I was that girl in high school who acted like she was just too cool to participate. I talked smack about the cheerleaders and sneered at the people who ran for student council. I never clapped or cheered at a pep ralley. I ate lunch in my car with my best friend. I attended dances long enough to prove I had a date and to take a picture. I never once danced at a homecoming or prom. I never let myself do the things I wanted because then it might look like I cared, and when you care, you can get hurt. I think that attitude, which I still sometimes battle, is part of the reason why I found this book so fascinating. These kids were like me, but they took a chance and made some pretty cool discoveries about themselves and about the sheep they thought they went to high school with. I’ll admit it made me regret my bad attitude, so I hope some of you will take this funny and surprisingly thoughtful book to heart before you are too old to do anything about it. Never, Always, Sometimes will be released on August 4, 2015, and I think you will enjoy it as much as I did.
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.
I was thoroughly entertained by this book. From BEER parties that don’t go as planned to “promposals” that do, this is one really amusing book, and the snarky duo of David and Julia will definitely keep readers laughing out loud. But here’s the thing – there are some pretty serious moments in this book, too. Themes about friendship, love, and new experiences keep this book from being just another fun end of summer read. David was my favorite narrator, and when the perspective changed to Julia halfway through, I was initially a little disappointed. I liked David, and to lose his voice was upsetting, particularly because the switchover happened at a moment when Julia was rather unlikeable. It didn’t take too long, though, to understand why she had to take the story over at that point. The truth is that the handoff was pretty smooth, and I much preferred this structure for a dual narrative over the more traditional every other chapter arrangement. The pace was pretty consistent, and the author didn’t waste time setting things up, choosing instead to let a picture of the characters’ backgrounds emerge over time. Overall, I thought this was a pretty fabulous read, and I think so many of you will connect with David and Julia’s snark and desire to be original. I like the message it conveys, and I definitely want it in our classroom library. Language, situations and implied sensuality make this a high school read, but adult readers of YA will get a kick out of this as well.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.