Published by HarperTeen on 8/4/15
Genres: Love & Romance, Young Adult
Source: Blog Tour, NetGalley
My content rating: Mature YA (Characters have sex, though it's not specifically shown)
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.
Never Always Sometimes is a YA contemporary romance with a bit of a twist. It’s the type of romance where you’re not exactly sure how things will end. Will Dave and Julia end up together or are they truly better as friends? It’s not a simple answer, and this isn’t a simple romance.
What I loved:
- Dave and Julia. I really loved the relationship between Dave and Julia. They fit with each other and had a sort of easy friendship, even though Dave was hoping for more. Dave and Julia understood each other on a level that no one else seemed to. They spent all of their time together, and they liked it that way – until they decided to try to complete their Never list.
- Never always sometimes. The concept of the list of things that Dave and Julia were never supposed to do was really fun – even if it did feel a bit pretentious at times. But that was kind of the point. Julia spent her life trying to prove something to her biological mother, who was living but a typical, ordinary life. Julia wanted to feel a kinship with her mother, so she strove to avoid normality. It made sense. I could see why Julia struggled with being a typical teenager when she felt like her mother would much more easily love her if she was atypical. So when Dave and Julia decide to actually live out their Never list, it’s interesting to see how the results are not exactly what they expected – especially for Dave, who was kind of always living this unordinary life for Julia anyway. Dave starts to realize that maybe the fact that he was fixated on Julia caused him to miss out on other people and experiences – even if those experiences are “typical.” I liked this aspect of the story.
- Dave and Gretchen. While I loved Dave and Julia together as friends, I was kind of rooting for Dave and Gretchen as a couple. Gretchen is a girl that Dave gets to know once he starts actually interacting with other people. While Gretchen was sometimes almost a little too good to be true, it was hard not to want happiness for her – and for Dave, with her.
- Family ties. I loved the fact that this book explored the relationship between Julia and her dads (who she adored) and her birth mother (who she sort of worshipped in a way). Julia had so much yearning when it came to her mom, but that didn’t take away from the positive relationship that she had with her dads. I loved the complexities of these relationships.
- Not sure which romance to root for. My only issue with the book was that it was hard to know which couple I should be rooting for. On the one hand, Julia and Dave had history and really understood each other. But once Dave started to get to know Gretchen better, she seemed to make him really happy, and I started to think that maybe Julia limited him a little bit. I really liked the first half of the book, but once things switched to Julia’s POV (in the second half), I kind of felt torn and I wasn’t sure whether I could really get behind Julia and Dave OR Dave and Gretchen. Since this book was a romance (of sorts) that left me feeling conflicted – and I wasn’t enjoying the book as much. I will say that everything worked itself out in a way that I was happy with in the end, but I wasn’t always sure about the journey there.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, even if it wasn’t perfect. I liked the characters and I appreciated the message. I give this one 3.5/5 stars.
***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City, then studied at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in class, he mostly read fiction and continuously failed to fill out crossword puzzles, so it’s no surprise that after graduating, he did not go into business world but rather packed up his apartment into his car and escaped to the California coastline to become a writer. He’s now back in his hometown, where he writes, coaches high school and elementary basketball, and has perfected the art of making every dish he eats or cooks as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he’s lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas, and Monterey, California. A tingly feeling in his feet tells him more places will eventually be added to the list. Let’s Get Lost was his YA debut.