Published by: Harlequin Teen on August 4, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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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.
I received this book for free from YABC in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
One Line: Quirky and entertaining. I really liked this one.
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, wanderlust 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.
Final Verdict: One of the better books in the YA Contemp genre and one I would definitely recommend to readers.
*This review of Never Always Sometimes was first published on YABC.*