Never Always Sometimes – Adi Alsaid
Published: August 4th 2015 by Harlequin Teen
Source: eARC via Harlequin Teen/The Fantastic Flying Book Club
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.
When I first read the synopsis for this book I thought it sounded so fun! I always find myself drawn to friends completely a list. My friends and I were obsessed with scavenger hunts in high school and while this isn’t about friends completing a scavenger hunt, it is about 2 friends who are trying to complete a list before high school is over. There were some fun moments completing the list but I found the many of the items to be a lot more serious. This is not a bad thing but I personally wanted it to be more fun completely the list.
This book deals with a lot of high school cliches and how to “avoid” them but once Dave and Julia start to have a cliche high school experience they realize that maybe the high school cliches are worth experiencing. I personally love “don’t knock it till you’ve tried it” when it comes to trying new things and Julia embraces her mom’s quote “No point in living a life less ordinary if you don’t know what the other side looks like.”. Sometimes high school is about the cliches.
When it comes to contemporary books, I much prefer the first person narrative. This book is told from both Dave and Julia’s point-of-view but it is entirely third person. There are times where this works for contemporary books but this book left me wondering if I would have enjoyed it more if it was written in the first person.
Julia and Dave are interesting main characters. I did not connect with them on a personal level but I can say they felt like teenagers to me. There were a few points in the book where I questioned their choices or actions but at the end of the day I knew they felt like genuine young adults. They were both unsure of their romantic feelings at different points in the book and that is a big struggle during your teen years. It may be cliche to secretly pin for your best friend but is confessing your feelings really worth it? What if your friend doesn’t feel the same way and you put the friendship on the line?
Overall I did enjoy this book but I wish it was more fun. There were times I found myself laughing but I more frequently found myself feeling bad for the characters.