I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
Published by Harlequin on August 1, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Social Issues, Friendship, Love & Romance, Dating & Sex, General
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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 read it in one sitting, which means I liked the story and didn’t switch out to another book because of boredom.
- Dave and Julia were super obnoxiously cute. Very inside joke besties.
- Outsiders vs Popular. I always veer to outsider.
- I really liked the ending – it was not the typical rom-com ending.
- Alternative families – Dave’s mom died when he was 10 and Julia is raised by two fathers. I enjoy when the families are not cookie cutter, but I liked even more that neither of the family situations were a big deal, it was mentioned and then the story moved on. Just like in the real world.
- There was no text or tweet speak. I know that I am ancient at 37 and as such hate when teen characters speak in LOLs and #awesomes. I want to read a book not a tweet.
- Dave’s brother – He was fantastic and totally stole every scene he was in.
- The math poem! “There’s something about the slope of his”— Julia paused with a smile—“cosine that drives me to irrational equations. There’s something about how he can recite pi to forty digits that makes my . . . heart swell exponentially. If X is the point where two lines meet, let my tangent and his intersect and repeat.” It was brilliant!
- Julia’s obsession with her birth mother. Everything she did, including the list of Nevers, was to make her mom proud, not to please herself. So not great character motivation.
- The pacing was a bit off. Sometimes days were skipped and then every minute of the next was detailed out. Not super consistent.
- Even though I liked the non-traditional ending, it felt not finished. I wanted to know if everyone got a HEA and one person was left adrift.
So I’m going to go with 4 stars, as the math poem totally tips the scale.
∇ Some other book reviews online for Never Always Sometimes –
◊ Favorite Lines from chapter titled Off – “Only a tick or two had gone by. Every second carried with it an entire lifetime of academic obligations, even if at this particular moment he was just sitting there listening to music. There was so much of it still left, time in school, it never ended, never moved. Dave was going to die within four walls just like these, wasn’t he?”
¤ Biggest cliché – I love my best friend but dating would ruin our relationship. So I will just go sit in this corner and pine.
Δ What is the one thing on your “Never to do” list, that you secretly really want to do?