Release Date: 13th August 2015 (UK)
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
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.
I adored the concept of this book. I adored it as soon as I discovered this book and read the summary. It sounds both sweet and intriguing with best friends completing a list of things they vowed not to do during high school in order to avoid the usual clichés of the high school experience. I tend to love books with lists in any way, there is something fun and ordered about them that helps me enjoy them more. I also expected the unrequited love from the premise alone. What I didn’t expect is to have such conflicting emotions about the book,
I expected this book to be exclusively from Dave’s point of view, so it was nice to have it switch. It also meant that I didn’t end up hating Julia. The book began being exclusively from Dave’s point of view, and his idea of Julia made it seem like she was the quixotic pixie dream girl who doesn’t exist in real-life. This was his best friends and he appeared to have rose tinted glasses to her. Julia came across as trying far too hard to be different and a unique flower and all it really did was make me cringe. Thankfully, the second part of the book is from Julia’s perspective, and as soon as you got to hear her thoughts it was far easier to like her. That was really interesting for me to perceive, Dave was such an easy character to like, he was the stereotypical nice guy who does not realise that people in fact like him because of how nice and funny he is. Even when he was being a bit of an asshole, I still liked him. Julia, on the other hand, is selfish and inconsiderate and acts too rashly sometimes. She is like that girl who is always trying too hard to be different, at least that is how it seemed to me.
I loved the relationship between the two characters, the ease of their friendship and how in sync they were with one another. It really showed a true friendship, because that is how you are with your best friends. When Julia was telling Dave that he’d stolen her word, that’s true I am forever stealing the words of my friends, mirroring their mannerisms and phrasing things like they would because when you spend so much time with someone these are the things you pick up. Dave’s brother, Brett, even commented on how strange it was when they immediately cleaned up after someone in a restaurant at the same moment without ever having to speak a word to signal to the other what they were doing. That, to me, is true friendship and it was so nice to read in a book. I know I always ramble on about friendships and relationships when reviewing a book, but those are the interactions I really love.
I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, so I will try to keep these comments as generic as possible, but I loved the way the ending went. That last part of the book was absolutely perfect. Yes, there was so much unnecessary drama and I do feel like something's were glossed over at the end, but it was still absolutely perfect.
I think the thing I loved most about Never Always Sometimes was how Alsaid perfectly captured the high school experience. There was the ridiculous angst and drama that you can only properly experience as a teenager when things always feel so much more. Everything that occurs is either the greatest thing ever or it is the end of the world. He fully embraces teenage hyperbole, even casually poking fun of it, throughout the book. He encapsulates that feeling you have towards the end of you school career where you are so ready to move on to the next stage of your life, but also want to treasure the moments you have left at that stage of life. I feel like that was what Dave and Julia were trying to do with the Nevers list, they were trying to prolong their high school experience, it acted as both a thing to feel the long days towards the end of the school year, but also as a last hurrah at school to get that out of their system before they have to face that daunting prospect of college.
This book was one I was initially concerned I would not like due to certain characters flaws, but which was swiftly turned around once you got to know the characters a bit more and saw characters develop a bit. This is a fantastic summer read, and for those still at school it will get you excited for all those things that happen as you crawl to the end,and for those who have already finished school? Well, it’s always fun to reminisce isn’t it?
Have you read this, please tell me your thoughts below? I’ve not read Alsaid’s other book, is the writing just as good because I will have to start reading it if that is the case.