Published by Harlequin TEEN on August 4, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, contemporary
Source: Paperback ARC from Publisher
Reading Challenges: ARC August 2015, Booking Through Summer, COYER Scavenger Hunt
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.
Never Always Sometimes is a young adult book by Adi Alsaid. This was my first time reading Adi’s works and I have to say Never Always Sometimes was much more emotional than I was expecting it to be. This book tugged on my heartstrings man. Never Always Sometimes is the story of Dave and Julia, two best friends. I loved that the story was broken up into a Dave section, then a Julia section, and then Dave and Julia sections. By giving the reader larger chunks of multiple chapters in a row of one perspective, rather than alternating every chapter, it really gives you a chance to get to know Dave and Julia’s very different personalities.
Never Always Sometimes starts out right before Dave and Julia begin high school. They decide to make a list of “nevers”. Things that they never want to do in high school. (you all know how much I love a good list.) Then the story jumps ahead to their senior year, and not much has changed. Dave and Julia are still best friends and they still consider themselves to be different than most of their peers. Never mind that fact that by wanting to avoid all stereotypes, they kind of became a stereotype themselves. (but then again, that is kind of how I see hipsters, so it was fitting for the kind of hipster vibe I was getting from Dave and Julia. But I digress.) Dave finds the list of Nevers when he was cleaning out his locker, and they decide to do a social experiment of sorts (first people in the history of high school to have this idea. I think ever.) and check off every item on their list. And that is the set up for Never Always Sometimes. Kind of cliche, kind of cute, lots of promise.
The great thing about Never Always Sometimes is the emotion that Adi Alsaid is able to evoke with his writing. He takes this cute, but a little cliche idea of a list of things to accomplish before high school with you best friend, and also secret crush, and turns it into a really poignant story of love heartbreak, friendship and growing up. I loved all the feels that Adi Alsaid was able to bring out in me. I was just expecting this to be a fun cute read. And it was, but it was also really heartbreaking. And happy. And nostalgic. Never Always Sometimes is so many things. There are things that I wanted to turn out differently, sure, but looking back on the book as a whole, I don’t know that I would have changed anything. Never Always Sometimes is a special read.
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