There are two things I love in YA books, they’re kind of my weakness: best friend stories, and, contemporaries. With both of these being reunited in Never, Always, Sometimes, that book was supposed to be a hit. Supposed to be, but well, it wasn’t. Not entirely.
IT ALL STARTS WITH A LIST
“No point in living a life less ordinary if you don’t know what the other side looks like.”
The whole story behind Never, Always, Sometimes, relies on a list: a simple list of things to NEVER to while in high school. A bunch of clichés, if you will, like, never become prom king, never dye your hair a weird color, never date your best friend. Dave and Julia, the best friends in question, swore to never do these things, until, well, they do. Because WHY NOT, it’s all about embracing the high school experience. This whole concept is what, initially, made me add this book to my TBR. I was sure it was going to be a lot of fun, made me smile, and well, made me root for the best friends to get together already, AS WE SHOULD. Or shouldn’t we? If Never, Always, Sometimes held its promises on the entertainment and making me smile field, it was sadly, a bit lacking in some other departments.
TWO BEST FRIENDS AND… SEE WHERE I’M GOING?
“Human beings are more or less formulas. Pun intended. We are not any one thing that is mathematically provable. We are more or less than we are anything. We are more or less kind, or more or less not. More or less selfish, happy, wise, lonely.”
Dave, Julia, two best friends, and the main characters of this story, are very, well, they are in high school, and I admire how the author manages to portray very well high schoolers. I think he got their way of thinking, their inside struggles, very well. Like every teenager, and like every character should be, they are not perfect, and even if some of their flaws and blindness made me want to shake some sense into them, sometimes, they were realistic. In this book, we get both Dave and Julia’s point of view. If the different perspectives could have, in my opinion, been handled a little better, especially towards the end, I felt that Dave and Julia were very different, in their personalities. Where Dave is shy, Julia is carefree, and what made me think of her as a superficial girl, really changed in the second part of the book, where finally, I get her POV. She proved to be more than what I thought, and I liked that, a lot. About their relationship, well, hello best friend trope! It’s my favorite trope ever, so I’m not going to complain, but, right from the start, you can see where this story is going. Dave has been in love with Julia forever, and well, she doesn’t seem to notice. Because she is blind, like I said before, and hm, I wanted to shake some sense into her at a lot of times because of that. Between banters, Dave following whatever crazy plans Julia has next, their relationship made me smile more than once, but it was a bit predictable.
PREDICTABLE, YET STILL ENJOYABLE
And this, predictability, really is a word I tend to be wary of, in books. I like to be surprised, I love plot twists even if sometimes they make me want to throw the book out the window in frustration. Not many surprises here: you start the book with a list, and well, point by point, you’ll see where the story is going. You can see the elements of the plot getting together, you can see how the relationship between Dave and Julia evolve, and OH, and you can even see another trope coming, one that we don’t like as much…brace yourself for, the love triangle. Yes. I said it. Sorry? I was kind of annoyed by that. BUT, however, it made the whole story a tiny bit less predictable, and for that, I am thankful. I liked this added element to the story, even if the other side of the triangle, named Gretchen, could have used a little bit more development. In a book full of clichés, the ending definitely wasn’t too cliché for my taste. Just enough to put a smile on your face.
I feel like I might have been a little harsh on my review? No? Well, trust me: this book is still a sweet, good contemporary story you’ll enjoy if you just want to relax, not think about anything, and smile a bit. If you love high school stories and best friends, chances are you’ll really like this one.
Final rating: 4 drops!
Did you read Never, Always, Sometimes? Do you want to read it?
Do you like stories with best friends, and high school stories? Are you a fan of clichés, in books? Share your thoughts in comments!
Ali Alsaid, Never, Always, Sometimes, Published by Harlequin Teen, August 4th 2015.
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 dye 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.