Never Always Sometimes
Author: Adi Alsaid
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: August 4th 2015
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance/Realistic Fiction
Rating: 3.5 Stars!
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.
Never Always Sometimes is a fun and sweet young adult contemporary romance. It begins with the two main characters - Dave and Julia - on the day before they start high school, with them creating a list of things they would never do in the coming four years. The rest of the book is set during the end of their senior year - when they decide to actually do all of the things on the list - just for fun. Dave is completely fine with this, because he's already broken one of the rules: Don't silently pine over someone for the duration of high school. He's been in love with Julia for as long as he can remember, but he's learned how to keep his feelings hidden over the years. As they start to conquer the list, they begin to wonder if they've actually missed out on a lot of stuff during the past four years. The biggest one being rule #10 - never date your best friend.
This was a lighthearted and quick read for me. I don't normally read YA contemporary fiction - and it's this sort of book that keeps me away. Don't get me wrong - I liked the book. It was cute, made me laugh, and had a sweet romance. These are all perfectly fine qualities, but - for me - it feels like that's what the template is for most of the books in that genre. I read the description of the book and immediately knew basically everything that was going to happen. It's not really hidden or a big surprise - anyone who reads about it can figure out that the two characters belong together. That's a turn-off for me in most cases. Again - this is solely my opinion and preference - and it has no reflection on the book itself. It's a well written YA contemporary romance that fans of the genre will definitely want to get their hands on.
As I mentioned, the story line was pretty predictable. I found it obvious what was going to happen before I even opened the book. The story line itself isn't really original, but the author's writing and the realistic characters set it apart from others in the genre. I liked both of the main characters - Dave and Julia. They were realistic in every way and I easily identified with them. The writing was solid with just the right amount of imagery and description - enough to give you a good feel of everything going on, but not too much that it overwhelms you. The pace was pretty quick, but I think that's because it's written in such a natural way - it just keeps it's own pace without any effort. I'm a stickler for point of view, and this book was done in the third person - which I feel made it good, but not great. I'm a firm believer in first person POV for the majority of books because of the deep connection the reader creates with the main character. With first person, we have a chance to really get to know what the narrator is thinking and feeling throughout the novel. It's a very personal writing style and one I tend to prefer. By using the third person POV, we aren't able to connect as deeply with the characters - but the author does a good job of describing everything we need to know in order to identify with them and fall into their story. Overall, I thought that this was a good book - again, this is due mostly to my own opinion on the genre and has nothing to do with the book itself. Fans of YA contemporary romance and realistic fiction definitely need to pick this one up. It's a perfect book for the summer - light, fun, and sweet!
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Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City, then studied at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in class, he mostly read fiction and continuously failed to fill out crossword puzzles, so it's no surprise that after graduating, he did not go into business world but rather packed up his apartment into his car and escaped to the California coastline to become a writer. He's now back in his hometown, where he writes, coaches high school and elementary basketball, and has perfected the art of making every dish he eats or cooks as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he's lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas, and Monterey, California. A tingly feeling in his feet tells him more places will eventually be added to the list. Let's Get Lost is his YA debut.