Never Always Sometimes

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3.7
 
3.7 (2)
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Never Always Sometimes
Author(s)
Age Range
13+
Release Date
August 04, 2015
ISBN
9780373211548
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Never date your best friend Always be original Sometimes rules are meant to be broken Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they'd never, ever do in high school. Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never die your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he's broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It's either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember. Julia is beautiful, wild and impetuous. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the clichés, they've actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Quirky and entertaining. I really liked this one
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Ah, the YA Contemp genre, always a fickle one for me. I have to be extra careful about what I choose to read and review in this genre because most are misses. I had never read anything by Alsaid before, but after hearing a lot of positive things about his writing and his previous book, Let's Get Lost (of which I have and still need to read), I wanted to give his upcoming book a try. In the end, I was very happy I did. While not captivating nor a page-turner (which is the norm in this genre), Never Always Sometimes still managed to charm me with its quirky characters, entertaining dialogue, and a sense of nostalgia for first loves and senior year of high school.

I really liked Dave and Julia's friendship. They were so comfortable with each other and balanced each other out nicely without bringing feelings into the mix (until later on). I will say that I didn't care for the romance between the two. I much preferred them as friends, they just fit better that way in my opinion. Julia was such a wacky character. I loved the funny ways she said Dave's name and the insane ideas she'd come up with. At times it felt like she was trying too hard to stand out/be ridiculous, but I didn't mind it too much. She has a flighty, wunderlust of a mother and was raised by two dads, so there has to be some personality in the girl. My favorite Julia moment involved a bit of hilarious slam poetry that I seriously need to write down in a quote book because it was just fantastic. Dave is the laidback one who caters to Julia's crazy antics, all while pining for the eccentric girl. I definitely felt bad for him at times and it was different seeing this kind of dynamic as it's usually the other way around.

There are quite a few lulls throughout the book. It kept a steady pace and despite not a lot happening much of the time, it still held my interest, which is good. Let me also just mention that I really liked Gretchen and Brett. Excellent secondary characters.

I'm definitely feeling Alsaid's writing and this is one of the better YA Contemps for me, so yay for that. I loved that Alsaid went in a different direction in the end than what I was expecting. After reading most of the book, I was hoping for that ending, but I didn't know if he would deliver. Thankfully, he did and I appreciated it immensely because I just wasn't rooting for the other option for some reason. Anyways, Never Always Sometimes is one of those quirky books that has plenty of appeal and it delivers in many fronts. I really enjoyed this one and I'm looking forward to checking out some of Alsaid's other works.
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User reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
3.0  (2)
Characters 
 
3.5  (2)
Writing Style 
 
4.5  (2)
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Not What I Was Expecting
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
MY THOUGHTS
I had really high expectation for this book. Adi Alsaid's last book, Let's Get Lost, was phenomenal. It was fun, heartbreaking, and I adored it. So, of course, I was excited for more brilliance from Adi Alsaid, but this book wasn't what I was expecting. It's a good book and I like it, but it's not a 'new' book and certainly wasn't the funny, unique book I was expecting.

Dave and Julia are best friends and at the start of high school, they create a list of 'Nevers'. The list includes cliches that high schoolers often get into. Rules like, Never dye your hair a color of the rainbow, secretly pine for someone, run for prom king, etc. It isn't until the list is rediscovered senior year that they decide to do ALL of the things on the list. But Dave already has done something on the list, he's been pining for Julia.

I really like the idea of the Nevers and I was very curious to see how they would go about them all. It was indeed very interesting seeing how they did, since it's not like they follow the list exactly to a point, they randomly did things throughout the year and things happened because of them. While I wish this book could've been about the list entirely, it wasn't really the main focus, which I guess is okay. As I mentioned, they do things throughout the year, so it's not like they set out to do the list in a day or a week, that means that other stuff is also going on at the same time. I admit that I was kind of bored by the normal school life and things, but it did make things realistic.

I think that is a plus in this book, the realism. This book felt very realistic and, yes, that might have been why I was bored at points. The relationships, both romantic and friend oriented, were very realistic to a point that you don't see often in books. Many relationships, especially romance, are exaggerated in books. I felt this way in Adi's last book as well, so I can definitely say that he can certainly write realistic contemporaries.

Now, I was a bit bothered by how ironically cliche this book was, even know I shouldn't be. Why? I just get the feeling that this book was supposed to be cliche. The book is about two teens who are against being cliche teenagers, but in the end are they actually cliche? This is actually an important part about the book and I do believe that the cliche-ness was on purpose. Doesn't mean that I didn't groan at the cliche-ness at points.

IN CONCLUSION
Overall, this is a good contemporary read, but it's not what I was expecting and not quite as good as Adi's debut novel. I love the idea and wish it was focused on that more, despite the fact that not doing so made things more realistic. If you enjoy such books, pick this one up, but I recommend Adi's previous book more.
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Fun and quirky
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to have an original high school experience. They didn’t want their time to be defined by high school clichés so they came up with a list of Nevers. Things like ‘never dye your hair a colour from a rainbow’ or ‘never hook up with a teacher’. Those ones were easy to follow. ‘Never pine for someone through high school’ is one Dave has been breaking. It’s either that or break ‘never date your best friend’. When Julia suggests actually doing the things on their Nevers list, Dave goes along with it. It started out as a fun joke but as they scratch numbers off the list, they realize just how much they were missing out on.

This was a really fun book to read filled with so many clichés and quirky characters. I really enjoyed Let’s Get Lost so I was really excited for a new Adi Alsaid book and the premise sounded like a great summer read.

The book was told in three parts. Solely Dave’s POV, solely Julia’s POV, and then a combination of both of their POVs. I really enjoyed this format. I also thought it was a smart choice since Dave and Julia seemed so similar in the beginning that it could have been a little difficult to tell their POVs apart. This way, they each got to develop their voice before the POVs started to alternate. By that time, I always knew which POV I was reading.

I enjoyed both characters, Dave a little more than Julia. There were times when Julia was a little too wild for me but it worked for her character. They were both very quirky and I could see why they became best friends. The banter between them, between Julia and Dave’s brother, Julia and her dads, Dave and Gretchen, they were so much fun to read. Their plan may have been to avoid being stereotypical teenagers but they felt realistic with the problems and the growing up they had to do.

The clichés were a lot of fun. Most of them were ones I also avoided in school but that didn’t stop me from enjoying Dave and Julia experiencing them. The only one that made me uncomfortable was the ‘Never hook up with a teacher’ and the way Julia would talk about the poor guy and her actions. She may have just been playing around but those parts I couldn’t enjoy.

I went in expecting the high school rom-com feel and it was definitely present. The enjoyment I had while reading this reminded me of the same enjoyment I got while watching movies like Can’t Hardly Wait and Empire Record. Fun, quirky, maybe a little over the top at times but in a good way.
Good Points
1. The writing and the flow make for an easy read
2. Quirky is fun
3. The high school rom-feel feel
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