Never Always Sometimes will pack a romantic punch to your heart.
Book Review: Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
Title & Author: Never Always Sometimes (Harlequin Teen) by Adi Alsaid
Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary
Release Date: August 4, 2015
How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher
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.”
Pining, So. Much. Pining.
Adi Alsaid gained instant popularity with his debut book Let’s Get Lost. Although I didn’t read it, I was excited to get my hands on Never Always Sometimes, another YA contemporary.
At first glance, this book reads like a straightforward story: boy pines for best friend despite rules put in place about never dating your best friend.
But, about halfway through the book, the narration switches to the the best friend in question, Julia, and things get a little crazy.
The overwhelming majority of this book is spent highlighting how much Dave is in love with Julia but doesn’t want to change their friendship or break their Never List. And then something happens and there’s ever more pining.
That’s a LOT of pining. And it’s kind of painful to witness after a while.
Never Always Sometimes felt like it wanted to be a John Green book so badly. But only one person can do that…you know, the actual John Green.
This is a book that has a clear underlying point. I wish more had been done with it. It truly takes a backseat to the rampant teen angst.
I did enjoy the Never List and the journey Dave and Julia take in going through it as seniors. Plus, Julia’s particular challenge with her teacher is just hilarious and also a little disturbing (I can tell I’m old now because I’m siding more with adults than teens these days).
I also appreciated how this story takes a romance someplace I haven’t really seen so far. The story busts a few cliches, which is perfect considering its message about being original.
The ending is strong, and I really appreciated the balance Alsaid achieved there.
I really wish I liked this book more. I do think some readers will appreciate the super complicated romance (beware: love triangle ahead) and the quiet messages it’s hiding, but Never Always Sometimes didn’t have much value for me and is not a book I would recommend.