Review by Jackie
Series: Harlequin Teen
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Teen (August 4, 2015)
ARC via: Andye @ readingteen.net
Goodreads | Amazon
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.
“Human beings are more or less formulas. Pun intended. We are not any one thing that is mathematically provable. We are more or less than we are anything. We are more or less kind, or more or less not. More or less selfish, happy, wise, lonely.”
First off, this is my first book by Adi Alsaid. The way he writes in this NEVER ALWAYS SOMETIMES is so lyrical and gorgeous. In the novel, we have two main characters. The summer before their freshman year in high school they make a ‘never’ list. It has things like never sleep with your teacher, never dye your hair strange colors, never pine silently, and never fall in love with your best friend. They go through high school keeping this list close and never breaking the nevers. Chapter one picks up with senior year. The end of it. Everything is changing and they decide to do a few of the nevers: be cliché. This book is relevant because it is real in the worst way, and the best way. Or at least a really good way. Although this book was gorgeously written I can’t honestly say that I loved it. I’m still trying to pin-point what I don’t like in a non-spoiler way. I mean, I know what made me mad. But I also think that what happened was kind of necessary. Growing up, making mistakes (even ones of that nature) are a part of life. Granted, not a great part, but a section of it none-the-less.
Let’s talk characters. Dave and Julia are best friends. Their’s is a forever friendship. When the list is found once again the Dave’s locker in sort of unravels the way their friendship has been held in place. Maybe not so much the list, but Dave’s coming to find that he can have feeling (of the romantic sort) for people (specifically Gretchen) other than Julia. Together they mark things off the list- parties, bad hair dyes- and find out things about themselves and the people around them that they never even dreamed of. Not all people are shallow and empty. Some are dreamers rather than haughty. My favorite characters in NEVER ALWAYS SOMETIMES are Gretchen and Brett. And that’s kind of strange because they’re minor characters. Brett is mentioned like five times in the entire book. What I wished I liked better about this book is how completely raw and true and real all the characters. They made mistakes and that makes them wonderful.
I talked to myself the entirety of the novel. I would comment on the mistakes they made and call them stupid. I would applaud their efforts to just let the other be happy. Maybe that’s why, through all the mistakes, I love Dave and Julia so much. Everything they do, despite one selfish moment when all they can think about are the stars and how intangible tomorrow is, is so that the other can be happy. I think that’s the best kind of friendship. The crazy one. The old one. The one that keeps you tied to earth when you so desperately want to fly. The one that flies with you when you can’t hold them down.
NEVER ALWAYS SOMETIMES makes me want to tell strangers I love them so my ‘I love yous’ don’t go to waste: expire. I want to write a fan fiction where everyone finds their perfect equation and they all travel the world and kiss under stars and have lots of puppies and eat buckets of popcorn covered in hot sauce. God I hate…love realistic fiction.