Welcome to my stop on the Never Always Sometimes Blog Tour! I shall be reviewing this lovely book, and of course there will be info and a really great giveaway too! Shall we?Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
Published by Harlequin Teen on August 4th 2015
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 really quite adored this book. I may be long past my high school days, but there is a pretty huge part of me that wishes I had made a list like this. I didn’t do any of the cliches myself, but that was more out of fear that a longing for originality. I digress. With graduation looming, Dave and Julia are going to basically embrace the cliches that they’ve done their best to avoid, and have a big old high school experience.
Some of the things they do are absolutely hilarious, like their adventures in hair dye, and going to a popular kid’s “beer party”. And then there are more serious list items relating to life and love and some teacher seduction that you’re just going to have to read for yourself. My point is, there are moments that are light hearted, sweet, and fun; and there are moments that are poignant, heartbreaking, and all too real. Never Always Sometimes provides the perfect blend of both, which is fabulous, because isn’t that how life really is?
So, what did I love? How about another list!
- Dave and Julia. Goodness, Dave was a sweetheart. At first, I thought I would not relate to Julia, that she was a little too free spirited for me to understand, but when we reached her POV, I realized how much substance she really had. She does some things that are absolutely frustrating, and sometimes downright shitty, but I really felt like she never meant anyone harm. So if you don’t like her at the very start, give her a chance to grow on you. I doubt you’ll have any issues liking Dave. 🙂
- Reversing the “Never”s was quite a journey. For both Dave and Julia, letting go of these things they vowed not to do proved harder than it seemed. While performing these “tasks”, they learned a lot about themselves- some of it good, and some of it not so good. This time in their lives is so full of doubt and change and upheaval as it is, and they kind of threw a lot more onto the pile, with mixed results. It was an emotionally diverse journey though, and kept me engaged the whole time.
- Family is a big part of the story. Especially in Julia’s story, she lives with her two adoptive fathers, who are basically the best ever. She loves them and they have an awesome relationship, but Julia still longs for a place in her birth mother’s life. The birth mom is basically a mess, but Julia never stops wanting that relationship. Dave’s relationship with his family, and especially his brother, does play a part but a much smaller one.
- It’s just plain charming. The relationship between Dave and Julia is so, so sweet. They are funny, and witty, and smart, but they still make mistakes and have a very flawed side. I think the realism of all the characters really did this book justice. No one was perfect, no one was a monster. There weren’t “good guys” or “bad guys” just… people. It was incredibly real, and kept me extremely engaged in the book.
The stuff I didn’t love:
- Oh look, just the one bullet point? YEP. I liked this book so much. I think I can honestly say it was on its way to immediate 5-star land. The ending. I know there are people who absolutely loved it, thought it was perfect, etc. So maybe I am the black sheep here. I will tell you what I didn’t like in a spoiler tag, even though it isn’t technically a spoiler, you might be able to guess? I don’t know: View Spoiler »My ship sank. I am not over it. I may never be over it. Can I get an alternate ending or something? Great. « Hide Spoiler
Bottom Line: Overall, a really solid book! I loved the characters and I loved how much it made me reminisce about my own high school experiences. It was well written, funny and charming, and also very heartfelt. Definitely a win.
I think I was in between. My school was actually a good one and my classmates too. We all got alone super great. My school didn’t have bullies (thank you!) and no cliques. Yes, there was a group that was always more social but that was it. We were all friends and hung out 🙂 You read my review for this book so you know I disagree with you on this review but I’m still glad you got to enjoy it 🙂
ME TOO! I had the exact same high school experience it seems! It’s funny, because I read about these stereotypical high schools and I just was like “but wait, I did NOT go there!”, high school was SO fun for me.
Loved this review! I’ve been looking at NAS for awhile now, but all the reviews I’ve read so far always love it until the ending. Do you think it’s a serious turn-off or only a bit disappointing?
I’m entering my sophomore year and I’m pretty sure I’m in between, but I’ll see once I graduate and look back on it all, eh? 🙂
Well, I know some people HAVE liked the ending, and some people have just found it very realistic. I will put it this way: I am still glad I read the book, but this would have easily been five stars from me if it had ended differently.
And yep- I think you need a few years to look back- hindsight and all that jazz 😉
This book just sounds adorable! It’s like a bucket list of sorts and I’ve always liked those. Plus I’ve heard tons of great thing about this book and the cover is gorgeous so……. GIMME!!
I agree, I LOVE a bucket list! I hope you enjoy it! (And the cover is so cute!!) 😀
WOW. This sounds absolutely amazing Shannon – definitely going to have to give this a try! Who can resist a story with wonderfully developed characters and amazing family dynamics? Thank you for putting this under my radar and for the generous giveaway! ♥ Fabulous review, as always! x
Aww thanks so much! I hope you enjoy it 😀
Your spoiler is exactly why I can’t read this book! It sounds like a lot of fun and I love how the title fits into it all, but I think I’d hate the romance. 🙁
Glad you were able to mostly enjoy this, Shannon! Lovely review.
You… cannot read this book. Just don’t. I think this will be one of those books that would really upset you. There’s even MORE to the spoiler that I think others have written about (I didn’t want to be too spoilery, of course) that would infuriate you. I just know your preferences and this is just not for you. I liked it. You would not. Go read Wrath 😉
Loved how you captured all the essential parts of the book, like the charm, the humour, their journey and the great family support network. What a lovely review Shannon!
Aw thanks so much Jeann!
I was actually happy for the ending, but I can definitely understand why some people would really hate it. The romance element of this book definitely had me conflicted all the way through.
For me, I wasn’t conflicted with it, I am a hopeless romantic and I wanted things to go a certain way. To be completely honest, the way it ended up WAS probably the best way, but… I didn’t want it anyway 😉
I did not read Alsaid’s Let’s Get Lost (premise just did not appeal to me) but this one sounds so fun and interesting that I might give it a try. High school was a looong time ago but I would say I was pretty in between. Not super original and quirky but not a total cliche, either. Off to see if the library has this one…
I haven’t read Let’s Get Lost yet either (though I really want to, since I liked this one and I LOVE a road trip!) I was definitely somewhere in between myself- and I agree, it seems like eons ago 😉
Oh this book sounds so fun with the whole list thing and things they never do and then find out that they missed out on things. It sounds like it has the perfect blend of light hearted and seriousness, which is something I love in romance books. As like you mentioned that’s how real life is as well. I like the sound of them learning new things about themselves when they reverse the nevers and both sounds like great characters. Great Review!
Thanks! I definitely agree- it had the serious moments, but it was also quite fun! And the characters both learned a LOT along the way 🙂
I agree with everything in your review! And about the ending…yes. Like I liked it, I appreciated that it wasn’t a cliche(hehe) but mostly I hated the way they acted towards the end. Especially Dave. It hurt my feels. =(
Um, I didn’t actually go to high school, had I though, I think I would’ve been somewhere in between. Kind of unique, but a definite wallflower.
I KNOW. Damn Dave. It hurt my feels too. I mean, I think it was VERY realistic, and probably the best outcome logically, but… DAMN IT. I wanted things to go a different way!
I can see that! Did you like, do activities while you were homeschooled? I know there were a few kids who did homeschool but participated in sports and music and stuff, but I don’t know how it works in general.
The title kinda irks me… because I often hear the phrase as “Always, Sometimes, Never” and I’m just peeved by how the title is arranged, lmao. But I really want to read this. Not gonna let my nitpicky ass stray me away from a good book, lol. Lovely review, Shannon! 😀
Hahhaha I love that! You’re like, mad at it. I kind of get it, because that IS how it goes in my head (well, USED to go, now I think of it this way!) but it makes sense in context, now that I think about it! I hope you enjoy it, and thanks!!
WOW O_O I opened that spoiler tag, thinking it musn’t be something too grand, but WOW. I didn’t expect that one! No wonder a lot of people didn’t like it… I know bloggers out there who just can’t deal when that shit happens XD Nevertheless, I’m glad that you liked it overall, Shannon! I’m realy way past the high school phase and a lot of high school books don’t really work for me that well, but I may give this a try when the mood strikes. We all know what it felt like having a bucket list and striving to make the end of high school a better, more satisfying experience!
I think the good thing about this was that they are almost out of high school- so it feels a little different than being RIGHT in the middle of it- they are thinking about their futures. I seriously am now wishing I had made a high school bucket list! Or hell, maybe I just should make one now!
Glad to see a positive review to balance things out, I’ve mostly been seeing “meh” reviews which didn’t give me much hope. Adi Alsaid is one of those authors who I follow on social media and I think is pretty darn cool, but I have yet to actually get around to reading one of his books, though I want to. I was one of those high schoolers so entirely focused on getting out to college that I didn’t always enjoy myself (though I still managed to somewhat)! Seeing Dave and Julia make the most of their last year might be a bit cathartic, haha.
Aww! That is how Dave is in the book basically- he is just worried about the next stage, getting through it. Julia too, really. But they kind of learn the importance of living in the moment, which was awesome. And yeah, I think there are mixed reviews on this one for sure, but I liked it! It isn’t life changing or anything, but it was definitely a fun read!
This book has really only come to my attention in recent days, and I’ve only been hearing positive, friendly feedback from readers & reviewers. That being said, I’m extremely excited to get my own copy and begin reading. The premise caught my attention from the beginning and I’m sure I’ll fall in love with the book just as you did. 🙂 Thanks so much for the giveaway and for the well-written, informative review, Shannon!
I actually really want to try this book. The list sounds like a great idea and then doing it after all… sounds like a fun contemporary read. And it’s good to know that the family is so present when that doesn’t happen too often as well!