Friday, September 4, 2015

REVIEW: Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

Never Always Sometimes
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.

I had really high expectation for this book. Adi Alsaid's last book, Let's Get Lost, was phenomenal. It was fun, heartbreaking, and I adored it. So, of course, I was excited for more brilliance from Adi Alsaid, but this book wasn't what I was expecting. It's a good book and I like it, but it's not a 'new' book and certainly wasn't the funny, unique book I was expecting.

Dave and Julia are best friends and at the start of high school, they create a list of 'Nevers'. The list includes cliches that high schoolers often get into. Rules like, Never dye your hair a color of the rainbow, secretly pine for someone, run for prom king, etc. It isn't until the list is rediscovered senior year that they decide to do ALL of the things on the list. But Dave already has done something on the list, he's been pining for Julia.

I really like the idea of the Nevers and I was very curious to see how they would go about them all. It was indeed very interesting seeing how they did, since it's not like they follow the list exactly to a point, they randomly did things throughout the year and things happened because of them. While I wish this book could've been about the list entirely, it wasn't really the main focus, which I guess is okay. As I mentioned, they do things throughout the year, so it's not like they set out to do the list in a day or a week, that means that other stuff is also going on at the same time. I admit that I was kind of bored by the normal school life and things, but it did make things realistic.

I think that is a plus in this book, the realism. This book felt very realistic and, yes, that might have been why I was bored at points. The relationships, both romantic and friend oriented, were very realistic to a point that you don't see often in books. Many relationships, especially romance, are exaggerated in books. I felt this way in Adi's last book as well, so I can definitely say that he can certainly write realistic contemporaries.

Now, I was a bit bothered by how ironically cliche this book was, even know I shouldn't be. Why? I just get the feeling that this book was supposed to be cliche. The book is about two teens who are against being cliche teenagers, but in the end are they actually cliche? This is actually an important part about the book and I do believe that the cliche-ness was on purpose. Doesn't mean that I didn't groan at the cliche-ness at points.

Overall, this is a good contemporary read, but it's not what I was expecting and not quite as good as Adi's debut novel. I love the idea and wish it was focused on that more, despite the fact that not doing so made things more realistic. If you enjoy such books, pick this one up, but I recommend Adi's previous book more.

I hereby give this book
3 Stars
Meaning: I liked it.

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