It is realllllllllllly hard to talk about NEVER ALWAYS SOMETIMES by Adi Alsaid without spoilers. The thing I love BEST about the book is one of the biggest spoilers of all!!! Argh! *pulls hair* But I'm not going to talk about anything spoilery so that you can enjoy the book as much as I did! In fact, now I really want to read his debut novel LET'S GET LOST, because I've heard so many good things about it! PLUS, I got to meet Adi Alsaid at BEA and listen to him talk on a Teen Author Carnival, and he is so, so nice! I can't wait to read more by him! (Thankfully, I won a copy at the TAC, or I'd have run out the next morning to buy it after finishing this book!)
Dave and Julia are best friends who, right before entering high school, decided to make a list of all the high school clichés that they vowed never to do. They find the list right before the end of their senior year, when everything has that sluggish get me out of here, I'm done! feeling known as senioritis. Feeling restless, they decide to try every single cliché on the list, even the ones that don't sound like great ideas. One of the rules is to never date your best friend, and while Julia has never had feelings for Dave, Dave was in love with Julia even back when they made their list. Could this be his chance to finally open her eyes to something new? By doing everything on the list will change both Dave and Julia in ways they never anticipated or saw coming and test the bounds of their friendship.
As you know, I'm not a huge fan of contemporary YA. Books have to be pretty special to live on after I've moved on to that next book. I'd put NEVER ALWAYS SOMETIMES in that pretty special category. A large part of it has to do with the direction Alsaid takes things and twists the story in unexpected ways. Another huge part is Alsaid himself. The story is made up of beautiful sentences and phrases and ideas that I just want to quote and pin to a wall. There is also this amazing scene with a treehouse, and just, well! I want one!! And the END. I can't talk about it, of course, but the ending is so, so perfect, and exactly what I wanted! I am so thrilled that Alsaid did the things he did and made outcomes the way he did, because it's so rare to find YA novels--or novels in general--that take the route he did. Perfection!
I also really connected with Dave and his plight. He goes through so much and changes in so many ways. I wasn't a huge fan of Julia. I kind of really hated her and the way she frequently treated Dave, but I understood her a lot more when she took over the narration. I still had a sour taste leaving Dave's perspective, but Julia gave me reasons to like her more as her narration progressed. I still don't love her as a character, but I understand her a lot more. But Dave, how I love Dave!!! There are also some amazing secondary characters that really take front and center and steal my heart, even if they don't get much page time. I really like the way even secondary characters can be fleshed out and made real, which is a great talent for a writer to have, in my opinion, and what truly brings a contemporary novel to life. I always struggle to have that balance, and love the authors who can do it the most!
And really....I just can't talk about this book without spoilers!!! If you want a book that explores the bonds of friendship, or one that seeks to undo school clichés in fun, innovative ways, I highly recommend checking out NEVER ALWAYS SOMETIMES. Not only is it a great summer read, it's also great to throw into your backpack and take to school with you for assigned reading time!
Now, take a peek at this excerpt:
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