Title: Never Always Sometimes
Author: Adi Alsaid
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Source: From Publisher
Never date your best friendAlways be originalSometimes rules are meant to be brokenBest 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.
Last year I really enjoyed Adi Alsaid’s debut, Let’s Get Lost. When I found out the premise for his newest book, Never Always Sometimes, it sounded like something that was totally up my alley. Though, it wasn’t quite what I had hoped it would be, I still found myself highly enjoying Never Always Sometimes.
Before starting high school, best friends Dave and Julia made a pact: they would avoid becoming those clichéd teenagers everyone else in high schools seemed to be. That’s how the Nevers list was born: a list of the ten things they both never to do in high school. Fast-Coward four years and Julia and Dave are close to graduating and have successfully avoided becoming clichés. When Dave finds the Nevers list after having forgotten about it, Julia suggests they complete the list. As they start crossing items of their list, Dave and Julia realize that by wanting to avoid clichés, they’ve missed out on a lot more than just a typical high school experience.
I am an absolute sucker for friendship stories, especially ones that are about friendships between a boy and a girl. It probably has to do with all through high school, and still today for that matter, my best friend is a guy. So whenever I hear of stories that feature that kind of friendship, I am all over them. That’s what initially drew me to Adi Alsaid’s Never Always Sometimes. And when I found out more about the story, I was only that much more interested in reading the book. It sounded like it had the potential to be such a fun story. And it was. While reading, I would often find myself laughing at Julia’s antics or appreciating the sweet friendship moments between Dave and Julia. What I had a little more trouble buying into was the romance. For a while, I was confused about who I was supposed to be rooting for: Dave and Julia or Dave and Gretchen. But by the end of the book, though I wasn’t entirely sold on how it happened, I understood what the author was trying to do. How he was trying to show that sometimes the person you think you should be with isn’t always the person who’s your best match. And that just because you love someone in a romantic way, doesn’t always mean that feeling will be reciprocated in the same way. And at more than one point in the story, there was a whole lot of confused feelings happening for both Dave and Julia.
Maybe it was because the first part of the story was from his perspective, but I felt like I got to know Dave really quickly and I just really got him. I understood how he felt about his best friend. How he would do pretty much anything just to see her happy, even if that at times that meant sacrificing some of his own happiness. But he was happy to do it. And even though I didn’t always agree with some of the decisions he made, I really liked Dave, and I understood his struggle. But because of the way the story was told, I feel like it took a while before I really got to know Julia. for the first half or so of the book, everything I knew about Julia was tainted by Dave’s feelings for her. I only really got to know her through how Dave saw her. So when I got to see this story from her perspective and get first hand information about who she was, I wasn’t sure how I felt about her for a long time. I saw her one way because of how Dave saw her, and then I realized that she was exactly who Dave saw her as, but she was also a completely different person. And though it may have taken me a bit to warm up to her, I really liked Julia. She was her own person and she wasn’t afraid of doing what she wanted, even if others didn’t always understand. But at the same time, she was someone who was constantly seeking the approval of the one person she couldn’t get it from. And that broke my heart at times. The one thing that’s for sure, is that I loved the friendship Dave and Julia had, even if at times it wasn’t easy.
Though it may not have been quite the story I had hoped it would be, I still really enjoyed Adi Alsaid’s Never Always Sometimes. If you’re looking for a story with a good mix of friendship and romance, you may want to check this one out.