This book is about brave women who deserve better life and who fight for taking the control of her their destiny. Even though most of the characters seem like vicious, violent and having sociopathic tendencies, you find yourself chant for their cause because it could happen to you! It could happen to your best friend, your own child and any other woman whose lives were ruined by the lack of evidence and common hypocrisy at the justice system.

Overall: Even though all the women characters at the book were a little terrifying and the method of their justice was a little argumentative, it was fast pacing, smart, entertaining , thought provoking reading with lovely queer representation. I’m giving my 4 brave, moving, riveting stars and looking forward to read more works of Layne Fargo! I couldn’t put this book down all night long!

Special thanks to NetGalley and Gallery/Scout Press for sharing this unputdownable ARC with me in exchange my honest review.

Profile Image for Gabby.
1,304 reviews27.9k followers
October 17, 2020
Holy shit I loved this. This book screams 'I Did Something Bad' by Taylor Swift, I've never read a book that gives off the same exact vibes of that song until I read this book. The writing is absolutely captivating and I loved the characters too.

I think it's best to go into this book knowing little to nothing, as I did but if you need to know more, here's a general description of what this book is about: we follow a woman named Scarlett, who is an English professor at a college, and she's also a serial killer. She tracks down bad men who have done awful things and makes them pay. Meanwhile, we also follow Carly who is a freshman at the same college and she's slowly developing feelings for her roommate Allison. There was such a good plot twist halfway through the book that shocked me so much, I didn't see it coming at all. To make this book even better, there are many queer characters in this book as well, and I absolutely love seeing that representation in this genre.

I absolutely loved Scarlett and Carly as characters, and I just had the best time reading this book. I've seen some people comparing this book to the show Killing Eve, which I can definitely see. I don't know if this would be considered dark academia or not but it all takes place on a college campus and has the best dark/sinister vibes, so I would say yes? I really loved this one, even more than I expected to. Scarlett is the baddest bitch and I LOVED reading about her.

Btw, I pictured Katie Siegel from Haunting of Hill House as Scarlett while I was reading this and that made my experience a thousand times better.

Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,199 reviews3,044 followers
October 13, 2020
Scarlett Clark, a Gorman University English professor, is good at everything she does. Cool, confident, planning everything down to the letter, rarely a misstep, there is nothing that she can't do, when she puts her mind to it. That includes murdering men who she deems deserving of a well planned and fitting death. She's killed many men over the years and she's planning her biggest and most personal kill of all just as her school is looking into all the suicides that have taken place over the years. Suicides that weren't really suicides but instead, some of Scarlett's handiwork, as she cleans up the world, ridding it of men who prey on women.

We also meet Gorman freshman Carly Schiller, finally getting to leave home and get away from her emotionally abusive father. Carly is introverted, mousy, shy, and she's been assigned a room with popular, outgoing Allison Hadley. When Carly sees Allison being sexually assaulted while unconscious, Carly is determined to do something about it, despite the school officials brushing off the incident. Carly's sense of justice brings out the worst (or maybe the best) in her, as she takes matters into her own hands.

At about halfway into the book, these two stories merge and we begin to understand more how Scarlett and Carly make their mark on the campus. If only the men of Gorman knew that women were avenged, behind the scenes, they would be on their best behavior. Not much gets past Scarlett and Carly in this wickedly clever novel. 

Publication date: October 13, 2020

Thank you to Gallery Books/Scout Press and NetGalley for this ARC. 
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
May 26, 2021
this book went by so incredibly fast - i feel like it ended just minutes after i started. i read it one sitting as its the kind of story that glues your eyes to the page.

every single character in this has something seriously wrong with them. theyre like a total car wreck - terrible, but you just cant look away from what they are doing, fascinated in horror. youre sympathetic to their situations, even. and it makes the story that much more compelling.

with super fast pacing, devourable writing, messed up characters, and a dark academia setting that fits the tone perfectly, this is definitely one to pick up.

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Giorgia Reads.
1,018 reviews2,086 followers
September 23, 2021
3 stars

We get it. It’s a radical feminist with a revenge plot meets American Psycho - take on psychological thrillers, if the author screamed it in my face it would have been less obvious.

The book had so much potential but ended up being an average read. Cliché really, and so on the nose with the men are trash rhetoric.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love feminist, bad bitch, confident intelligent women and their stories (the whole murder side of things notwithstanding) but I also like finesse and subtlety and the elegance that comes from introducing those two things into any piece of writing. The way this was written really dispelled any sense of trepidation or the suspense I would have expected in such a book. I didn’t feel the tense and ominous vibes which were to be expected from this.

There wasn’t at least one decent male character apart from the gay couple, because of course being gay automatically excludes you from being a misogynist. (That’s the kind of logic that goes hand in hand with - I have a POC neighbour, so I can’t be racist) Also, the only healthy relationship a woman or man can find is again with a another woman or respectively man. I get that this book is very much about gender, but playing on stereotypes and overused TikTok sound bites really isn’t the way to go.

I’m not really complaining about there not being at least one decent man in the story, I mean that was kinda the whole point - to show that there isn’t just one type of predator, every man can be one because of how they grew to think about and relate to women. Seeking validation by taking advantage (Alex), straight up taking without disguise (Tyler and Bash) or feeling entitled to us just because (Wes) - that being said, I think this absolute take didn’t do the book any favours.

Scarlett’s character didn’t have as much depth as we were led to think it did. I would have wanted to explore her dark urges more. I found it an inconsistency the way she was portrayed to have “snapped” and that’s what led to her discovering she had a taste for “tit for tat” murderous justice. I felt like the author couldn’t decide if she was a woman who snapped or if she was a serial killer who needed the kill and her vigilante justice was a two for one deal - get rid of the bad guys and take care of the bloodlust. The parts of Scarlett thinking she really craved the murder was confusing because that’s straight up psychopath and has nothing to do with men per se.

I knew the ending was gonna play out similarly to how it actually did, and that’s because if I were to explain it in movie terms - this wasn’t exactly an arthouse indie film but a new Netflix adaption (the title of the book provides its own tag line already) because Netflix knows how to capitalise on trends and social movements with commentary that is skin deep only - and such is the case with this book. It is a cliche and I wouldn’t have faulted it that much if it was tense, suspenseful and had me in knots turning the pages.

The good:

It had a few twists I didn’t predict.

The feminist approach and commentary (even if my whole review was spent complaining about it and was about as subtle as a rocket take off) was timely and it did make a few really good points.

The writing was ok, nothing to praise or complain about.

That’s about it I guess.
Profile Image for Meredith (Trying to catch up!).
815 reviews12.7k followers
July 7, 2020
“He wasn’t afraid of me…That was his first mistake.”

They Never Learn is a dark and devious psychological thriller about a female professor who murders men who have committed unspeakable acts of abuse against women.

Two women at Gorman University, one a student, the other a professor, are united in bringing down the perpetrators of sexual assault.

Carly is a shy and awkward, college freshman. She is scared to open up and let people know the real her. Struggling to fit in, while at the same time trying to navigate the dynamics of a new friendship, she finds herself in the dangerous and unsettling territory.

Scarlett is well-respected in her field, confident, and extremely intelligent. While others on campus remain silent about sexual assault and misconduct amongst students and faculty, Scarlett takes action and murders the men who are guilty of such crimes. Killing for her is an intense ritual that empowers, compels, and drives her. When someone starts to take a closer look at campus “suicides,” she begins to fear her crimes will be exposed.

Scarlett and Carly’s stories are very different, and it is not obvious how they relate until about halfway into the book. At a certain moment, their stories converge and all becomes clear. Chapters alternate between Scarlett's and Carly's perspectives. The reader knows early on who Scarlett is and what she does, but we don’t know what motivates her. Her story reveals what led her to this point. Carly is a mess, and her story feels messy. But all comes together in the end.

They Never Learn is a sharp, intense, and refreshing read. I loved Scarlett’s character. She is a killer, but it is easy to root for her. Her cold and calculating demeanor had me on edge. Watching how she usurps the power of those who have brutally taken the power of their victims was exhilarating. One should be horrified by Scarlett’s crimes, but given the acts her victims committed, watching them die was beyond satisfying.

“Killing a man is so much more satisfying than fucking a man could ever be.”

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Gallery Books in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,483 reviews79k followers
October 8, 2020
Hear ye, hear ye! This is my second novel by Layne Fargo and I think I've found a literary soul mate in her. It's so refreshing to find an author who isn't afraid to "go there", if you know what I mean. The premise behind They Never Learn is a modern classic; feminist serial killing told in a thrilling manner. The beauty of this story is that we know who is doing the killing at the beginning of the book, but we don't truly know what led her to it until the plot unravels in the second half. I think this move was BRILLIANT on Fargo's part; we still get all the chills and thrills associated with a creepy mystery, but the book isn't an automatic let down if you figure out the killer's identity early, because that factor is taken out of the equation. I don't want to say too much, but it takes awhile for us to figure out how Scarlett and Carly's paths are mingled together, and I loved seeing how everything unfolded. If you're looking for a novel that will have you wondering whether you relating to a serial killer makes you a psychopath as well, you've come to the right place.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
Profile Image for preoccupiedbybooks.
465 reviews1,118 followers
October 10, 2020
A dark and twisted psychological thriller, about two women who enjoy giving bad men what they deserve...

Scarlett is an English professor at Gormon University. She is also a serial killer, a vigilante doling out punishment to the rapists and the abusers of the world. Her life is fine, until the university starts looking into the er..large body count on campus! Anxious and enraged, she loses control with her latest victim and puts everything at risk.
Carly, a first year student at Gormon, begins an intense friendship with her enigmatic and confident roommate, Allison. When Allison is assaulted at a party, Carly wants the attacker to pay.

Wow, holy shit, I was rivetted to this book, and stayed up way too late to finish it! So much drama! So much fun! This was the feminist serial killer story, that I didn't know I needed!

Obviously there are trigger warnings for sexual assault in here, and all kinds of violence! So take care!

A fast paced book, with a dual POV, which worked really well, They Never Learn was brutal, shocking and gripping, but also had elements of snarky humour thrown in too! It was entertaining, clever and so well written. I could feel the rage radiating off the page, and raged myself at the injustices of young women being dismissed, victimised and failed by the system! Even though the murdering of men was obviously horrifying, and totally wrong, it was also quite satisfying to read about because those men were truly awful!

I'm not going to lie, Scarlett was a cold blooded sociopath, and she terrified me! I would not want to meet her in person AT ALL! Buuuut... I kinda liked her as a fictional character, and totally wanted her to get away with it! Some of the characters in TNL were very violent, vindictive and vicious, but I couldn't help rooting for them. In their own way, they were fighting for justice, for women who were assaulted and abused. Strong, and yet dangerous, I was half captivated, half horrified by them! There were also characters who I hated with every fibre of my being, may they rot in hell!

I half suspected the twist, but then was thrown off by some red herrings! When the twist happened I was like arrghh, I was right the first time, before you tricked me Layne Fargo!! Thrown off the scent, after being spot on, it didn't deter me from the story, as there were so many more twists to come!

There was also some great on page bisexual and gay representation!

Towards the end of They Never Learn, the plot and the characters got even more disturbing and unhinged, but I kind of went with the crazy, and then ultimately the ending felt satisfying for me!

I definitely need to get my hands on Layne Fargo's debut,Temper, and will be looking out for her next book with eager, grabby little hands! I would definitely recommend this for a wild, entertaining, and vengeful story, if you're in the mood for something disturbing, and yet exhilarating! 🔪☠️🔥☠️🔪 (4.5 Stars)

Available 13th October 2020!

Many thanks to Edelweiss and to Simon and Schuster for my DRC, in exchange for an honest review!
Well I just stayed up to almost midnight to finish this book, I'll be tired tomorrow, but I have no regrets!
Profile Image for Jayme.
1,190 reviews2,262 followers
October 11, 2020
I knew by the 10% point that this would be a 5 star book for me!

So, let's set the mood, so you can settle in for this "unputdownable" read!

First, pour yourself a glass of ruby colored wine...🍷

Then, get on YouTube and listen to the Karen Kamon song "Manhunt" from the classic 1983 film "Flashdance"-particularly the chorus...

(if you don't already have the words memorized, as I do....)😳

" I'm goin on a manhunt, turn it around
Women have been hunted, now they're huntin' around
Manhunt, we all got the need
The one that's been waitin' has taken the lead

I'm goin' on a manhunt-I'm out for a kill! "

Now, open your book, and meet Scarlett Clark, an exceptional English professor, with flaming red hair and an even more fiery temper!

Every year she selects the WORST man on Gorman campus and meticulously plans his demise.

Too bad, "They Never Learn" and keep repeating their mistakes!

This song could've been written for Scarlett-and, I loved her!❤️

But, she isn't the only one at Gorman who has had enough of the male species there.

When Carly Schiller's roommate, Allison is sexually assaulted at a party, she too, becomes obsessed with making someone pay. Although Scarlett's chapters were definitely my favorite, Carly's are engaging too.

The narratives alternate, the pace is fast, and the humor is snarky! (my favorite kind!)

But one woman, may have just gotten sloppy, putting her secret life at risk of exposure..

If you miss the HBO show-Dexter, or enjoyed "My Lovely Wife", Jane Doe (#1), Best Day Ever, or "The Other Mrs. Miller”- then this one is for you!!

A big Thank You to the publisher, Gallery/Scout Press for the digital ARC!
It was a pleasure to post a candid review!

Profile Image for Kelli Wilson.
519 reviews126 followers
March 6, 2023

A female vigilante serial killer. One who makes her own final justice on behalf of women that have been abused, assaulted and raped. She's gotten away with killing bad men for over a decade! Until now, as she makes a rash decision and comes as close as she's ever been to being caught.

Absolutely loved this revenge filled story with a strong confident female lead. It was compelling, intelligent and well written. The story telling was excellent and used 2 alternating POVs, which helped the author deliver a fabulous job of character development.

4.5 stars!

*Thank you to Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss+ for providing a digital review copy!
Profile Image for Arini.
857 reviews1,767 followers
May 21, 2021
“Killing a man is so much more satisfying than fucking a man could ever be.”

Why. You clearly haven’t been properly f*cked. I don’t know if I should pity you for that or applaud you for your proclivity to kill.

A feminist serial killer story?

Hmm, more like strike the feminist and replace it with misandrist. 👀 Granted my knowledge on these two concepts, terms, ideology or whatever is very limited, so it could be that I took this book the wrong way and was missing the point. But Idk . . .

I did not vibe with this book.

Scarlett is an English professor. She’s also a part time serial killer. Unfortunately, she might have to take a break or retire from that career path because the school (where she teaches, hunts, and kills) starts getting suspicious of the growing body count found on campus and opens up an investigation.

Then there’s Carly, who’s an awfully shy freshman student of the same university. She roomates with this cool chick Allison and overtime develops feelings for her. So when Allison is sexually assaulted at a party, Carly makes it her mission to be . . . obsessed with (the idea of) making the offender pay.

How do you think their stories will connect?

Women feeling empowered by bringing (bad) men down.

The mystery is that this book doesn’t have one.

Am I the only one who thinks that plot twist is not a plot twist at all? Cause like, well, duh! That’s so obvious.

Romanticized ending (??)

The writing, or whatever’s making the tension and thrill nonexistent.

When you’re listening to a thriller book on audio and still be able to multitask without feeling distracted by one or the other, that’s not a good sign. At least not in my case. This book went by me quickly and didn’t make me feel. I don’t think Scarlett was a badass. She didn’t make me want to understand and try to justify her behavior and root for her.

Bottom line,

That’s my impression on this book. Kinda icky. Didn’t dislike it but also not 100% sold.

(Read as an Audiobook)

Similar (Better) Recommendations:
The Kind Worth Killing
Jar of Hearts
Pretty Girls
The Swap
Profile Image for Irena BookDustMagic.
635 reviews572 followers
January 28, 2022
Actual rating: 3,5

They Never Learn was on my tbr for some time now and with all honesty, my expectations were high as skyscraper.

I loved the book at first, really enjoyed the main character(s) and the writing style that was so easy to follow and that read fast.
The book is written in first person so connecting with Scarlet or Carly was no problem, and, to me, the length of the chapters was plain perfect.

However, as the story was coming closer to the end, I started to disconnect from the characters and to me, the writer was too extreme with her feminism propaganda.
I get that there are awful men out there. Damn, I know it from first hand.
I get that the book is written from MC's POV, and her view on men is the one we get but still, not every single breathing man is the rapist, chauvinist, career stealer...
The author ruined one particular character for shock value, the other got punished because of main character's fear of men (and hatred for them), and I don't appreciate it.
As I said to my reading friends (this book was our book club pick for January), nothing good comes from too extreme points of view.

The ending was like the one from the cheap tv movie that aires on Monday afternoon, disappointing and cringey.

This novel had potential to be a 4 stars read for me, but the last three chapters + epilogue ruined it for me.
Especially the epilogue with boss babes that are so cool and very hypocritical. I mean, if a man did all those things Scarlett did, her love interest would run away as fast as she could.

Sorry, not sorry for my honesty. If you don't agree with me that is okay, we are all different here. I am open for discussions but rude comments that question my intelligence, or similar to those, will be deleted.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
266 reviews278 followers
June 1, 2022
“I’ll know it's working when he starts to scream."

Dr. Scarlett Clark is an English professor at Gorman University. Outside of the classroom, Dr. Clark methodically kills shitty men. She tracks them, and then kills them in a manner that won't attract any attention, seeing herself as a vigilante of justice in a world where men don't have to pay for the consequences of their actions. Also at Gorman University is Carly Schiller, an English student hoping to find her place during her freshman year. When her roommate's sexual assault is ignored by campus authorities, Carly decides to take matters into her own hands.

I couldn't put this book down, and I'm loathe to give anything away to avoid ruining your reading experience. The book is told in a dual perspective between the two women, who eventually have their paths intersect. There were times where I thought I had guessed what was going to happen and then it went on an entirely different path and left me wanting to read more. For me, the real horror was the way the men behaved and the scariest parts were the way the men would excuse and condone the behavior of other men, instead of securing the safety and wellbeing of the women in their lives.

The strong female characters kept me rooting for them, even when they were acting unethically. There's a #meetoo storyline that's done very well here. We all know of men who have behaved in this way, and sometimes I think Dr. Clark had the right idea. So, for all the women who have had to deal with shitty men, this one is for you.

Highly Recommend
September 28, 2023
Tysm to my OG Goodreads/IRL friend Karly for the bday present! You're the best 💗

Writing: 3/5 | Plot: 3.5/5 | Ending: ???


"I support women's rights, and women's wrongs."


Ya girl LOOOVESSS a revenge story – especially women giving creepos what they deserve, so I was super excited to read this. This book had all the right ingredients, but it was missing the basic seasonings tbh. It was entertaining though, and I'd definitely like to see it as a movie.

I felt like this book was all plots with zero thoughts and it lacked nuance. What I appreciated with My Dark Vanessa is how it demonstrated another shade of victimhood. Vanessa's inner struggle in palpable. She goes back and forth with feeling disgusted with her abuser to wanting to hold onto what's left of their twisted "relationship." In this case, everything is very black and white. Every man she comes across is a rapist in sheep's clothing (except for her gay colleague), and Scarlett never hesitates to strike them down. There's no inner turmoil about the fact that she's a serial killer. She never questions her decisions. The cases are very cut and dry (I don't even understand how she sussed some of them out tbh). Ultimately, I would've liked a deeper exploration of Scarlett's psyche.


The best example of this book lacking depth/nuance is her relationship with Jasper. THIS was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how Scarlett isn't the actual all-seeing, all-powerful, I'm always right woman she's portrayed to be. She's shebanging a stalker the entire time, and after his "true identity" is revealed, he's never mentioned again. You think the fact she was quite literally sleeping with the enemy would make her question her judgement, but nah, she goes right back to it without so much of a thought about Jasper.

Also, other than the brief mention of her father's (unspecified type of) abuser and his adultery, we have no clue why Carly went 0-100 and maintained that all-consuming hatred her entire life. Yes, we were told many times she never had friends and it was implied she was bullied but this had nothing to do with rapist men in particular. Then she literally loses the plot over her crush Allison getting r@ped but at the end says fuck Allison she's a loser anyways. So there's a good chunk of your motive gone.

Ok fair, Wes tried to make a move on her... but was it really worth pushing him off the roof? The only one who was worthy of a lil stabby stab was Kinnear... and she waited YEARS before doing something about him. It seems like she could've chalked it up to a bad semester and kept it moving – maybe get some therapy. Her career wasn't ruined and she didn't have any problems getting down and dirty with men or women, so where was the fire to keep at it coming from? I needed MORE from the author to really make me buy into Scarlett's all-consuming hate. If you told me Vanessa went on a killing spree, I wouldn't think twice about it. Mans destroyed her life. But Scarlett came out on top time and time again, so it just wasn't all there for me. Still, entertaining, but not on the level of MDV.



Pros: fun concept, entertaining

Cons: lacked nuance, not as profound as it sets out to be, ending was ????
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
June 29, 2022

If men could learn the error of their ways, I wouldn’t have to teach so many of them a lesson.

in the wake of the #metoo movement, the bookmarket has been flooded by nonfiction accounts written by survivors of sexual assault and empowerment fiction about girls fighting back against predatory men, with or without supernatural assistance. inevitably, with trend-surges like these, some of ‘em are great, some are trite, and some get lost or overlooked in the crowd because of reader-fatigue (on a not unrelated note: the literary community needs to come to terms with the fact that WWII has been amply covered and give it a rest for at least five years).

sobutanyway, what i’m saying is don’t overlook this one, because it’s a blast. sure, the message is unhealthy AF, with its ‘kill all the bad boys’ revenge attitude, but as a sink-into-it book about a sociopathic murderess on a mission, it’s fantastic—fast-flowing and gripping, full of intrigue and flawed characters.

bonus: i did not at all anticipate the seam where its two stories met, and it was delicious.

it was a rare-for-me-these-days single-day read, and i liked it even more than her debut, Temper. the two books share the same kind of pleasantly unexpected and somewhat unhinged endings, but in nearly every other way, they are complete opposites, particularly in matters of the sisterhood, and that’s all i can say about that here.

fargo’s on a roll, and i’m here with my grabby little hands for whatever she’s cooking up next.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Farrah.
221 reviews607 followers
November 14, 2020
⭐ 4 𝙏𝙚𝙖𝙘𝙝𝙚𝙧'𝙨 𝙋𝙚𝙩 𝙎𝙩𝙖𝙧𝙨! ⭐

Sometimes I see reviews where people say they are wary of books that are rated high but I find I'm the opposite way. When I see a lot of readers rave about a book, I get extra excited to try it. I figure 𝘚𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘯'𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘸𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘨, 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺?

That's what happened here. I put my trust in others and ended up enjoying this book that I never would have picked up on my own.

What I liked most about They Never Learn - besides the clever title and twist that totally surprised me - was the stellar character arcs. Especially Carly. That girl needed a literal chill pill, she had so much angst and anxiety. But watching her grow and change through the book was awesome and so well written.

I will say this though - I 𝙙𝙤 𝙣𝙤𝙩 agree with the ending. I thought and hoped things would turn out differently. That's just my personal opinion and not reflected in my rating because the author finished the book in the way she wanted to and she did it well but I wasn't happy about it lol 🙂
Profile Image for Michael David (on hiatus).
656 reviews1,619 followers
October 13, 2020
HAPPY PUPLICATION DAY to one of my favorite thrillers of the year!

“A smile spreads across my lips, even colder than the snow.

You’re next, motherf***er.”

I couldn’t help but hoot as I read this line in the EXCELLENT, unputdownable murder thriller THEY NEVER LEARN.

Scarlett is a college professor who kills men at the University she teaches at...men who, in her mind, deserve it for doing terrible things to women. Everything is fine until her latest kill spins wildly out of control and causes more people to probe into the deaths at the college.

In alternating chapters, Carly is a freshman at the university who quickly becomes friendly with her roommate, Allison, her total opposite. Allison likes to go out, drink, flirt, and generally have a good time. After Allison is sexually assaulted at a party, Carly can’t stop her dark thoughts of making the attacker pay for what he’s done.

This book is bloody, violent, somewhat disturbing, and extremely entertaining. I was blown away by author Layne Fargo’s ability to etch out the characters so well and keep me intrigued at every chapter. There’s plenty of unsuspecting twists that tie everything together, and you will not want to stop reading as you get deeper and deeper into this dark story. This surpasses Fargo’s debut novel, TEMPER, by far.

Thank you to Gallery/Scout Press, Layne Fargo, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
May 24, 2021

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Sometimes you read a book that doesn't just meet your expectations; it surpasses them. THEY NEVER LEARN is one of those. Part dark academia, part #MeToo story, part revenge-sploitation, it's a dual narrative mystery-thriller involving two bisexual women-- Scarlett and Carly-- who have a bone to pick with predatory men.

I don't even want to say too much about this book because it's like a layer cake of twists. Every time you dig into a slice, you discover a new flavor of dude, WTH. It was so well-plotted and so well-written and at times, it could be darkly funny, even as it provided a scathing criticism of warped gender norms and rape culture.

The way the two storylines finally intertwine surprised me. I didn't predict it at all because of a red herring (or should I say blue herring?) that was incredibly well done. If you like dark thrillers, tales of revenge, strong women, and dark academia, you'll love this.

I'll be terribly surprised if they don't make it into a movie.

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,128 reviews3,713 followers
January 7, 2021
Academic life may be more dangerous than you think!

Scarlett is an English professor. With an interesting little job on the side, or should I say extra-curricular activity. Seems the good professor has an appetite for seeking revenge against men who hurt the women in their lives. And so far, she’s gotten away with it. But after her latest performance her luck may be changing.

Carly is a freshman at the same University. And guess what? English just happens to be her major too. She’s watched helplessly as her roommate is abused by a fellow student. Can Carly muster up what it takes to seek revenge, or should I say exacting a little simple justice too?

A wickedly twisty thriller with a diabolic twist that stopped me in my tracks!

This has been the year for strong, dominant women seeking revenge in our thrillers. You can definitely add this one to that list.

I don’t remember University being so dangerous... but then again, I didn’t major in English!

Posted to: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend...

Thank you to Edelweiss and Gallery/Scout Press
Profile Image for Katie Colson.
676 reviews6,895 followers
September 9, 2021
Reading Vlog: https://youtu.be/vbYonFpFDi8


If you put Amy Dunne and Scarlett Clarke in a room together men would simply cease to exist.

This book is intelligent and wicked and suuuuch Good For Her vibes. I was thriving.

I didn’t know there would be any sapphic content and boy oh boy was it sending me.

The ending of this book shipped me off to Heaven with no return address.

Can’t wait for this to be a movie.
October 18, 2022
*Many thanks to Edelweiss, Gallery/Scout, and Layne Fargo for a DRC in exchange for an honest review! Now available as of 10.13.20, also now in paperback!*

Devious, sinister, and COMPLETELY breathtaking!

Scarlett Clark is not simply your average fiery-haired, sharp-witted English professor. Coupled with this persona, Scarlett's true passion is dispensing justice to the men who truly 'deserve it'. And how does she accomplish this vigilante justice? She meticulously plots, plans, and commits their murders, of course! And Scarlett's fiendish plans all have a common goal: to rid the world of men who just won't listen, and who just can't say no. Beginning with her small campus community, Scarlett finds example after nauseating example of men who can't respect the word 'no'...or who just can't respect the power of a woman, period. When she sets her sights on a fellow professor, however, can she keep her murderous exploits under wraps, while still saving her fellow females from the men brimming with toxic masculinity?

Meanwhile, we are introduced to awkward freshman Carly, new at Gorman and aching to find a place for herself in a new community, far from the drama between her parents at home. She is immediately enchanted by her lovely roommate Allison, who imbues her with the confidence to begin to explore her sexuality. The two form a deepening connection and after Allison reveals to Carly that she is bisexual, Carly's feelings begin to blossom. However, her jealousy flares as she realizes that Allison's eyes are focused on the wrong sort of guy--which comes to fruition at a party where Allison is the unwitting victim of sexual assault. Carly is enraged and desperate to make the perpetrator pay...but how will she find a way to not just ask for, but DEMAND the justice she craves?

I went into this book with incredibly high expectations...and they were blown to ABSOLUTE smithereens! Scarlett was a captivating and deliciously dangerous narrator from page one. I felt her rage coursing through my veins and was as eager for her to commit the murders as she was to get away with them! Which completely speaks to Fargo's ability to throw you into the mind of a psychopath and to make their train of thought seem not only plausible, but actually practical! This is the sort of stunning page-turner I wish every thriller was---explosive and still quiet, and just BEYOND clever. The first twist hits at about 40% and it is shocking, surprising, and so intelligently done I was still reeling, pages later. While I was still frantically reading, I kept coming back to execution (of the story in this case) mentally and I just could not get over how beautifully Fargo pulled off the twist...and that is only the FIRST twist! From that point on, particularly, I was completely hooked, utterly, engrossed, and fighting for every last second of free time I could squeeze out of my day so I could just get through one more chapter!

Trust me when I say this would be the PERFECT book for a cold autumn night, a glass (or maybe a bottle) of fantastic wine, and perhaps a sinister fire crackling in the hearth for atmosphere. You won't need these added elements, because this book is that much of an atmospheric experience in and of itself, but will only make it better. This is one of those books I wish I could unread just so I could experience it again for the first time.

I would give this book 10 stars if I could, and considering we are now far more than halfway through the year, that this book will undoubtedly be on the top ten of my list for 2020's best thrillers. Fargo is beyond brilliant, and has hit it out of the park with this one! 5 ⭐️
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,514 reviews29.5k followers
November 21, 2020
Whoa. Just whoa.

I’ve seen a bunch of friends raving about Layne Fargo's books, so I was excited to win a Bookstagram giveaway of her new book. And after reading it in one sitting, now I’m definitely a fan!

Scarlett is a professor at Gorman University. She’s smart, ambitious, sexy—and dangerous. Scarlett is determined to rid the university of the men who take advantage of, and hurt, women. All of her crimes are meticulously planned and no one has suspected any foul play, at least until the university starts to think there may be more to these deaths than meets the eye.

Carly is an incoming freshman at Gorman. She’s happy to be away from her abusive father and victimized mother, but college makes her nervous. She wishes she could be cool like her roommate, Allison. As the two become closer, Carly comes to Allison’s rescue when she needs her the most.

I’m going to stop describing the plot now because there’s so much that needs to unfold for you as you read. Suffice it to say it’s a little bit Dexter , a little bit How to Get Away with Murder , and a little bit Unbelievable , with twists all its own.

I absolutely DEVOURED this book. It was just so excellent and it hooked me completely. Boy, does Fargo know how to tell a story!!

This will definitely be one of my favorite thrillers of the year, and I need to read more of Fargo's books!!

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html.

Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Debra .
2,422 reviews35.2k followers
October 11, 2020
Well, well, well, what do we have here?????

Scarlett Clark is an English Professor by day and a woman who murders men who she feels deserve it by night. Just when she is preparing for her biggest kill yet, the college begins to investigate the growing number of "suicides" on campus.

Carly Schiller is trying to survive freshman year. She wants to dive into her studies but her roommate who enjoys breaking the rules has other plans. As the roommates becomes closer, Carly becomes obsessed with making the young man who sexually assaulted her roommate at a party pay for his actions.

Grab a seat, buckle yourself in and enjoy this dark twisted ride! This was a fast, fun and captivating read. We are not supposed to root for the killer, are we? That would be so wrong, but it feels so right.

So how do these two storylines relate? Will they merge? Did you see the connection coming? My hand is waving in the air, I figured that little bit out, but it did not affect my enjoyment of this book at all.

This was bloody good. A real killer of a book!

A riveting not-to-be-missed book!

Thank you to Gallery/Scout Press and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
November 2, 2020
"My story was fiction, but it was about how the world should be--how it would be if we could turn men's actions back on them. Made them fear us instead."

This is a purely entertaining, chilling, and thrilling far fetched look into a terrifying female psychopath seeking a twisted sense of justice and revenge against the men who get away with harming women.

Layne Fargo horrifies and entertains us here with this dark and twisted terrifying psychopath. She played on that dark and twisted side of me and took me into the mind and shoes of this fascinating serial killer.

Professor Scarlett Clark has appointed herself an avenging angel for women harmed by men. She has spent years hunting and killing predatory men and making their deaths appear accidental or self-inflicted. That's a lot to find believable, and I have to admit I needed to leave that overthinking in me out of the story and just go along with this thrilling ride. Things get even more interesting with another POV from student Carly who has violent thoughts towards predatory men.

I was surprised with a brilliant turn to the story that I should have seen coming, but I didn't. The dynamics change a bit, and things started to get even more tense and exciting right up to the end of the story. I enjoyed how it all wrapped but I did feel the whole twisted feminism drama was pushed a bit and that final surprising twist. Dang, it! I said I wasn't going to overthink this one.

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them”― Margaret Atwood

I received a copy from Layne Fargo to read and review.
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