Title: Never Always Sometimes
Author: Adi Alsaid
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Review copy: Purchased by reviewer
Availability: On shelves now
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.
Review: As I started the book, I figured that I knew where it was going. I did anticipate many things accurately, but Alsaid managed to throw some curves in there. I appreciated that he mixed it up a little. The first part of the story is told from Dave’s perspective. I really enjoyed Dave as a character. He’s a nice guy and the comfortable friendship he has with Julia is appealing. They read each others’ silences, know each others’ quirks and have been best friends for years. They seem the picture of soulmates. The torture of being so close yet unable to profess his love, does have its downside though.
This seemed to be gearing up to be a fairly typical romantic comedy as Dave and Julia lightly hopped through their list of Nevers bantering along the way. Humor can be found in many places. Without giving too much away, I will just say there is even a poem that manages to make math sexy. The scene is more than a little bizarre, but definitely has comedic potential for readers.
The romance did not go the way I expected though. First, a third party became involved. Love triangles are not a favorite for me. Also, as the novel progressed, the story switched to Julia’s perspective. That was where I started to lose a little interest. Julia did not have my sympathy. Yes, Dave was a follower so maybe he should have shared the blame in my mind, but he just wasn’t as conceited as Julia. She started the Never list because she didn’t want to be like all those other high school students who were clichés. She looks down on nearly everyone in the school. As their relationship became increasingly complicated, I enjoyed the book less and less. I can’t go into the details of why without spoiling the book, but the second part of the book was not nearly as entertaining as the first. In addition, the conclusion made sense and felt right, but seemed rushed.
Recommendation: If you like light romances, this might be something that you will want to get soon. It has humor and a romance with unexpected twists and turns. The twists may put you off though. Otherwise, for most readers, this is one I would recommend you borrow someday when you are looking for a bit of a laugh. It was fun, at least for the first part, and was a quick and easy read, but wasn’t particularly outstanding.