I first read this book a couple of months after it came out a year go, but my local Waterstones run a book club and this month’s book was Never Always Sometimes. Since I decided that I was going to start going to the book club, I decided to give the book a re-read.
Even though I’ve labelled this book as 3 stars, I would actually give it 3.5 but I felt like that extra half a star to make it 4 would be too generous.
Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be clichés, so 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, but Dave has a secret: he’s broken rule No.8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It’s either that or break rule No.10, never date your best friend.
Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember. 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 they’ve actually been missing out on school.
The whole premise of the book is based around the Never List, the list of ten clichés that is high school including a house party, a crush on a teacher, have a permanent lunch spot and dying your hair a bright colour. This book is all about clichés to the point where the book itself is a cliché. I don’t know whether this was done by Alsaid on purpose to carry on the premise of the story or whether it’s just another teen fiction story that is – by accident – full of the unfortunate clichés of being a teenager.
If Alsaid made the book a cliché, then it was amazingly clever of him and I applaud him for it.
The book is split into three parts: part one is all from Dave’s point of view, part two is from Julia’s and part three is from both of theirs, switching every chapter.
Never Always Sometimes was heartbreaking, moving and hilarious. The whole question of “can a boy and girl be friends without ever getting into a relationship?” surrounds this book. Now, we all know that of course opposite sexes can be friends but it’s still an interesting concept to read about.
“Love was lazy as hell. Love laid around in bed, warm from the sheets and the sunlight pouring into the room. Love was too lazy too lazy to get up and close the blinds. Love was too comfortable to get up and go pee. Love took too many naps, it watched TV, but not really, because it was too busy kissing and napping. Love was also funny, which somehow made the bed feel more comfortable, the laughter warming the sheets, softening the mattress and the lovers’ skin.”
– Adi Alsaid, Never Always Sometimes
The whole plotline was also very very obvious, you knew what was going to happen 100 pages for it did (again, another cliché – on purpose or not, we will never know).
It’s interesting to see how Dave deals with his feelings for Julia and how he deals with starting to become popular and meet new people (and girls) after he starts doing the Nevers List.
Alsaid is a brilliant writer. His words just flow really easy and the characters are 100% relatable in the way that they deal with situations (even when they handle them badly). The one thing that I thought was a bit odd was the four-year time jump at the beginning. I’m not a massive fan of time jumps. Six months or a year I can handle, but four years? I wasn’t too happy but after reading about the characters for a while, I finally understood why the time jump was so important.
This is a good book. It’s a nice, easy read but I’m not so sure whether the all of clichés that were in the story were there on purpose. Everything was just too obvious and because of this, it made the book feel a bit silly. The very ending wasn’t the best either, some of it could have been gotten rid of but apart from those few points, this book was a good read and I do recommend it.