Published on: August 4th 2015
Published by: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Romance
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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.
This book was so much fun to read. You go into it thinking it’s going to go one way, then it goes another and basically you just end up having no idea how it’s going to end and just let the story take you the way it wants. The unpredictability was kind of refreshing and made for an interesting story which I could not put down.
The concept behind Never Always Sometimes is a really fun one. I’ve always wanted to have something that I did with my friends at the beginning of high school (like the ‘Nevers’ list) which we could have looked back at during our final year and laughed at. The whole ‘not wanting to be a cliché so avoid all the clichés which kind of makes you a cliché and then deciding to do all the cliché things which is just oh so cliché’ (did I say cliché enough times?) is such a mixed up thing that even I can’t tell if they are being cliché or uncliché by the end of it! I really like the message of this story, and about how you can miss out on life if you are purposely not doing things through fear of being “ordinary”.
“No point in living a life less ordinary if you don’t know what the other side looks like.“
I loved Dave and Julia’s friendship so much. I loved their banter, the way that Julia never seems to call Dave by his correct full name and the way that they are so naive about high school parties that they turn up with a plate of cupcakes. Two totally different personalities which make such a great friendship. I think I definitely enjoyed reading from Daves POV most. Julia in his eyes was totally wild, free and although her ideas wacky they were also totally genius. Some people have commented that she was self centered through the book, and I totally agree, but her personality was also a lot fun that it managed to block out the annoying bits of her.
“I want people I know to be a little better off than when I found them. God, that sounds pretentious doesn’t it?”
“It sounds like kindness to me.”
There was quite a bit of romance going on in this book, and at one point I really thought we were going to end up with a love pentagon (took me a while to figure out which shape has 5 sides!) which would include the totally awkward Math teacher that Julia is determined to seduce! Normally in these kind of stories you are routing for the best friends to get together and hate anyone who gets in the way, but I have to admit that I loved Gretchen (Dave’s romantic interest) right from the start, mostly because she has a bookish tattoo, but also because she was just genuine, kind and cool and her personality complimented Dave’s in a totally different (but not better or worse) way to Julia’s.View Spoiler » As much as I did want Dave to end up with Gretchen I did also really like the short time that Dave and Julia were together, especially their ‘morning after’ at the beach. It was kind of sad the way that it ended between them, full of heartache. And although I like the way the book ended (with Dave & Gretchen together) I felt really bad for Julia who I felt like came off really crappy from the Nevers list. Dave got a girlfriend and prom king status and this new group of friends and Julia got her heart broken and just seemed kinda lonely by the end of the book.
Also, if you are wondering who was in my weird Love Pentagon: Gretchen – Dave – Julia – Brett (I’m still not sure how I would have felt if this actually happened. I mean dating the big brother of your best friend, the guy you slept with and the guy who broke your heart. Could have made family dinners interesting) – Mr Marroney (so glad that didn’t happen, because it would have been gross!) « Hide Spoiler
“You drew a smiley face.”
“I drew a smiley face.”
“With the car.”
“And a satelite,” she added.
“Gretchen,” Dave said, admireing the GPS screen, “you are so cool”
So, to the Nevers list. Some of them were pretty standard: never throw a party, never dye your hair the colour of a rainbow etc. But then some of them were a bit more out there, like Never Hook Up With A Teacher. I didn’t know were Alsaid was going to take that one, but I think it was written perfectly. Julia’s Mathmatical Slam Poetry had to be one of the greatest things I’ve ever read and if you don’t read this book for any reason other than that chapter, then that will be fine by me.
“There’s something about the slope of his…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. I must be his prime number because there’s only room for him inside my equation.”
I went into this like everyone probably thinking it was going to go a certain way, and then it started to go a different way and at first I was uncertain, but then I kinda liked it. And then it swapped back to the other way and I wasn’t too sure about it. And then I just had no idea where it was going to go next. I’ve read a few reviews that said “it ends differently then you will expect”. But I found myself constantly changing my expectation throughout the book that in the end I wasn’t settled on one theory that I thought “this is how it’s going to end” and instead just kinda let the story take me.
This was my first Adi Alsaid book, and I have heard a lot of mixed reports about his books in the past and so was a bit unsure how this book was going to go. But I can confirm that it is fun and not at all cliché!
I would recommend this book to fans of: books based in high school, really great friendships, friends to more relationships, stories with fun and crazy pranks