Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
Pages: 320 Pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Harlequin Teen, August 2015
Overall Rating: 3/5
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.
I thought the characters were cute, a little cliche, but they were cute. Mainly Julia though, I liked her character a lot. Also, the idea of the “Nevers” list was a really good one, it definitely was the basis for a good plot/story. However, the list did remind me a tiny bit of Since You’ve Been Gone.
Aside from that, I didn’t really mind the whole “hipster” culture this book took on. It was a little more current then a lot of YA books I’ve read, which is fine to me, it just definitely applies our current pop culture into the book; sometimes YA books are a little behind in trends.
I had two major problems with this book.
1. The writing style — In Let’s Get Lost, I absolutely loved Alsaid’s writing style. The quick and clean writing was perfect for the story. However, in Never Always Sometimes, I just felt like the writing was forced. The narrator was telling the story in a 3rd person perspective in a past tense. The 3rd POV made it feel very impersonal; the past tense of the narration just felt awkward. In particular, the different “parts” of the story were supposed to be from each character’s perspective, and since there were only 2 main characters, the impersonal 3rd POV just didn’t work for me. Also, the past tense narration was awkward because the characters were talking in present tense (like they should), but the narrations that followed were all in past tense as if the narrator was a character from the future — not the case here.
2. Character inconsistency — I understand that the characters are young, immature, and teenagers of course. So we cannot expect them to show dramatic character development, however, I felt like there were too many inconsistencies. In every “part” of the book, I felt like Dave was a different person… It was a little weird because it made it seem like the characters were making illogical choices.
Writing Style: 2.5/5
I really wished I enjoyed this more than I did. It was a quick read, but it was just… okay, to me. I enjoyed the first half of the book much more than I did the second half definitely. I really did enjoy Let’s Get Lost, so I was hoping I would enjoy his 2nd book as well. I honestly didn’t read many reviews of this book before I started reading it — to avoid a bias. However, I found issues of my own with the book that prevented me from loving it. In all, I would say that you should give this book a try if the plot intrigues you and/or you are looking for a very “pop cultured” YA novel. However, maybe borrow a copy from the library or something to make sure you like it before you buy it.