Published by Harlequin Enterprises (Australia) Pty, Limited on July 27th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Love & Romance, Romance, 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 No. 5, never die your hair a colour of the rainbow, or No. 7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he's broken rule No. 8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It's either that or break rule No. 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. "An achingly beautiful story ... Reminiscent of John Green's Paper Towns, Alsaid's debut is a gem among contemporary YA novels." -- School Library Journal"An entertaining and romantic road-trip debut." -- Kirkus Reviews
In an effort to avoid being just another cliche, Dave and Julia make a list before starting high school of ten things they will never do. They won’t be defined by where they eat lunch. You will never see either one of them at a drunken party and so on. Fast forward to senior year where the two teens find themselves bored and desperate for entertainment. Upon rediscovering the list they decide to do each of the things they vowed never to do.
I was a huge fan of Adi Alsaid’s debut novel, Let’s Get Lost, and I was looking forward to Never Always Sometimes. Conceptually – I love the idea. There’s bound to be drama, trouble, romantic entanglements and all sorts of fun where you have two characters following a list of somewhat ridiculous teenage cliches.
But this book fell short of my expectations. Dave and Julia, despite hating teenage stereotypes, were the typical lovesick best friend and manic pixie dream girl. I feel like this was intentionally ironic as an attempt to show that by rejecting cliches the characters became one themselves but I didn’t understand the characters’ motivations. I didn’t connect with either of them and found the plot rather predictable. I think this book was trying to capture the whimsy and bittersweetness of a John Green novel yet it slightly missed the mark.
This book took a very long time to get interesting. I found my attention drifting up until I got three-quarters of the way in. I enjoyed where the story when in the last few chapters but it took a little too long to get there. Having all ten rules on the Never list stated so early in the novel left the reader knowing what to expect. It wasn’t until things started to get a little messy and different that Dave and Julia came into their own. There were some nice touches which made me laugh but there were also times where I thought the characters took things a little too far.
I still consider Adi Alsaid to be an author to be on the look out for but Never Always Sometimes left me a little cold.
Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia and NetGalley for the review copy.